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No Cape for Cantor

David Cantor, the New York City Department of Education's press secretary, will not be receiving a free cape. Sadly, this is what it's come to in New York City - the Department of Education is denying all of us access to data that rightfully belong in the public domain.


From: eduwonkette
To: Cantor David
Cc: Jacob Andrew
Sent: Sun Jul 27 22:18:22 2008
Subject: Requesting scale scores

Dear David,

I saw over at eduwonk that you are giving out the scale scores by race/ethnicity. Could you please send these scores to me (2003-2008), or provide a statement that I can post on the blog as to why you will not?

Thank you,


From: Cantor David
To: eduwonkette
Date: Sun, Jul 27, 2008 at 11:42 PM
Subject: Re: Requesting scale scores

I've thought about it and decided i don't want to give out information to someone asking anonymously.

I'm sure you'll have no difficulty finding what you need.

Update: Matthew Tabor is my hero. Read his FOIL request here.

From a faceless bureaucrat. Sweet.

So, let's get this right: The New York City Department of Education releases public information only when they know the identity of the person who asks for it? Who gave them the power to decide who gets data? Bodes ill for the so-called Research Consortium, which Chancellor Klein will control.

It is simply amazing that they refuse to release the data for analysis.

You should start an online petition:

Free the data.

Mmmm.. I love passive aggressive e-mails from Depts. of Ed.

Matthew Tabor's FOIL is brilliant.

And who said you were asking anonymously? You signed it "eduwonkette" loud and clear. Doesn't seem very anonymous to me. :-)

Seems like public record law is pretty explicit about NOT requiring the identity of a person making a request. Now they might be able to tap dance around it if they haven't created a document that disaggregated the data (a database does not a record make). But if they are providing it to Matthew Tabor, they have in fact created a record, which can then be requested--identity or no.

Hey, Eduwonkette, this is weird and untrue. You know we've been giving this out, yet you write:

"Sadly, this is what it's come to in New York City - the Department of Education is denying all of us access to data that rightfully belong in the public domain."

The data does belong in the public domain, and we haven't denied anyone access, including you. I find it distasteful that you sell your anonymity as martyrdom.

David Cantor
Press Secretary
NYC Dept of Education

Hi David,

In my view, "in the public domain" means readily available such that citizens need not request the data from the press office. These are aggregate district-level data, and there is no reason they shouldn't be available in a spreadsheet on the DOE website.

You write, "You know we've been giving this out." Perhaps you could clarify to whom you have provided the data?

This whole fracas is easily resolvable, David. Post the data to the DOE website. The longer it takes for the DOE to do so, the more reason we all have to believe that there is a substantive reason that you are guarding the data.

Someone must be using David Cantor's email to deny Eduwonkette the data. Impersonating a PR person at Tweed is a federal offense. Someone's going to end up at Guantanamo.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Norm: Someone must be using David Cantor's email to deny Eduwonkette read more
  • eduwonkette: Hi David, In my view, "in the public domain" means read more
  • David Cantor: Hey, Eduwonkette, this is weird and untrue. You know we've read more
  • Margo/Mom: Seems like public record law is pretty explicit about NOT read more
  • Cap: Mmmm.. I love passive aggressive e-mails from Depts. of Ed. read more




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