Crack investigative journalist Stephanie Simon has done it again. In this article, she describes the $100 million plan to collect confidential student data and put it into a giant database.
“In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.
“Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services.
“Entrepreneurs can’t wait.
“This is going to be a huge win for us,” said Jeffrey Olen, a product manager at CompassLearning, which sells education software.
“CompassLearning will join two dozen technology companies at this week’s SXSWedu conference in demonstrating how they might mine the database to create custom products – educational games for students, lesson plans for teachers, progress reports for principals.”
The database was funded by the Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation and created by Wireless Generation, which is part of Joel Klein’s Amplify, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
As a grandparent of a child in the public schools, it makes me ill to know that my grandson’s personal and confidential data will be sold or given to entrepreneurs for marketing purposes. And even sicker to know that his information is in the possession of a company owned by News Corporation.