Another D.C. FOIA Blanket Exemption Headed for Passage Under the Radar: Open Government Coalition Again Urges Meaningful Review

The Coalition Wednesday (3) wrote Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (also the other Members and the Mayor), asking that a section of the massive budget support bill for the coming year be dropped before the upcoming final vote for lack of any public input.

The Coalition said a provision exempting teacher evaluation records, held by the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), from the D.C. public records law, though passed before in temporary form, has never been aired for full review at hearings. Permanent changes in the D.C. open records law, said the Coalition letter, should be made only after close public scrutiny, including the advice of the District’s transparency experts in the Office of Open Government.

Coalition president Kevin Goldberg noted OSSE had never been asked to demonstrate the need for a blanket objection (especially since existing FOIA exemptions assure protection against needless invasions of privacy) or to deal with other potential objections by the public, press or researchers to withdrawing records of one of the District’s largest and most controversial policy areas—teacher quality in the schools. Continue>>>