Friday May 5, 2006
Letters to the editor

Tread lightly, OSPI

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) recently sent a memorandum to all 296 school districts, canceling administration of a survey attached to the infamous WASL.

Unfortunately, OSPI failed to state in their memorandum (or to the press) that if school districts were to allow students to fill out these questionnaires then those schools would be violating explicit federal statutes concerning surveys of human subjects and minor children. This glaring omission could jeopardize federal funding.

OSPI flat-out ignored "Protection of Human Subjects" federal laws in developing, distributing and administering this survey. Parent Empowerment Network and
Spokane attorney Jeffry Finer caught them and contacted OSPI and the attorney general. Parent Empowerment Network
was characterized as "complaining parents."

Nevertheless, OSPI stopped the survey. If school administrators misunderstand the importance of survey cancellation, as some have, then they are in violation of federal law and subject to parental lawsuits.

In 2005, the OSPI pleaded ignorance to a 1974 civil rights law (FERPA), which allows parents to view their child's WASL tests. Any more OSPI surprises for parents?

Donald C. Orlich