CPS parents angry students' personal info sent to charter schools

Sarah Schulte Image
Friday, September 30, 2016
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Hundreds of Chicago Public School parents want to know who gave away their contact information.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hundreds of Chicago Public Schools parents want to know who gave away their contact information.

They said the looming threat of a teacher strike has a charter school network soliciting them to switch schools.

A mailer the size of a post card with a glossy cover was mailed out from the Noble Charter Network targeting Chicago Public School students between 6th and 8th grade. Parents have received charter solicitations before, but not one like this.

"They were addressed to my 11-year-old son with home address and his school," said Jeff Jenkins, a CPS parent and LCS member.

Parents are furious that CPS is sharing their children's personal information with other parties.

"The bigger issue is the confidentiality issue of students info. What else are they giving out social security numbers, health info?" said Kiki Kouchoukos, a CPS parent.

"That is only all the info anyone needs, so they trust that information will be protected," said Julie Greenberg, a CPS parent.

Parents want to know who released the information to Noble Charter Network. According to the CPS Code of Conduct book, directory information about students can be disclosed to a specific party with an educational interest.

"What this tells me is, I need to opt out of everything as far as information goes for my child. Do I stay out of directories?" Kouchoukos said.

On top it, some CPS parents say it is in poor taste for the Noble Network, which includes a charter high school named after CPS Board President Frank Clark, to solicit students during volatile times.

"The fact that Noble would use this to reach out at this time with potential strike, they see it as an opportunity," Jenkins said.

The Noble Network responded with a written statement. It said public charter schools use a variety of methods to let parents know they have the option of a charter in their district. Noble said it also contacts families through third party companies that distribute their information cards.

CPS issued a statement late Thursday night, which said, "Chicago Board of Education policy requires CPS and its vendors to secure student data, and we do not tolerate the sale or unauthorized distribution of student records. We have no reason to believe that any CPS employee shared this information or allowed it to be shared."