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DUNCAN: What Does That Guy Do All Day?

A few days ago, I asked the nice people at the USDE press office for a copy of the Secretary's schedule, hoping to find out a little more about what that guys does all day in between press events (In Search Of The Secretary's Schedule). Some of you thought that was a good idea.  Some of you probably thought it was ridiculous.  After thinking it over for a little while, the word came back:  No.  I was politely directed to the FOIA site.

Foia_papersNow, I really didn't want to FOIA anyone.  I'm really lazy and I wasn't even sure why I wanted to see the Secretary's schedule.  But I felt like I had no other choice.  My other request, which was to spend an "all-access" day with the Secretary, was also rebuffed. 

Plus, I was curious about whether the Department -- bastion of transparency and accountability -- would do something amusing like invoking executive privilege or citing national security concerns.   

So now I've done it.  What happens next, I have no idea.  But it's probably not good. My FOIA request is below.  Duncan is doing some sort of RttT event with the White House on Friday and playing basketball in Louisville this weekend.

FOIA Request Form


Please review and submit the information you entered.



Department of Education

Office of the Chief Information Officer

550 12th Street, SW

, PCP, 9th Floor, Room 9148






Dear FOIA Officer:


This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.


I request that a copy of the following documents [or documents containing the following information] be provided to me:

I'm requesting electronic copies of the Arne Duncan's weekly (or daily) work schedule, including internal and external meetings, visitors, press events, and all other pertinent information related to the Secretary's daily performance of his work duties. My request for information would include staff meetings, meetings with other Administration oficials (at the White House, for example), and phone logs. This information is likely maintained by the Secretary's schedulers in an Outlook file or other office-type calendar. I am requesting this information for the entire timespan of the Secretary's time in Washington, both as an appointee and then after confirmation. Thanks!


In order to help to determine my status to assess fees, you should know that I am a representative of the news media/press and this request is made as part of news gathering and not for commercial use.


I request a waiver of all fees for this request. Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest.


Specific explanation for waiver of fees: This is a media request.


Thank you for your consideration of this request.




Mr. Alexander Russo

Phone: 312-286-9242

Email: alexanderrusso@gmail.com


FOIA Request Form


Your request has been submitted successfully.


We will attempt to respond to your request within 20 working days, however the release of records may take longer. If you have any questions regarding your request, send an email to EDFOIAManager@ed.gov or call (202) 245-6651.


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Responsibility and transparency obviously apply only to students, parents, and school site personnel.

It will be interesting to see "what happens next."

Good for you Alexander. I'm so proud of you for taking the plunge!

I'm behind you 100% because the request seems perfectly reasonable. Thanks for staying on this one!

One of Pres. Obama's first acts in office was to tip the benefit of the doubt towards the public when it comes to disclosure of information.

Issued the day after he was inaugurated, the memo directed to heads of departments informs them: "In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears."

Clearly, the folks at DOE didn't get the memo. You can read the full thing here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Freedom_of_Information_Act/

Next time they give you a hassle, you might want to forward them a copy of the memo.

Isn't this information buried somewhere deep on the web? I remember reading the transcripts from the President's daily activities when I worked at my state's archive and records center. And that was president G. W. Bush. Just a thought.

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