Update: the state of Kansas has suspended their state testing after its testing vendor was cyber-attacked and hard. From Ed Week:
While the cyber strikes scuttled the testing schedules of hundreds of schools across the state and left state officials scrambling to upgrade their security infrastructure, the full fallout is not yet known.
"We're still in 'fix-it mode' right now," said Marianne Perie, the director of the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation, or CETE, which develops and administers the exams. "We're putting out the fire before we have a chance to assess the damage."
This year's administration of this year's exams is considered a pilot, and the results will not be used for accountability purposes. The content of this year's CETE exams covers mathematics and English/language arts in grades 3-8 and 11 and is aligned to the Kansas College and Career Ready standards—the Sunflower State's rebranded version of the contentious common core.
Here's something worrying:
Such attacks require significant technical expertise, he said, but can be purchased for as little as $100 on the black market.
Perie stressed that no student data has been compromised or breached as a
result of the DDoS attack, which she described as solely "inbound" and
not intended to access student records.
End of update.
And then there were none.
inBloom, the student data cloud created via Gates Foundation dollars, started off with a roster of about nine states. One by one they pulled out as states - via their legislatures - started asking more questions especially around notification of parents and student data security. New York State had been the last one standing.
But a recent report on Common Core by a group commissioned by Governor Cuomo had a number of issues raised and one of them was inBloom. Their recommendation was to cut ties to inBloom. The state legislature - via a budget bill - has done just that.
From the NYC Public School Parents blog:
This wouldn't have happened of course without the incredible support of
parents throughout the state, who immediately recognized the threat that
inBloom represented, and who contacted their school boards and
Superintendents, who agreed with us and vehemently opposed the project.
Thanks to all of you!
Also thanks to Stephanie Simon, who wrote the first and still the best article
in the national media on inBloom when it launched, and pursued this
story when countless other journalists from the mainstream media told me
that there was no news here and nothing important to report.
What is next?
Whether inBloom will survive or morph into something else is as yet
unclear. inBloom spokesman Adam Gaber told Stephanie that the nonprofit
is “pushing forward with our mission” to make student data more
accessible and more useful to educators. Their goal was always to
facilitate the collection and sharing of personal student information
with data-mining vendors, and they may still be able to do this in one
form or another.
Or the Gates Foundation may pull the plug, with no
revenue coming in to make inBloom self-sustaining, and recognize the
albatross that even the name inBloom has become, emblematic of all the
oppressive aspects of their multi-pronged, autocratic education agenda,
including the Common Core and the multi-state testing consortia,
which could become inBloom-like in themselves, and with the assent of
State ed departments, amass huge amounts of personal data and hand it
off to vendors or use it themselves in all sorts of shady ways.
We have already seen our own state ed department more than happy to hand off student data - to a for-profit newspaper, no less - without telling the parents, the district or the public. (I'm still working on getting more info on the new agreement.)
I agree with this last statement:
In any case, the inBloom saga has opened up a can of worms, letting us
know that dangerous threats to student privacy arise from a multitude of sources,
including the state agencies, avid to track your child's data from
cradle to the grave, as well as for-profit vendors, eager to collect as
much highly valuable student data as possible in the name of "improving
instruction" and "personalized learning" but primarily to make a buck.
The huge lift here belongs to Leonie Haimson, a fearless, relentless fighter, for public schools. I met her at the Network for Public Education conference and she is truly amazing.
Don't EVER believe you cannot create change in public education. You can and Leonie and the public school parents of New York State are proof.