Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It's apparently the end of the line for inBloom, but not our fight to protect student privacy

This morning, Stephanie Simon of Politico reports that indeed, after a long battle, the NY State Education Department has finally agreed to sever its relationship with inBloom and will ask them to delete all the student data already stored on its cloud.  This was the clear intent of the state budget bill approved on Monday, and marks the end of a long battle that started when the Regents approved this egregious contract in December 2011.  (UPDATE: See also the article by Gary Stern in Lohud News featuring a quote from me, and the follow-up AP article in which inBloom confirms they have deleted NY student data at the instructions of the State Education Department.)

This also means that inBloom has NO known clients left, as Stephanie points out (contrary to the credulous article in the WSJ recently.)

" Massachusetts is still officially considering a contract with the nonprofit, but a state education department spokesman said it was unlikely to proceed. Illinois no longer plans to upload large amounts of data, though individual districts may participate; inBloom won’t say whether any have agreed to do so."

In state after state, district after district, the original nine partner states of inBloom have cancelled their contracts after protests from parents, teachers, and voters, and have got rid of this data-engorging monster, the $100 million creation of the Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation.  New York state, the Gates Foundation's most faithful cult follower, was the last to agree to let go.

This wouldn't have happened of course without the incredible support of parents throughout the state, who immediately recognized the threat that inBloom represented, and contacted their school boards and Superintendents, who agreed with us and vehemently opposed the project.  Thanks to all of you!

Also thanks to Stephanie Simon, who wrote the first and still the best article in the national media on inBloom when it launched, and pursued this story when countless other journalists from the mainstream media told me that there was no news here and nothing important to report.

Instead, this turned into a multi-layered saga, full of parent protests, hearings, the overturning of a school board election,  as well as evasiveness, false information, and misleading tweets from the Gates Foundation and inBloom, ineptly trying to do damage control.

From the beginning, when we crashed an Gates learning camp, (then called the Shared Learning Collaborative) and in our subsequent, frustrating meeting with Michelle Cahill of the Carnegie Corporation, it was clear that the modus operandi of these officials was to go over parents' heads and ignore our concerns.  Instead, they appeared to be convinced that they would win by dealing solely with state and district administrators, who they felt they could buy off with promises of grant money and the like.  These educrats, including the top brass at the NY State Education Department, had no understanding or interest in dealing with the real-life concerns of parents, who simply wanted to protect their children's privacy.

Whether inBloom will survive or morph into something else is as yet unclear.  inBloom spokesman Adam Gaber told Stephanie that the nonprofit is “pushing forward with our mission” to make student data more accessible to educators. In reality, their goal was always to facilitate the collection and sharing of personal student information with data-mining vendors, and they may still be able to do this in one form or another.  Or the Gates Foundation may pull the plug, with no revenue coming in to make inBloom self-sustaining.  They may finally recognize the albatross that even the name inBloom has become, emblematic of all the oppressive aspects of their multi-pronged, autocratic education agenda, including the Common Core and the multi-state testing consortia, which could become inBloom-like in themselves, and with the assent of State ed departments, amass huge amounts of personal data and hand it off to vendors or use it themselves in all sorts of shady ways.

In any case, the inBloom saga has opened up a can of worms, letting us know that dangerous threats to student privacy arise from a multitude of sources, including the state agencies, avid to track your child's data from cradle to the grave, as well as for-profit vendors, eager to collect as much highly valuable student data as possible in the name of "improving instruction" and "personalized learning" but primarily to make a buck. 

Though we may have won the battle, we are far from winning the war.   Here in New York, Commissioner King will be appointing a "privacy officer" (which in my mind is akin to having the fox guarding the hen house) and will be writing regulations for the new law, whose language in many ways is ambiguous and confusing. We will all have to keep a close eye on him as he is likely to be adopting language for those regs from expensive attorneys hired by the Gates Foundation, Pearson and the like, who are his real "partners" in the educational endeavor known as corporate reform.  Keep tuned as we continue our work to inform parents, and help them fight for the right to protect their child's privacy and security to the maximum degree possible going forward.

16 comments:

Penni June :) said...

Leonie, Thank YOU! Our chats, your messages, your posts, your blog, is where it all started for me a year ago this week. We pushed. We wrote. We spoke. We called. We did it! And, if not for you, this would have been hidden until much too late. I thank you from every child in New York for protecting their futures! xo God Bless

Michael Fiorillo said...

Leonie, if any one person deserves the credit for this win our side, it's you.

Thank you for you indefatigable efforts to protect students and teachers.

Patrick Walsh said...

Thank you Leonie, from my daughter and from my heart.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Leonie, all my admiration. We activists know it's sometimes a lonely fight and sometimes parents are so busy/worried, they don't always follow along soon enough or fast enough.

But there are smart and determined parents in NY state and bless them all for standing up for -yes- what is right.

crazycrawfish said...

Congrats!

NYC Phoenix said...

Thanks so much, Leonie, for leading the fight and helping to prove that a lot of little people can together successfully take down a titan!

Former NYC Teacher said...

Thank you for your tireless fighting.

Michael M. said...

I love it when weeds wilt.

THANK YOU LEONIE!

Jan Kasal said...

Thank you for your persistent and systematic work on this project. It was exhausting just to follow online your travel to conferences, hearings, and town hall meetings.

I noticed that... said...

Congrats to you and your untiring effort in informing the parents/public of InBloom's unethical plan of using students' data and for your constant fight in this battle.

A thousand and one kudos to you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you from California! You are loud and clear!

Geo Karo said...

I agree with Michael. You achieved this victory, Leonie.
Bravo!

NYC Phoenix said...

Thanks for protecting parents rights to guard the privacy of their children!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry if i sound a bit off the hook but i still believe this "inbloom" was and is a creation by non other than mikey bloomcraps himself. Why in the world would we have to see ANYTHING AGAIN with the word "bloom". To this day, I truly truly believe that this in bloom crap is either a bloomberg idea or backed financially by bloomberg or some other devilish scheme this terd seems to be doing every day of his miserable, lizard looking, squealy little midget voice.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 1:11. For sure inbloom was created by the bloomberg administration and others. Also, did anyone notice the outspoken police commissioner bratton state to the media that the moral among police officers is down. This piece of crap bloomberg is hated by ALL. All the while he was proclaiming how great the police force is "the best in the world....da da da) yet behind closed doors each and every officer was depressed and miserable having to deal with this freken maniac midget who does look like a lizard - all he needs is that long tongue that sticks out and stings - wait a minute he already has that too

Nurture said...

The latest hold itinerary are going to put together designed for you and the daughter's or son's other sorts of mum or dad any gatherings along with specifics of your kid's daily life of which needs to be treated along with what people ought to target them. Merely ought not to an agenda can include gatherings while as listed above, it will likewise incorporate which unfortunately mum or dad is in charge of your daughter or son for the duration of every different event? For more information visit my friends website :Children activity Organizer