ALBANY, N.Y. – New York legislators may have delivered a crippling blow to one of big ideas behind the Common Core experiment.
On Tuesday, officials with New York’s Education Department announced they were canceling their “plans to store identifiable student data in a web-based cloud created by inBloom, a non-profit funded by the Gates Foundation,” reports LoHud.com.
State officials said they will also delete the student data that has already been uploaded.
The decision was made after state lawmakers passed legislation earlier in the week “that prohibits the department from giving student information to entities that collect and store data for use in a data dashboard or portal – as inBloom intended to do for New York,” LoHud.com reports.
The legislation was in response to angry New York parents who were concerned that their children’s personal academic and behavioral information was going to be collected, stored and shared with third-party vendors that provide education-related services and products to schools.
Parents feared the information could be leaked to colleges and future employers, stolen by identity thieves or sold to for-profit companies.
Tuesday’s announcement by the state Education Department was widely praised as a victory for parents and, as one education leader put it, “a really good example of democracy in action.”
It was also a stinging defeat for the architects and supporters of Common Core.
We contend that one of the major goals of the one-size-fits-all, nationalized learning standards is to generate apples-to-apples student and school data that researchers can use to unlock the “science” of teaching and personalize the learning process.
Common Core supporters believe data-driven instruction will improve America’s public schools and ultimately bolster the U.S. economy.
If you doubt our theory, just consider two of Common Core’s most powerful advocates: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Duncan is a self-proclaimed “deep believer” in making data-driven decisions. Given that Common Core was going to generate a bonanza of student data, it’s no wonder the education secretary has done everything in his power – from No Child Left Behind waivers to the Race to the Top initiative – to lure states into adopting Common Core.
It’s even easier to understand why Gates has been so gung-ho about Common Core. His Microsoft Corporation was well-positioned to lead the K-12 technology revolution and make a great deal of money.
It’s true that those plans were already in jeopardy before Tuesday’s announcement from Albany. Several states have passed laws or received executive orders that prohibit the collection and sharing of student-specific data.
The revelation that New York is scrapping its data project appears to be the final and decisive blow to Common Core supporters’ plan for a data-driven education revolution. As POLITICO reports, New York’s decision to quit inBloom leaves the company “with no known customers.” The $100 million that Gates’ personal foundation spent to create data-sharing services appears wasted, at least for now.
Make no mistake: Just because one of the overarching goals behind Common Core has failed doesn’t mean the standards are going away on their own. Too much money and political capital has been spent to get this K-12 experiment off the ground; the Education Establishment is going to try and make this work with everything it has.
Some of them even still believe the standards are “rigorous” and “internationally benchmarked,” despite the mounting scholarship that proves otherwise.
But deep down, Common Core enthusiasts must realize that one of the big ideas behind the nationalized learning standards has been defeated.
The education revolution is off … at least for now.