There's a front-page story in the NY Times today on this issue. I, along with several other activists, have several irons in the fire on this issue.
I tell you - as parents - this should be the SINGLE issue to most concern you. Why?
There is NO ONE but you to protect your child's data. Truly.
Your child cannot just be another data point (or a brick in the wall) for any number of "researchers" or data collectors. Where is the proof that more data makes better academic outcomes?
If you have been a parent for longer than a minute, you know that children and learning is a complex issue. You, as a parent, know your child better than anyone and yet can you say, with complete accuracy, what is the best way for your child to learn? In 3rd grade? 7th grade? 10 grade?
Well, having 100 data points and throwing it at the wall and seeing what sticks is not the way to go (and I believe that's about what it comes down to. )
- Recent changes to the federal education privacy law (FERPA) may leave students and families unprotected. School districts can release private information to third parties without notification to parents and parents cannot opt their students out of that data being released.
FERPA will NOT protect your child's student data privacy. Period. It protects the records at school - and minimally at that - NOT the data.
- with the advent of Common Core and other large-scale initiatives, the drive for MORE data from MORE groups has come. This was verified to me by Susan Wright, the head of Technology for SPS.
- the rate of child identify theft is double the adult rate. And many kids don't find out their identities have been compromised until they are 16 and start to use their Social Security numbers to get jobs.
-Gates has set up inBloom, huge multi-state data "cloud" for student information. Their website says several chilling things like no guarantee of safety of data and the 400-point list of data that is available on students. Things like adoption, discipline, parole officer, and other personal items that are really beyond the scope of most research.
Nine states that signed up with inBloom, six have now backed out. Mr. Gates seems to forget that if would not want this for his own children, most parents wouldn't want it for theirs.
“FIFTY percent of this project has good intentions,” Paula Noonan, a Jeffco school board member, said of the inBloom plan. “The other 50 percent is totally full of risk that hasn’t been examined and weighed.”
Understand that some states - not ours - use SS numbers as student identifiers and even though inBloom doesn't like that, they will use and store them.
-Data breaches - did you know when Sony's Playstation database - about 77 million people - was hacked in 2011 that it is now estimated to cost them $171M. The University of Nebraska's parent database - including financial aid info - was hacked in 2012.
- The state of NY uploaded all their student data to inBloom... without disclosing this to parents. The parents are furious and fighting back.
- Oklahoma has already passed a law streamlining what can get out and other states are pushing for an opt-out for parents.
I will be writing more on this - what my group is doing, what you can do and I cannot tell you enough that NOW is the time to learn about this and start protecting your child.