Parents Fighting to Protect Privacy Cause inBloom Data Mining Scheme to Fold in Failure

April, 2014

It has been a bad week for the corporate education overlords that seek to impose the academically inferior, developmentally inappropriate, and psychologically manipulative Common Core standards on our children, psychologically profile them via the tests and gather data on them from womb to tomb.  We have already reported on the huge win by genuine anti-Common Core outsider candidate Curt Clawson over the candidate described by Time Magazine and Slate as the Jeb Bush and or GOP establishment candidate.

These corporate marauders are also having to deal with the huge setback that their for-profit data mining scheme, inBloom, has been forced to shut down.  This data collection instrument for supposedly "personalized learning" was going to collect 400 different kinds of student, family, and teacher data all without consent.  inBloom was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, and Rupert Murdoch's Wireless Generation.  Parents, teachers, and attorneys from all over the nation  have revolted against the unconscionably invasive efforts of these entities to grab their their children's and families' data without their consent to use for profiling and career tracking purposes.

Here is an excerpt from Education Week's technology blog:

After months caught in the crosshairs of parents, advocates, and educators concerned about student-data privacy, controversial nonprofit inBloom announced Monday that it will close its doors.

"I have made the decision to wind down the organization over the coming months," inBloom CEO Iwan Streichenberger wrote in an email to the organization's supporters. "The unavailability of this technology is a real missed opportunity for teachers and school districts seeking to improve student learning." (Full statement from inBloom included below.)

The announcement comes on the heels of the New York state legislature's recent enactment of legislation that effectively pulled the plug on inBloom's last remaining large partner.

Founded in 2011, inBloom aimed to store, clean, and aggregate a wide range of student information for states and districts, then make the data available to district-approved third parties to develop tools and dashboards so the data could more easily be used by classroom educators.  

Over the past year, however, the organization became a lightning rod for those concerned about the increased collection, use, and sharing of sensitive student information. The backlash prompted a string of withdrawals by planned partners in Colorado, Louisiana, and elsewhere.

The inBloom CEO, Iwan Streichenberger,  like Jeb Bush, Don Gaetz, and many others in and outside of Florida, blamed "misunderstanding" and conspiracy mongering parents who are apparently too stupid to see the glories of having  their children's sensitive, private data available to corporations and the federal government and then having their tax dollars used to pay these unaccountable private entities to put it together in different streams for "personalized learning:"
"The use of technology to tailor instruction for individual students is still an emerging concept and inBloom provides a technical solution that has never been seen before. As a result, it has been the subject of mischaracterizations and a lightning rod for misdirected criticism. In New York, these misunderstandings led to the recent passage of legislation severely restricting the education department from contracting with outside companies like inBloom for storing, organizing, or aggregating student data, even where those companies provide demonstrably more protection for privacy and security than the systems currently in use...We stepped up to the occasion and supported our partners with passion, but we have realized that this concept is still new, and building public acceptance for the solution will require more time and resources than anyone could have anticipated...It wasn't an easy decision, and the unavailability of this technology is a real missed opportunity for teachers and school districts seeking to improve student learning."

Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education is a partner in the Data Quality Campaign, a private corporate and foundation run organization, which also belittled the concerns of parents:
"The challenges surrounding inBloom, which partly stemmed from public unfamiliarity with cloud technology and confusion about the use and security of student data, illustrates the importance of helping the public, and especially parents, understand how increased access to data helps their children succeed," said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, the executive director of the Washington-based Data Quality Campaign, in a statement issued in response to Monday's news.

No, Mr. Streichenberger, we are not misinformed.  FSCCC has joined with parents and groups across the nation and the political spectrum to sound the alarm about the data mining aspects of Common Core, inBloom, FERPA, and dangerous state legislation like last session's SB 878 that was written and heavily promoted by Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future.   New York parent Leonie Haimson summed it up quite well when she said in a statement:
"There are more and more data-mining vendors who, with the help of government officials, foundations, and think tanks, are eager to make money off of student information in the name of "big data" and "personalized" learning, and in the process see parents, if they recognize our existence at all, as ignorant obstacles to their Orwellian plans," said Haimson in her statement. "We realize the fight for student privacy is just beginning."

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