Yup, it is a fact. Big data is here and it is going to tell us everything anyone wants to know about your children or your students.

Actually, Big Data presents itself as a way to “help” students and teachers, but in fact will be a cool way for entrepreneurs to develop apps, sell student data, and make money.

Over the past decade, schools have started using cloud storage or begun sending more data to state education departments for collection and analysis. The amount of data collected is expected to swell as more schools use apps and tablets that can collect information down to individual keystrokes, or even how long a student holds a mouse pointer above a certain answer.

Innovative education projects include Teach to One, a program run by New York City-based New Classrooms Innovation Partners. The company works with schools in Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C., to track whether students have mastered math concepts. Through its software, students are given personalized quizzes and lessons that target their weaknesses. Students take classes in a few different settings—in a classroom with a live teacher, with a one-on-one tutor online or even through computer lessons—and the software aims to figure out which setting works best for them.

On a larger scale, Renaissance Learning, a testing and student-data company that recently was sold to a private-equity firm for $1.1 billion, has data on 10.7 million students across the country, who regularly take quizzes through the company’s portal. Chief Executive Jack Lynch says he believes soon it will be possible for the country to drill down to find out which states or districts are doing best at setting up their curricula or teaching fractions.

Some firms want to track students through their entire academic careers. ACT Inc., the company behind the ACT test, the competitor to the SAT exam, in April will launch a system to track students from third through 10th grades in English, math and science. ACT says the series of tests will help make sure students are ready to go to college and work. Another ACT product could help steer students toward careers that fit their skills.

Among their efforts to stave off privacy concerns, education-data companies are hiring chief privacy officers, testifying before state legislatures and reshaping their messages to emphasize their data security. State lawmakers are considering passing bills to rein in access to student data or allow parents to opt out of data collection.

Protests about data privacy have partly derailed one ambitious project, inBloom, a nonprofit with $100 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the nonprofit Carnegie Corporation of New York. InBloom wants to link education-tech companies with school districts—serving as a type of middleman for student data. Its system gives schools the option of uploading hundreds of characteristics about students, including disabilities such as autism or vision problems. Five states initially said they would work with inBloom. That number is down to three: New York, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Actually, Massachusetts has pulled out of inBloom and it is not clear whether any Illinois districts are participating in it.

The most peculiar quote in the article comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s privacy officer. One would expect that she would fiercely defend the privacy of students. But this is what she says:

Kathleen Styles, the U.S. Department of Education’s first chief privacy officer, says the biggest issue she has seen is schools don’t have rules or policies on how much data to collect, how long to keep it and who has access to it.

“The only way to make data totally safe is to not ever use it or keep it,” she says. “That’s just not an option.”

Why is it not an option to leave student data with the school? Why create a permanent record that will follow a young person throughout his or her life? Why does the federal government want to encourage data mining of student records? Why is the “chief privacy officer” not fighting for student privacy from data mining by vendors, hackers, and snoops?