Collection of Data and Loss of Privacy
The amount and extent of data collected on our children is truly mind-numbing. It is a literal "cradle to career system." Data elements include or will include newborn screening (genetic) data; preschool screening including socioemotional (mental health) data; biometric data (like iris scans); homework; assessments, that according to the federal government will now include measurement of psychological characteristics; parental voting status and religious affiliation; extra-curricular activities; college data; income; and other employment data. Sadly there are efforts at both the state and federal levels to weaken or further weaken privacy protections.
This is made all the worse by the presence of federally required state longitudinal databases that will allow student data to be shared across states, to multiple agencies of the federal government, and to researchers and private corporations. In fact, there is a public private partnership educational database called inBloom that is a joint venture between Microsoft, The Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, and a Rupert Murdoch company called Amplify Education that is being piloted or implemented in 9 states.
Children in Polk County Florida underwent iris scans without parental knowledge or consent as part of a bus security initiative. Proponents of Common Core claim this has nothing to do with the standards. While correct, that the standards themselves have nothing to do with iris scanning,the federally required and funded state longitudinal data collection system that will send data to the federal government and be exchangeable with other states and that will house the Common Core assessment results also houses or will house 300-400 points of data does include biometric data like iris scans and genetic data.
This is a gross violation of the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution and has resulted in outrage from all points on the political spectrum to the point of causing state affiliates of the ACLU and PTA to threaten lawsuits and commentators and parents to join forces against this incredible loss of privacy.
Thanks to strong grassroots opposition, organizing, research, and lobbying, The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition was very successful in stopping the statewide passage of the Common Core linked data mining bills in the 2013 Florida legislative session even though the major Bil had passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously with the exception of a small amendment. This is nearly unprecedented and we ask you to join with us as we fight for strong privacy protections in 2014.