WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A group of superintendents, school board members and other school officials met Monday night with a high-ranking New York education official to express their opposition to the state’s effort to collect and store sensitive, student-specific information on a data cloud.
On Monday, some 60 school officials told Associate State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner the excessive amount of student information being collected – including behavioral records – serves no real educational purpose and seems like an unnecessary risk to students’ privacy, reports LoHud.com.
“A child is better protected in the criminal justice system than in this (data cloud),” said Mary Fox-Alter, superintendent of the Pleasantville Union Free School District.
Others told Wagner the state’s data-grab isn’t likely to increase student learning.
“How is it going to teach children to read? I just don’t get it,” said Bill Kress, president of the Ossining Union Free school board.
Wagner defended the plan as necessary to identifying at-risk students. He noted the state has already begun collecting the data and plans to ramp up that effort early next year, according to LoHud.com.
Wagner added that even school districts that won’t be utilizing the data cloud – as some 28 New York districts have announced – they will still be required to submit the data.
January will be a crucial month in this ongoing debate. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has announced plans to tighten up student privacy laws, which might allow parents to opt out of having their children’s information sent to the data cloud. The data cloud is managed by inBloom, a Bill Gates-funded K-12 technology company.
LoHud.com also reports that a dozen New York City parents filed a lawsuit on Nov. 13 “to halt the inBloom project.”
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The data collection is connected to the new Common Core learning standards. The uniform, nationalized learning objectives are intended to create apples-to-apples student data that can be stored and analyzed on the longitudinal data systems being built by individual states – an endeavor made possible with funding from Congress’ 2009 “stimulus” bill.