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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Come join us on Thursday AM in front of Tweed; and updates on student privacy

This Thursday, March 14 at 11:15 AM we will be holding a press conference with public school parents concerned about the imminent threat to student privacy from the actions of NYS and NYC DOE. 

When: Thursday March 14 at 11:15 AM
Where: steps of Tweed, 52 Chambers near City Hall.

As reported in Reuters, a company called inBloom Inc. is collecting the most private, sensitive, and personally identifiable student data from New York and other states,  storing it on a vulnerable “data cloud” and making it available to commercial vendors:

 “In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school - even homework completion.

As the article makes clear, this company plans to share this information “with private companies selling educational products and services.  Entrepreneurs can't wait.”   We learned from a press release that one of these for-profit companies that the state has signed up to use this data is called Escholar.

The operating system for inBloom is being built by Wireless, now renamed Amplify, a subsidiary of NewsCorp owned by Rupert Murdoch and run by Joel Klein.   I was quoted about Amplify’s new tablet on NPR four days ago.

Thousands of parents have emailed the State Education Department and DOE to protest this arrangement; hundreds have sent opt-out letters without response.  One parent was told by a staffer at SED that they were too busy collecting and transmitting the data to inBloom to respond to parent concerns. My question is this:  if this is really for the benefit of public schoolchildren, why do they refuse to notify their parents or ask for their consent?

Please let us know if you can attend our press conference, or would like to speak at it, by emailing us off list ASAP at info@classsizematters.org

And please forward this message to others who care.
Thanks, Leonie

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