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Saturday, May 11, 2013

As even more states withdraw from inBloom, NY remains, and all parents should remain vigilant!

Yesterday we learned from the twitter feed of the invaluable Reuters investigative reporter Stephanie Simon that  "there are no plans" for Delaware, Georgia or Kentucky to share their confidential, personally identifiable student data with the Gates-funded corporation called inBloom Inc.  Moreover, Bob Swiggum, Chief Information Officer at the Georgia Department of Education has said that the furor over student privacy makes states wary of this insecure database: "I don't know how inBloom will survive this."

So, let's make a quick review of where the states and districts now stand that inBloom still claims as "partners":
  • John White, the Louisiana State Superintendent announced a few weeks ago he was pulling all student data out of the inBloom cloud because of protests and privacy concerns of parents.
  •  Georgia, Delaware and Kentucky, all three states listed on the inBloom website as "Phase II" states, due to start piloting the system in 2013, have now said that they too are not planning to participate. 
  • A high-ranking Massachusetts education official recently wrote that they reconsidering their plan to share the data from their one "pilot" district,  Everett,  until they reassess  "the security risks."
  • Another pilot district, Guilford NC, has said  that "the pilot program was still very much in the conceptual stage and that GCS had not even seen as much of a product demonstration at this early point in the process.
  • Officials from Jefferson County in Colorado have told parents that though they still intend to go through with this risky plan, "we have not shared any data at this point.  The sharing of data would occur about a year from now....approximately January-March of 2014 (in that time frame).  
  • Illinois officials have revealed that Unit 5 in Normal is not sharing its data with inBloom, though District 87 in Bloomington is still apparently participating.
So now it appears that the only current participants in the inBloom cloud that admit to sharing data at this point appear to be New York state, with its 2.7 million public school students, and (perhaps) Bloomington, Illinois, a town with a total enrollment of 5,414 students.  [If anyone knows parents in either Bloomington or Normal, please let me know.  Illinois is the only inBloom state where there is not yet an active contingent of parents protesting their state's involvement.]

Compare the above to what is still listed today on the inBloom website:

How could anyone trust those who are running inBloom, when the reality is so far off from their claims?

Now I don't believe that anyone should be complacent.  Given the huge secrecy surrounding this project, the fact that none of the original group of states and districts told parents anything about it, and the manner in which New York state  moved from sharing only NYC data to student information statewide, the privacy and security of students are likely at risk in many states.
Moreover, some of the pilot districts listed above may  still be intent on participating if and when the furor dies down.  inBloom and the Gates Foundation are still surely offering them substantial financial incentives to agree to go through with this dangerous scheme.

In fact, it is likely that as the officials at Gates Foundation see their grand project slipping between their fingers, the promises of  financial incentives will grow even larger.  After all, Gates is by far the wealthiest foundation in the world, with more than 36 billion dollars in assets, and they are not going to let their $100 million investment die so easily. (Though if they were smart they would let it go, as they have an even larger investment in the Common Core, and the role of inBloom  in collecting and disclosing children's private data to vendors arises repeatedly in many of the critiques of the Common Core, even in states that have never openly expressed any intention in sharing their data with the corporation.)

All parents need to remain vigilant and active; and those in Massachusetts and Colorado should join others organizing against inBloom.   But let's hope that as this project is increasingly unmasked as the unethical and toxic enterprise that it is, more states see reason and decide to pull out  -- especially New York, which by its unwavering determination is proving to be the most reckless state with student privacy in the nation.

See below; a video interview from RT TV with Kade Crockford of the Massachusetts ACLU about inBloom:


Anonymous said...

Social security numbers are not in the NY Data

be careful said...

To anon....I don't care. You do not have the right to store my child's private information. It is for the school and no one else. We will fight you. Store the Gates and Obama children's data first.

Lee Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT said...

Trust me - Louisiana's Chief For Change TFA Superintendent John White is just soothing what he believes is a momentary and insignificant show of opposition by a small number if parents and public Ed advocates. He is biding his time and packing his bags in expectation of his move out of Louisiana to greener - and safer - pastures. Word is he will join Arne Duncan in D.C. As a reward for the destruction he has wrought in Louisiana. inBloom is no less important to CCSS than the newest high stakes test coming down the sewer pipe of reform. Be vigilant.