Here you will find observations and discussions regarding current issues in public policy. As an educator, a husband, a father of three beautiful girls-my goal is to save the world from itself, for them.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
An email I received regarding our state uniting with industry to violate our rights and our privacy.
An update on the violation of student privacy and how to opt out your child, from Class Size Matters
Earlier in the school year, we posted a petition that you signed, asking the NY State Attorney General and Board of Regents to stop the New York State Education Department from handing over private, personally identifiable student and teacher data to the Gates Foundation, which intends to disclose this information to for-profit commercial vendors. A story in Sunday’s Reuters explains how the Gates Foundation has now formed a new corporation called inBloom Inc., to store and distribute the confidential student data from nine states, including of New York public school students statewide.
Though our petition generated over 2,600 signatures to NYSED Commissioner King in two weeks, the state has refused to meet with us and has insisted that it will go ahead with its plan to share any and all information in student (and teacher) educational records. This information will include names, addresses, and phone numbers, linked to grades, test scores, detailed disciplinary records, attendance rates, health conditions, special education services, economic status and race, all without parental notification or consent. See our updatedfact sheet for more info. inBloom Inc. has already stated that it “cannot guarantee the security of the information stored…or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted.”
For parents who are concerned about the state’s plan to share this personally-identifiable information from your child’s private educational records, you can send the following opt-out email to Commissioner King, copied to state education officials, and then follow up with a phone call to his office if there is no response at (518) 474-5844.
If you are a teacher or principal, you can also email him, either in the interest of your students’ privacy or your own, as inBloom Inc. is collecting your data as well, which would allow them to formulate their own value-added evaluations of your effectiveness, and/or allow states to share these evaluations with other states.
And please forward this email to other parents and teachers. Thanks! Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters Any questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Commissioner King: As a parent, I was appalled to learn, as this Reuters article confirms, that the NY State Education Department is planning to share the most private, confidential data of my child and all NYS public school students with a corporation called inBloom Inc., that will store this highly sensitive information on a vulnerable data cloud and disclose it to for-profit vendors to help them develop and market their products.
This data will include children’s personally identifiable information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, grades, test scores, detailed disciplinary records, health conditions, special education and economic status.
The company inBloom Inc. has already stated that it “cannot guarantee the security of the information stored…or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted.” All this is happening without parental notification or consent.
I hereby OPT my child’s data out of this plan, and demand that you do NOT disclose any of my child’s personally identifiable educational records with ANY third party including the Gates Foundation, inBloom, Inc. or ANY other private entity or corporation.
I DO NOT give my consent. Instead, I urge you to hold public hearings in NYC and throughout the state to explain the purpose of this project, offer all New York parents the right to consent, and inform the public who will be legally and financially responsible if this highly sensitive data leaks out or is used in an unauthorized fashion.
I expect to hear back from you immediately as to whether you will honor my request to withhold my child’s private and confidential educational records. If not, I will call your office until you do so. As a parent, I am outraged at your plan which violates every ethical standard and your responsibility as the state’s highest educational official to protect my child from harm.
Yours, [Your Name and complete address]
Parent [or legal guardian] of [your child’s name, grade and school]
If you do not hear back, follow up with a phone call to King’s office: (518) 474-5844.
Also call Regents head Merryl Tisch at (518) 474-5889 and Assembly Speaker Silver, who is in charge of appointing the Board of Regents who appoint the NYS Education Commissioner: (212) 312-1423 or (518) 455-3791.
Please also forward this message to your legislators; with a note saying you hope they will intercede on your behalf. Your Assembly member can be found here: your State Senator here.