Monday, April 21, 2014

InBloom CEO Shuts Down inBloom

Second update:  a reply to inBloom's withdrawal from NY city parents who have been very in the thick of this fight.

Yet the statement issued by inBloom’s CEO reeks of arrogance and condescension, and makes it clear that those in charge still have not learned any lessons from this debacle.  The fervent opposition to inBloom among parents throughout the country did not result from “misunderstandings”,  but inBloom‘s utter inability to provide a convincing rationale that would supercede the huge risks to student security and privacy involved.

Contrary to the claims of Iwan Streichenberger and others,  InBloom was  not designed to protect student privacy but the opposite: to facilitate the sharing of children’s personal and very sensitive information with data-mining vendors,  with no attention paid to the need for parental notification or consent, and this is something that parents will not stand for.  In New York, the last state to pull out of inBloom and the only one in which legislation was needed to do so, parents were joined by superintendents and teachers in pointing out that the risks to children’s privacy and safety far outweighed any educational benefits.
 
End of update

 Update - in the interest of accuracy, no, it was not the Gates Foundation who shut down inBloom (wink, wink).  It was the CEO.  Nothing like $100M down the drain.

End of update

After New York state, as the last state standing in partnership with inBloom, left last month, inBloom  announced today they were shutting down.
This - is - HUGE.  

“I have made the decision to wind down the organization over the coming months,” CEO Iwan Streichenberger said in a letter on the company’s website. “It wasn’t an easy decision, and the unavailability of this technology is a real missed opportunity for teachers and school districts seeking to improve student learning.”

“It is a shame that the progress of this important innovation has been stalled because of generalized public concerns about data misuse, even though inBloom has world-class security and privacy protections that have raised the bar for school districts and the industry as a whole,” the company wrote today.

Oh, "generalized" concerns?  Like millions of children's data, from states around the country, store in one place?  A hacker's dream.  But again, it is not Obama's children, nor Gates, nor Duncan's.

That "raised the bar" issue is right, though.  Most districts are not doing enough and I believe SPS is one of them.  I will have a report soon comparing what the Department of Education says are best practices and what SPS actually does.  That it was reported at the A&F meeting that the district does not have a district-wide procedure on employee data is one glaring issue.

Power to the people, right on.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's $100 MILLION in Gates Foundation "seed money" that is down the drain.

Just think what could have been accomplished with that money if the foundation cared 2 CENTS about the opinions of parents and teachers, both of whom worked to halt this misguided vision that technology trumps all.

WHAM. WHAT AN EMBARRASING SMACKDOWN for the Gates "know it alls".

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

Just in the interest of accuracy - The Gates foundation did not either announce nor close the program down - inBloom's CEO Iwan Streichenberger did - though I'm sure BMGF had something to say on the topic.

reader47

Melissa Westbrook said...

DW, I know - very painful to contemplate all the supports that $100M could have brought to (and truly helped) students.

Thanks Reader, I will change that. But we all know who fronted the money for this venture.

mirmac1 said...

That just made my week....

Po3 said...

Will all the data they have be destroyed?

and yes, so much money down the drain...

Watching said...

Will we be watching a Wack-A-Mole situation? I can't believe the quest for student data is over.

Anonymous said...

Ditto Pof3. What is going to happen to all the data they've collected? Will it evaporate from the Cloud? Let's hope someone takes the time to make sure it's not just floating round out there for hackers to find.

SolvayGirl

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh, no, no. This is NOT the end for student data.

Anonymous said...

They'll sneak back in in a roundabout way so that parents won't know they are coming. They'll rebrand/rename and seek out states like Arizona or Florida first, that have already completed the decimation of public education and is ripe for the last stage of sell-off. They'll pull a Google and secretly collect infomation about kids, knowing that the Feds aren't going to prosecute. And they'll distance themselves from the Obama/Duncan team and appeal to the red state legislators with teacher accountability tracking - using all that student data to track and get rid of "bad" teachers.
Wait for it. You can tell by their message that they see themselves as being in the right and parents in the wrong. They'll be back, if only to prove that they were right.

CT

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's the thing - many parents and activists in many states are now wise to their ways (and how to ferret it out).

No one's going to get fooled again. Doesn't mean we can stop it but we certainly can call attention to it.