Press-Republican

Education

June 16, 2013

Locals join Albany rally against testing, data collection

(Continued)

Nuts-and-bolts issues for parents and teachers come down to three pervasive concerns, Carlisto said. 

First, he said, is excessive use of testing in schools, and second, that tests usurp a teacher’s individual ability to teach. Third, he said, is the corporate advance into education with the mining of personal student data from every district in New York.

“Leonie Haimson, chairperson of the nonprofit group Class Size Matters, has led the way in pushing back against the data-sharing being implemented by an organization called InBloom,” he said.

Haimson spoke at the rally.

DATA PARKING GARAGE

“InBloom, funded by the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, is a not-for-profit group set to become a for-profit corporation in five years,” Carlisto said.

“They are collecting confidential student information and storing it — information like birth dates, names, discipline records, even the socio-economic status of parents,” Carlisto said.

“They are going to store it in a Cloud (online). It’s like a ‘parking garage’ for all this data.

“You see, the federal privacy laws have been changed so that third-party corporate/commercial vendors can act as agents of a school district to get access to this data for the purpose of selling school districts tailor-made software and educational products, like textbooks,” he said.

Does the motivation for student data mining go beyond profiteering and a corporate agenda?

“You can see the path toward ‘common core’ standards in this,” Carlisto answered. “How far of a leap is it to say we want everyone to think the same way?”

‘UNETHICAL’

The same argument has been raised by area parents and students who challenge state assessment tests.

Garcia-Notario believes data collection without parental knowledge or consent is unethical. And setting a corporate agenda for education is dangerous, she said.

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