March 7, 2001

Legislative Activity

March 7, 2001

The Honorable James M. Jeffords
Chairman, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
728 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Jeffords:

I understand that Senator Chris Dodd may offer the Student Privacy Protection Act as an amendment to the ESEA Reauthorization bill during committee markup. The amendment would require schools to obtain parental consent before information can be collected from students for commercial purposes. I urge you to oppose the amendment.

The AAF recognizes that there should be restraint on the amount of commercialism in schools. However, these are decisions that should be made at the local level. What is appropriate for a particular school or school district may not be right someplace else. But that decision is best made by educators and parents in the school district.

Senator Dodd's amendment would create an unprecedented infringement on local decision-making on education and interfere with a host of beneficial services to schools, including the provision and improvement of important education Internet services.

The federal government should not require all schools - rich and poor - to march to the same drummer. Unfortunately, many school districts are not adequately funded. Reasonable agreements with the business community can play an important role in providing needed funds.

The amendment could have unintended consequences such as prohibiting many existing school fundraising efforts and stopping the supply of some educational materials to students.

I once again urge you to oppose Senator Dodd's amendment.

Thank you for your consideration.


Wallace S. Synder
President & CEO
American Advertising Federation