*NYSED's John King: "There can be no opt-out because we are required to aggregate that information." *ALEC legislation to sell public education to privately run edu-tech empire and children’s data to private interests
In this still fresh and pertinent post from another education blog a month ago we see a parallel to inBloom, the plague on New York State parents and children: a program innocuously given the name "Student Achievement Backpack Act."
And with all the news of debit and credit card security breaches in the Target Corporation system can parents really feel that they can put all of their trust in New York State Education Department Commissioner John King, who says "We’ll do everything possible to keep it [inBloom] secure"???? (By the way, this comment drew boos from the parent audience.) A commenter on the news site noted, "Once the lawsuits start flying, it will be New York State taxpayers who get stuck with the bill." Or do these constituents not figure as stakeholders in King's mind?
And more King cavalier comments:
New York State Education Commissioner John King got a loud laugh from the mostly-hostile crowd at Mineola High School on Nov. 13 when he admitted that the new data site being rolled out by the state and several non-profits —called InBloom — was as secure as they could make it, but there was never a guarantee that online data couldn’t be hacked.The above is from the Valley Stream Herald. Hey, how come these articles are always in upstate, Hudson Valley or Long Island newspapers and the New York City papers are mute???
“Tell that to the national security agency,” one man yelled out, referring to the breach in the super-secret agencies data last year.
One participant took up the question head on, asking King if she could opt-out of the program for her elementary school student.
“I am concerned about protecting the privacy of my student,” she said. “As he is a minor, I should be the one to decide which information about him goes into the cloud and which does not.”
King told her that the state needed the information to make decisions and that federal law required that the state collect that information. "There can be no opt-out because we are required to aggregate that information."
Postscript: 4.5 million Snapchat accounts hacked, usernames, phone numbers leaked. You still have total faith in Commissioner King's ability to keep inBloom secure?
From EducationalAlchemy blog:
Carol Burris, "Student privacy concerns grow over 'data in a cloud'" at Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet column at The Washington Post:
By Carol Burris
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is indecisive when it comes to uploading student information into inBloom, the cloud-based system designed to provide student data to vendors. He says that he is waiting for Commissioner John King’s report on privacy, even as the upload begins. Cuomo claims that massive student data collection is “necessary.” Meanwhile, eight other states that originally committed to inBloom have pulled out, or put their plans on hold.
The collection and reporting of school data is nothing new. We used to send data on scan sheets; test scores, drop out rates, the percentage of students with disabilities, etc., were all reported in the aggregate. As technology progressed, we began to electronically send data, not in the aggregate, but by student. Students were assigned a unique identifying number so that their privacy was protected, with identity guarded at the school or district level. More data, including race, ethnicity and socio-economic status, were added to what we sent. This allowed the state to disaggregate data by student group, while still preserving anonymity. Now that wall of privacy is shattered. Names, addresses (e-mail and street) and phone numbers are to be sent. Schools are required to upload student attendance, along with attendance codes, which indicate far more than whether or not the student was absent or present. Codes indicate whether a student is ill, truant, late to school or suspended. Details about the lives of students are moving beyond the school walls to reside in the inBloom cloud.
As a high school principal, I am worried by the state’s ever growing demands for student information. I believe that all disciplinary records should be known only to families and the school. All teens are under tremendous strain to perform — sometimes for adults, other times for peers. Some live on the emotional breaking point — others visit that point now and again. Kids make mistakes. Some make bad decisions. Others lose their temper and get out of control. Such serious infractions result in suspensions. We have to keep our schools safe, even as we are concerned about the well being of the offender.
When I suspend a student, I frame it within the context of learning. I also assure students and parents that discipline records are only known to us. Once that information is in the state database or the inBloom cloud, I can no longer give that reassurance.
What, then is the rationale for shipping personal data beyond the school? The New York State Education Department defends the collection of individual attendance and suspension data, claiming that it must be collected and uploaded to inBloom because it is one of several “early warning indicators” of dropping out. That rationale is insufficient. The identification of students with those indicators can be done at the school level. What is needed are the resources and supports so that schools can better intervene. Schools also need community support for dealing with problems such as student truancy. We do not need data in a cloud.
An additional justification is that inBloom data dashboards will allow parents to check to make sure that a suspension was removed from their child’s record if the commissioner overturns a suspension on appeal. In those rare cases, if a parent wants reassurance that the suspension was expunged, parents should visit the school. Schools are obliged to produce every written record, as well as give parents access to computer records. Disciplinary records are kept in both hard copy as well as in school data systems. Looking at a data dashboard would give an incomplete picture at best.
There is simply no justifiable reason for a state education department to know whether an individual student was ever suspended. It is an intrusion into the privacy of kids.
Read rest of Burris' column at The Washington Post.
(A reminder: the Common Core - student data linkage is essential, according to main architect, David Coleman. Read the article, "David Coleman Lauds the Use of Student Data.")