On December 23rd, 2015, I found letters sent from the United States Department of Education sent to all the state DOEs about potential opt out penalties for the 2015-2016 year if schools went below the 95% participation rate. In response, I sent a very detailed Freedom of Information Act request to the US DOE. For the first time, you can view the entire response in its entirety. I wrote an article based on some key parts of the US DOE FOIA response last month.
Julie Glasier is the main contact person for Delaware at the US DOE. Many of these emails are in response to the Delaware School Success Framework which was met with stiff resistance last fall because of the opt out penalties against schools. Keep in mind that the US DOE put Delaware’s ESEA Flexibility Waiver Request in this set of emails twice (since I asked for all attachments), but there are key and vital emails that appear between those and after.
While the Monique Chism email below doesn’t really delve into anything Delaware specific, it is very interesting to see who is on the US DOE’s Ed Title I ListServ. These are emails that automatically go out to any of the participants who request to be on the list. There are several redactions based on emails going to gmail or yahoo accounts. As well, there are several emails going to outside education companies.
Of note in the below email between Penny Schwinn and Julie Glasier is the timing. Penny Schwinn’s last day at the Delaware DOE was January 6th…
I found the next set of emails to be very interesting. These are between Lindsay O’Mara and Ann Whalen:
|Ann Whalen||Elementary and Secondary Education||Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Delegated the Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education|
|Lindsay O’Mara||Communications and Outreach||Deputy Assistant Secretary for State and Local Engagement|
Lindsay O’Mara was the former Education Policy Advisor for Delaware Governor Jack Markell. She obtained a job at the US DOE, but I wasn’t aware of her title there until I just looked now. This link shows O’Mara was a political appointee but does not show who appointed her. What makes this email exchange very interesting is the redacted information. Was O’Mara sending work-related emails through a personal email account? Or was this part of her interview process with US DOE? If it was the latter, why would they include that in a FOIA request since it would have been a personal nature? If not, how many other state employees are conducting state business through personal emails? I have seen several Delaware DOE FOIA responses that don’t show any emails other than the state email address. Would they even know if their employees are using outside emails to conduct state business?
There you have it! There are little easter eggs all over these emails. If you see anything I haven’t touched on in the previous article linked above or this one, please let me know! Some takeaways I got from this is the fact there were NO emails sent from Arne Duncan, John King, Governor Markell, Mark Murphy or Secretary Godowsky.
I did find an official announcement from US DOE this morning regarding Lindsay O’Mara’s new job at US DOE: