Our children’s data is up for sale – Literally!

UPDATE: Because of protests from parents and his State board of education, John White, the state superintendent of Louisiana,  just announced he was pulling all the state’s student data out of inBloom.  Louisiana was the only state sharing all its confidential student data statewide except for NY with this controversial corporation called inBloom Inc., and the only other state that we know of that had already begun to send them this sensitive data, which in turn planned to provide it to vendors without parental notification or consent.  (via Leonie Haimson)

 

By Dawn D. Collins

Parents beware!

Nine states are planning to share your child’s confidential information with private corporations.

Louisiana is one of the nine states.

Nine “pilot” states have agreed to share confidential student and teacher data with a Gates-funded organization called the “Shared Learning Collaborative” or SLC, which has now spun off as a separate corporation called inBloom Inc .

The states and districts in Phase I include New York (NYC student data), North Carolina (Guilford Co.), Colorado (Jefferson Co.), Illinois (Unit 5 Normal and District 87 Bloomington) and Massachusetts (Everett) and Louisiana (statewide).   Phase II states include Delaware, Georgia, and Kentucky, which intend to start piloting the system in 2013.

This confidential data includes personally identifiable information, including student names, grades, test scores, disciplinary and attendance records, and mostly likely race or ethnicity, free lunch & special education status as well.

These records are to be stored in a massive electronic data bank, being built by Wireless Generation, a subsidiary of News Corporation. News Corporation is owned by Rupert Murdoch and has been found to illegally violate the privacy of individuals in Great Britain and in the United States.

inBloom Inc.  will hold this information and make it available to commercial vendors to help them develop and market their “learning products.”

All this is happening without parental knowledge or consent or adequate notice.  There are serious questions as to whether this plan complies with the federal law protecting student privacy, called FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), which allows the disclosure of personally identifiable information without parental consent only in very limited circumstances and under stringent conditions, none of which apply in this case.

Moreover, this confidential student information is to be put on a cloud managed by Amazon.com, with few if any protections against data leakage. inBloom Inc. has already stated that it “cannot guarantee the security of the information stored … or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted” to third party vendors.

We believe that all these states and districts should immediately be obligated to:
1. Notify all parents of this impending disclosure, and provide them with the right to consent;
2. Hold public hearings for parents to express their concerns about the plan’s potential to violate our children’s privacy, security and safety;
3. Explain how families can obtain relief if their children are harmed by improper use or accidental release of this information, including who will be held financially responsible;
4. Affirm that the privacy rights of public school children are respected more than the interests of the Gates Foundation, the Shared Learning Collaborative, News Corporation, inBloom Inc., or any other company or organization with whom this confidential information may be shared.

What can you do?  Ask your state PTA, or other parent or community group to pass a resolution and send a letter to your State or District Board of Education, protesting this unprecedented violation of the privacy rights of children and families.

For more information or to get involved, please contact ParentsAcrossAmericaBR@gmail.com or 225-312-3238.

In Solidarity,

Dawn D. Collins, Baton Rouge Lead Parent
www.ParentsBR.webs.com

PARENT’S ACROSS AMERICA now has a chapter in Baton Rouge.  To learn more about PAA BR, please visit the webiste www.ParentsBR.webs.com.  You can also become an official member by CLICKING HERE.

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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