Across the nation, public school families have been acutely concerned with the unprecedented and potentially illegal creation of a massive, cloud-based database of sensitive student data. These concerns have met with derision from a range of corporate reform-minded policy makers and pundits. But testimony offered to the New York State Assembly last week proves there are people who clearly intend to expand the use of student data well beyond what public school families could ever contemplate.
David Little, Director of Government Relations for the New York State School Boards Association proposed an "inBloom score" to provide colleges with a efficiently summarized student discipline rating:
The final thing that I would envision is how this would be used in the future. If I were post-secondary education institution, one of the most efficient ways of evaluating a student in addition to grades and SAT scores would be if I had a numeric score based on their entire history of discipline and individual grades and individual scores over the years, and I could numerically assess that, and say they got this on the ACT, this is their grade point average and this is their inBloom score. That would be tremendously efficient for these people. So I think as we go forward, I think it is incumbent on all of us to make sure that we take the time and energy to make sure that we are not only doing the right thing but we are also doing it right.
source: (http://nystateassembly.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=769, at roughly 4:10 mark)
Rather than think up new ways to efficiently exploit sensitive student data, the NY State School Boards Association ought to be concerned about the risks of inBloom to the state's school systems. The state's contract with inBloom is so extraordinarily one sided that it presents a serious risk to the very members the Association is supposed to represent: inBloom has contractually deflected all but a token about of liability back to the districts supplying data, the inBloom entity itself has no material financial assets to backstop its work in the event its defective software results in a data breach, there are no required protocols to respond to data breaches and no obligation on behalf of inBloom to notify or compensate the victims of a data breach.
The fact that the School Board Association would call for further exploitation of student data is simply another example of the recklessness of the inBloom project and irresponsibility of those pressing it against the interests of public school families.