Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

NCLB Outrages

Gathering Pupil Data for Military Is Criticized

By Javier C. Hernandez

A new Department of Education policy that gives
military recruiters centralized access to high
school student data is drawing fire from the
New York Civil Liberties Union, as well as some
parents and students.

In the past, military recruiters were required
to go from school to school to obtain student
names, addresses and telephone numbers,
sometimes encountering resistance from school
employees and students.

Now, under an order signed last month by
Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, recruiters
can access data from each high school simply by
going to the Department of Education’s

At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon,
the civil liberties group criticized the change
in policy, saying it opened the door to
aggressive concentration on certain students.

“The D.O.E. is giving military recruiters a
direct line to New York City’s children,” said
Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the
civil liberties group.

In a letter to Ms. Lieberman on Wednesday, the
Department of Education said it had revised the
recruiting procedures to add another layer of
oversight. Under the new system, the letter
said, department officials can scrutinize the
number of students choosing to opt out and
check to make sure no school has failed to
distribute opt-out forms.

Centralizing the data also prevents military
recruiters from holding impromptu recruitment
sessions while on campuses to get student data,
the letter said, and it reduces the flow of
communication between military branches and
schools that “often proved disruptive.”

Ms. Lieberman called on the city to delay
implementing the new policy. She said the
Department of Education had shown a “startling
disregard for open government” by not asking
for public input on the new measure, and she
suggested that it solicit feedback for 30 days.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind law,
schools are required to provide military
recruiters the same access to students granted
to colleges and prospective employers. Parents
are allowed to block access to a child’s data
by signing a form.

But Ms. Lieberman said the city had not made an
adequate effort to inform parents of that
choice, even though the Department of Education
has been telling principals to send letters to
parents and students about the opt-out option.
The department’s Web site also includes the
form, in eight languages.

— Javier C. Hernandez
New York Times


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.