Opposition to the sharing of sensitive student data by the State Education Department, and embraced by the NYC Dept. of Education, has suddenly come to the forefront of the news.
NY was among several State and Local education districts around the country to agree to participate in the rollout of the inBloom data collection operation, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and operated by Wireless Generation, the Rupert Murdoch subsidiary to which Joel Klein migrated when he left his job as NYC Chancellor. (Could there possibly be a connection there? Nah....)
See articles below for accounts of some of the nation-wide participants who have already withdrawn from the collaboration. Almost all are gone now except for NYC.
Previously highlighted in my article about the public forum conducted at Borough Hall in Brooklyn, http://www.examiner.com/article/parent-advocates-at-brooklyn-borough-hall-meeting last April, the issue has been promoted by parent advocates, especially Leonie Haimson of ‘Class Size Matters’. Her efforts on behalf of public education, in raising the alarm over many issues of urgency to all parents, but especially over this blatant disregard for parental consent and privacy issues enshrined in FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and other Federal and State privacy laws, have finally reached critical mass.
Here are some of the important spotlights shined on one of the final efforts of the Bloomberg Administration to commercialize and monetize education.
In a strongly worded letter to Education Commissioner John King, signed by almost 50 Assembly Democrats, Sheldon Silver requests that due to privacy concerns and the lack of a parental consent option, the implementation of the upload of student data should be delayed for a year.
See the Wall Street Journal article on the Sheldon Silver letter here:
Commissioner King responded through a spokesperson that he will “review the concerns”. Since almost every other State and local education authority that was originally willing to work with inBloom has now dropped their plans, he might want to take more than a few moments to reconsider this highly risky option!
Similar concerns are expressed in an Edweek blog here:
New York Battle Over inBloom, Data Privacy Heading to Court
By Michele Molnar on December 27, 2013 9:28 AM
Diane Ravitch joined the chorus of voices applauding Leonie Haimson for her perseverance in raising the alarm, in this recent entry on her wordpress website:
Finally on my list of many possible references, here is the coverage by Gotham Schools on December 19th, by Geoff Decker, discussing another lawsuit, by Republican Senator John Flanagan
An excerpt: 'Last week, Republican Senator John Flanagan introduced a bill to address looming concerns around the plan’s data privacy and security. He also called for the state to halt the initiative, which is scheduled to begin next month, for at least a year.
Now, a group of Democratic lawmakers, including Speaker Sheldon Silver and Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan, are raising their own red flags. Like Flanagan, they want the state to halt the plan, but they are also suggesting that they might not ever want to see it start up again'.
And according to the Independent ‘NYC Public School Parents’ website: http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/
(This link may say “the page does not exist”, but by clicking ‘Home’ you can enter the website).
“SED officials have admitted they have already uploaded much personal information to inBloom for the purposes of the “data portal roadshows” and have said they will not delay beyond January 15 the disclosure of student names, along with their grades, test scores, racial and economic status, disabilities, disciplinary records and much else, though there is a lawsuit pending in Albany County Supreme Court where on January 3, parents will ask the court to issue a permanent injunction to stop this from happening.”
There are two causes for celebration here, to those of us who mourn the abandonment of a truly well rounded education, especially in the early grades under the onslaught of testing and data collection. First is the possibility that there is now tangible opposition to the juggernaut of so-called "reform" fueled by huge amounts of money from entities that have no credentials in the art of education, only in the enhancement of wealth. (Their own). And secondly that the voices crying in the wilderness may finally be heard! It can be very discouraging to keep on raising the alarm and to never be heard or acknowledged - yet they have never given up. The stakes are too high!. May the tide be turning at last with a brand new year and a new and potentially different administration.
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