Robert D. Shepherd, curriculum writer and author, left the following comment following Andrea Gabor’s post about the data collecting and data mining business called inBloom.

He writes:

“There were 55,235,000 K-12 public school students in the US in 2010. At $5.00 apiece for inBloom, that would amount to $276,175,000 a year. And if inBloom had a large existing database, it would become a monopoly provider. Switching from it would be next to impossible.

But that’s just the beginning. The whole point of gathering this real-time data on student responses is to link it to online adaptive curricula, with inBloom 2.0 as the gateway, the portal, for delivery of that curricula–

serving up the mind-blowingly inane online worksheet on the schwa sound to little Yolanda and the Powerpoint-like online worksheet on the foil method for factoring to little Kwame. The fans of this online adaptive curricula are the sort of people who think that all learning can be reduced to bullet points on a screen.

At any rate, when the inBloom database becomes the portal for curricula, that’s when the big bucks start rolling in, from inBloom’s “partners,” like Murdoch’ and Klein’s Amplify, for example. And inBloom has made it VERY clear from the start that that’s their plan. That’s the “promise” of having such a database.

Quite a promise.

In short, inBloom is a strategic powerplay for the education market.

I dearly hope that people will have the sense to stop this Orwellian operation before it sinks its data-gathering tentacles into our nation’s children.

Think of it, a nationwide portal for delivery of curricula, a gateway with inBloom as toll-taker.

As Arne Duncan’s office put it, “The new standards are about creating a national market for products that can be brought to scale.”

Bill Gates earned his billions by selling a small amount of stuff to practically EVERYONE.

It appears that inBloom has a very similar long-term business model.

It gets even worse. Read the Department of Education’s Report on “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century.” This report envisions hooking kids up to real-time monitors of their affective states and feeding THOSE into the database as well so that grit, tenacity, and perseverance can be measured continually.

This kind of thing goes WAY BEYOND Orwell’s Telescreens in 1984. The whole concept is sickening.

And Arne Duncan’s Department of Education is serving as the facilitator for the creation of this Orwellian Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth (Minitrue).

You have to give it to these guys for cooking up such a diabolical strategic plan. And almost no one seems, yet, to be hip to what this national data-gathering is really about over the long term. Such plans could be carried out only if people weren’t really paying attention. So far, that’s worked well for the, ahem, “reformers.” We have new NATIONAL “standards” even though most U.S. citizens have never heard of them and haven’t a clue what they are, what’s in them, who paid for them, who created them, what consequences they will have for curricula and pedagogy, and so on. All that new standards and testing stuff was done with NO national debate and with no vetting.

I’m sure that the inBloom folks were hoping for the same here. And the truly frightening thing is that their hopes might well be fulfilled.

Totalitarianism can come about through violent revolution. It can also come about because no one is paying attention.”