To understand the hiring practices at your child’s school and ensure transparency, you can file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or public records request. This proactive step empowers you to access information about the school’s teacher hiring procedures, qualifications, and criteria, ultimately helping you make informed decisions about your child’s education. By exercising your right to request such information, you can actively participate in shaping the educational landscape for your child and the entire school community.
Fill out the form below to request a template you can use to request teacher hiring documents from your school district. You can copy this template into an email, send it as an attachment, copy it into an only portal, or send it via mail.
Additional tips and instructions are below.
Contact Your School District
Download a FOIA form letter
How to Request Teacher Hiring Documents
- Copy the FOIA request template below or download our form letter.
- Include your name, full address, email, and phone number.
- Add the name and address of the school district.
- Sign the letter and make copies, retaining a copy of the letter for your records.
- Mail the letter to the address of the school district or send it via email or online portal if provided.
FOIA requirements can vary by jurisdiction, so check your local laws or the school district’s website for any specific instructions or forms that need to be included with your request.
District officials may drag their feet—despite legal requirements to respond in a timely manner— or may try to scare off requesters by making outrageous estimations for the costs of producing records, saying that they will charge thousands of dollars for records. Their goal is to discourage you from pressing for information you are legally entitled to.
- Do your research: Schools or school districts identify a designated records custodian, like a public information officer or general counsel. You can usually find this information on your district’s website by searching “public records” or “FOIA,” or by calling the district or school office. Other districts may use an online portal. Either way, use the districts’ preferred method to get documents back in a timely way and at a lower fee.
- Regularly contact the FOIA officer: Many FOIA requests get lost, forgotten, or misrouted within big bureaucracies. Check in with the FOIA officer once-a-week or so by email to help push your FOIA along.
- Narrow your request: If the FOIA officer says your request is “too voluminous,” you can narrow your request to the information you want and exclude records that aren’t relevant to your request (for instance, if you request all references to “diversity and inclusion,” you can exclude newspaper articles that use that phrase that may be in the email inboxes of employees who receive the digital New York Times every morning).