Media: How AP Got Hold Of All Those Waiver Letters
Conventional wisdom has it that FOIA requests are so cumbersom to file and agencies are so slow to respond to FOIA requests that they're almost not worth doing. (Indeed, it took the USDE until a couple of weeks ago to send me a highly redacted response to a FOIA request I submitted in July 2009.) There's no reliable way to find out what's already been FOIAd, which journalists consider semi-secret, except through FOIAing others' FOIAs, which seems sort of ridiculous. But it was just that kind of straightforward work through which Miami-based AP writer Christine Armario scooped pretty much everyone a couple of weeks ago. When the USDE declined to provide the feedback letters they'd sent to the states applying for NCLB waivers, Armario filed FOIA requests to the states and 10 of 12 responded. Here's a FOIA letter generator that education writer Cathy Grimes told me about yers ago. Get to work!