Archives for category: Privacy

The Network for Public Education is fortunate to have the leadership and energy of Marla Kilfoyle, former national director of BATS.

She has developed connections with dozens of organizations fighting to protect and improve public schools.

Read her latest report here.

The report includes a call to action to protect student privacy. The deadline for taking action is December 8. Please open the link and join thousands of allies in speaking out against unwanted invasion of student privacy.

The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 145 grassroots organizations nationwide who have joined together to preserve, promote, improve, and strengthen our public schools. If you know of a group that would like to join this powerful network, please go here to sign on. 

If you have any questions about the NPE Grassroots Education Network please contact Marla Kilfoyle, NPE Grassroots Education Network Liaison at marlakilfoyle@networkforpubliceducation.org

Notes from Marla

CALL TO ACTION FOR ALL ORGANIZATIONS!

Dear NPE Grassroots Education Network – this is a specific call to action that needs to be completed BEFORE December 8th.  The Network for Public Education is sending a letter to the FTC as part of a formal public comment process in which the Commission has asked for input about the potential change in the regulations for COPPA, the Children’s Online Protection Act, originally passed by Congress in 1998. 

 We are urging the FTC NOT to weaken this important privacy law through regulation, as the law wisely provides for parent consent before the online collection of personal data directly from children younger than 13.  Instead, the FTC appears intent on allowing schools and/or teachers to consent on the part of parents when collecting student personal data directly from children. 

 Please read our (brief) letter and if you would like to sign it on behalf of your organization, please enter your contact info and that of your organization on this google form.

 The deadline for signing onto our letter is Dec. 8, as all comments are due to be submitted to the FTC no later than Dec. 9.  You are also encouraged to add your own comments online. You can do so at this link

 For more background on this issue, you can check out the blog post and comments submitted by the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy.

There is also pertinent information about how you can register for the national conference of the Network for Public Education Action in Philadelphia  in 2020.

You will enjoy meeting your friends and allies there.

Registration is open for the NPE Action 6th National Conference to be held in Philadelphia, March 28-29. Seats are limited this year to 500, so DO NOT delay your registration. Go hereto register and book your hotel! Please do not delay, reserve your seat today!  

And there is much, much more from our allies across the nation:

Public Schools Week will be held from February 24th-28th. Start planning NOW by doing the following:

  • Begin to ask your Governor, state and federal lawmakers, Mayor, City Council, or Board of Education to adopt a resolution in support of Public Education. Begin to do this now. You can adopt, edit, or modify this resolution from The School Superintendents Association. If you get a resolution please send it to Marla Kilfoyle at marlakilfoyle@networkforpubliceducation.org and we will forward it along.
  • National organizations please cut a three-minute video that encourages your members to participate in Public Schools Week. Here are the instructions for the video. To see sample videos please go here.  
  • Please share and ask your members to take the pledge in support of Public Schools week. You can do that here.
  • Please consider hosting an event. Starting planning NOW and register your event here  
  • To learn more about Public Schools Week, messaging for 2020 and the #PublicSchoolProud campaign please go here and the toolkit has all kinds of amazing things you can do to support the week on social media.

Audrey Watters is one of the leading voices among those who are concerned about student privacy.

In this post, she notes the growing attention to surveillance of children but observes that some parents are purchasing devices that facilitate surveillance.

Do you want your child to be surveilled by unknown persons and corporations?

The surveillance state is bearing down on us, our children, our grandchildren, all of us.

Audrey Watters is watching.

There is money in this business.

Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters and co-founder of the national Parent Coalition for Student Privacy (and a member of the board of the Network for Public Education) writes here about the threat to student privacy in New York.

The New York Board of Regents is currently considering whether to approve a radical weakening of the state student privacy law, which would allow the College Board, the ACT and other companies that contract with schools or districts to administer tests to use the personal student information they collect for marketing purposes — even though the original New York law that was passed in 2014 explicitly barred the sale or commercial use of this data.

Starting in 2014, many states, including New York, approved legislation to strengthen the protection of student privacy, because of a growing realization on the part of parents that their children’s personal data was being shared by schools and districts with a wide variety of private companies and organizations without their knowledge or consent. The U.S. Department of Education had weakened the federal student privacy law known as FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) twice over the past decade, rewriting the regulations during the Bush and Obama administrations to allow for nonconsensual disclosures for different purposes.

At that time, few parents knew that federal law had been altered to allow their children’s information from being passed into private hands. Then controversy erupted over the plans of nine states and districts to share personal student data with a comprehensive databank called inBloom, developed with more than $100 million of funding from the Gates Foundation.

InBloom Inc. was designed to collect a wide variety of personal student data and share it with for-profit vendors to accelerate the development and marketing of the education technology industry to facilitate the adoption of online instruction and assessment. As a result of widespread parental activism and concerns, all nine states and districts that had originally intended to participate in the inBloom data-sharing plan pulled out, and 99 new state student privacy laws were passed across the country between 2014 and 2018.

New York was one of the first to pass a new student privacy law. In March 2014, the state legislature approved Education Laws §2-c and §2-d, which among other things, prohibited the state from sharing student data with inBloom or another comprehensive databank, and also regulated the way schools and vendors must secure student data, including imposing a complete ban on the sale of personal student information or its use for marketing purposes….

Yet to the frustration of many parents and privacy advocates, it would be nearly five years before New York State Education Department drafted any regulations to implement its 2014 student privacy law. In October 2018, the Education Department finally released proposed regulations for public comment. In March 2018, the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, along with the statewide coalition New York State Allies for Public Education, submitted recommendations on how to strengthen and clarify those regulations, as did more than 240 parents and privacy advocates.

Yet after the initial period of public comment had ended, instead of strengthening the regulations, the state Education Department gutted them, and now proposed allowing student data to be used for commercial purposes as long as there was parental “consent” — a huge loophole that would create the opportunity for districts, schools and vendors to misuse this data in myriad ways.

Do you think it is okay to sell students’ personal data to marketers and vendors?

 

Leonie Haimson has watched the development of CZI’s Summit Learning, a tech-based platform. She is a leader of Student Privacy Matters and the Parents’ Coalition for Student Privacy.

Here are recommended readings:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2018/12/20/why-parents-students-are-protesting-an-online-learning-program-backed-by-mark-zuckerberg-facebook/
https://www.studentprivacymatters.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Summit-fact-sheet-4.22.19-1.pdf
https://dianeravitch.net/2018/11/15/nellie-bowles-in-americas-schools-the-rich-get-teachers-the-poor-get-computers/
Any questions, write info@studentprivacymatters.org

 

The U.S. Department of Education criticized Eva Moskowitz for releasing the private disciplinary record of a student whose mother repeatedly criticized the school. This comes soon after the ED awarded Success Academy $10 Million to expand.

 

Leonie Haimson, advocate for student privacy,  comments:

This press release is also posted here.

 

For immediate release: June 4, 2019

For more information contact Leonie Haimson, leoniehaimson@gmail.com; 917-435-9329.

 

 

US Department of Education finds Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy repeatedly violated a child’s privacy according to FERPA

 

On Monday, June 2, 2019, Fatima Geidi finally received a response to a FERPA complaint she filed more than three and half years ago with the US Department of Education. The Student Privacy Policy Office of the Department of Education found that her FERPA complaint against Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy charter schools was justified and that they had indeed repeatedly violated her son’s privacy rights.  The official findings letter to Ms. Moskowitz, dated May 31, 2019, is here.

 

On October 31, 2015, Ms. Geidi filed a complaint detailing how Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy charter schools, had revealed details of her son’s disciplinary records to the media and on her website.  Ms. Moskowitz made these disclosures in order to retaliate against Ms. Geidi and her son after they had appeared on the PBS News Hour to report how he had been repeatedly suspended at one of her schools.  Her original FERPA complaint is posted here.

 

Yet the US Department of Education waited more than two years to even launch an investigation into her complaint.  In the meantime, Ms. Moskowitz included many of the same exaggerated charges against Ms. Geidi’s son on several pages of her memoir, The Education of Eva Moskowitz, that was published in September 2017.   When Ms. Geidi noticed these passages in a bookstore, she filed a second FERPA complaint on December 20, 2017.

 

Last week, the US Department of Education refused to accept the weak rationalizations offered by the Success Academy legal staff about these disclosures and found that in both cases, they were flagrant violations of FERPA.

 

Yet in order to address these violations, Frank Miller, Deputy Director of the Student Privacy Policy Office, wrote that Success Academy must merely ensure that  “school officials have or will receive training on the requirements of FERPA as they relate to the issues in this complaint.”  He refrained from imposing any penalties or demanding that the offending passages be deleted from Eva Moskowitz’ book – a book  that is still for sale on Amazon and in bookstores all across the United States.

 

As Fatima Geidi said, “While I am glad that the US Department of Education agreed that Ms. Moskowitz and Success Academy repeatedly violated my child’s privacy by disclosing trumped-up details of his education records to the media, on the Success website and in her book, I am furious that they failed to fine her, or at the very least, demand that she take the offending passages out of her book. Because the Department of Education waited over two years to respond to my initial FERPA complaint,  Eva Moskowitz illegally put the same information (false by the way) about my child in a book where it may remain forever.  This is unacceptable, and I demand that the illegal passages from the book be deleted.”

 

Leonie Haimson, co-chair of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, said, “Ms. Moskowitz and Success Academy have repeatedly violated FERPA in order to retaliate against parents who dare reveal how she abuses children and pushes them out of her charter schools.  These illegal disclosures happened again just last month, in the case of Lisa Vasquez and her daughter, as reported in a Chalkbeat article.  On May 9, 2019, Ms. Vasquez filed a FERPA complaint with the US Department of Education and the NY State Education Chief Privacy Officer.   Her FERPA complaint is posted on our blog, where we point to other privacy violations by Success charter schools. Simply asking for Success staff to receive privacy training  will likely prove no real deterrence to Eva Moskowitz.  Instead she and her staff will likely continue to flagrantly violate their students’ privacy with impunity in the future.” 

 

The  US Department of Education has provided more than $37 million in discretionary grants to Success Academy since 2010, including nearly $10 million awarded in April 2019.  Its officials should be required to explain why they chose not to withhold any federal funds from her schools, and worse, will allow the offending passages in Ms. Moskowitz’ book to remain in perpetuity. The unacceptable delay of more than three and a half years in responding to Ms. Geidi’s initial complaint and the lack of an meaningful response by the Department provides further evidence as to why parents should be able to sue for damages under FERPA when their children’s right to privacy has been violated.

 

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For years, the charter industry in New York has boasted about its superiority compared to public schools and claimed that there were long waiting lists of students clamoring for admission to charter schools. We now know that there never was a waiting list. The charters were given access to the names and addresses of public school students so they could bombard them with marketing materials in search of new students. Even Success Academy,  the biggest boaster of all the charters, relied on the harvesting of public school lists to recruit new students.

Tomorrow, parents in New York City will Rally to urge Mayor DeBlasio to stop the practice of sharing their children’s data with the charters.

 

Dear Diane,

We need YOU tomorrow at a very important press conference in New York City. Below is an important message from NYC Kids Pac.

___________________________________________________

Please come to a press conference this Monday at 1 PM at Tweed to demand that the Mayor stop providing charter schools access to student personal information to help them market their schools. This not only violates our children’s privacy, but by assisting charters to recruit students, this cannibalizes public schools by encouraging charters to absorb an ever-increasing amount of funding, students and space.

Please come and show your support! Don’t let the Mayor fail to act because of threats from the charter lobby – while he continues to brush aside parent voices, violate student privacy and undermine our public schools.

See press advisory with more details below; please share this message with other parents, friends and colleagues.

Hope to see you there,

Naila, Isaac, Fatima, Celia, Leonie, Eduardo, Margaret, Andy, Brooke, Karen, Shino and Tesa

What: Press conference to oppose the Mayor’s practice of sharing personal student information with charter schools

Who: NYC public school parents and parent leaders

When: Monday April 15, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Where: The steps of the Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers Street, downtown Manhattan

Why:   NYC public school parents and parent leaders demand that the Mayor cease the practice of allowing charter schools access to student personal information. In response to long-standing parent complaints, Chancellor Carranza has repeatedly promised parents in recent weeks, both publicly and privately, that this practice will be discontinued, but the Mayor has yet to make a commitment to do so and in the last few days has said no decision has yet been made.  

NYC is the only district in the country which voluntarily shares this information to help them charters expand their market share. Parents have long complained that this violates their children’s privacy, and this was the subject of a FERPA student privacy complaint to the US Department of Education in November 2017. Moreover, by allowing access to this information, the DOE has encouraged the rapid expansion of charter schools, which are now costing our public schools more than $2.1 billion per year. As a result, our public schools have less space and fewer resources to educate our neediest students.

While in the past, the DOE has suggested that public schools improve their “marketing”  to compete, they do not have the necessary funds to do so and in any case, most parents do not believe that the public schools  should be forced to divert what precious resources they have for this purpose.

Co-sponsored by NYC Kids PAC and the Education Council Consortium (ECC), made up of elected and appointed Community Education and Citywide Council members, established to address issues that affect schools and communities throughout all five boroughs.  

Thanks for all you do,

Carol Burris

Donations to NPE Action (a 501(c)(4)) are not tax deductible, but they are needed to lobby and educate the public about the issues and candidates we support.
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When Joel Klein was chancellor of the NYC schools in 2006, he agreed to give the charter industry access to the names and addresses of public school students at the urging of his good friend Eva Moskowitz, who wanted to give the appearance of high demand for her schools. To this day, NYC is the only city that voluntarily turns over the names and addresses of its students to charters, which are the competition. In what other realm does one competitor give his “customer” list to his competitor, who will try to poach them and their funding too? Thanks to Arthur Camins, who made this point earlier in the comments.

After years of complaints by public school parents whose mailboxes were stuffed with charter propaganda and who objected to the breach of their children’s privacy, DeBlasio told several parent leaders that he would stop this practice.

The charter association got word of what was about to happen, and it held a press conference this morning, claiming it was “unfair” to stop the practice of turning over this information to them. Apparently, DeBlasio wimped out to placate the charter industry. Shameful.

Activist Leonie Haimson wrote about this confrontation before the news broke that the mayor had been intimidated by the charter industry.

It is unacceptable that this practice has gone on as long as it has.  It is also unfortunate that neither the Mayor nor the Chancellor have made an announcement and instead the charter schools were informed first before any parents. See the information about a call from charter school supporters below reprinted in Diane’s blog.

As Shino wrote, parents and advocates have long complained about the privacy violations from DOE allowing charters to access this information for recruiting purposes; see Johanna Garcia’s FERPA complaint that she filed in Nov. 2017.

Moreover, there is not another district in the country that makes this information available to charter schools to help them divert students and funds from their public schools. 

In Chicago, after student information was disclosed to Noble charter schools without parent consent, resulting in parents receiving postcards urging them to enroll their children in their schools, this sparked a huge controversy and led to an investigation by the Inspector General.  As a result, the Chicago staffer who released the information to Noble was fired and the district apologized to parents in mailings paid for by Noble.  And this occurred in a city where the Mayor controls the schools and is charter-friendly..

Right now, Nashville school district is defying a state lawrequiring districts to make this information available to charter schools and is in court, appealing a court order.  NY State has no such law of course, and in fact its student privacy law Education 2D bars the use of student data for marketing purposes.

 

 

 

Charters in New York City are angry that the DeBlasio administration intends to stop sharing the names and addresses of public school students, which the charters need for marketing and recruitment.

The Mayor is responding to complaints by public school parents, who object to the city sharing their children’s personal information with the charters.

Wait! What happened to those long waiting lists?

The charters, which enroll about 10% of the city’s children, will have a news conference today to express their indignation.

 

CHARTER LEADERS AND PARENTS TO DENOUNCE DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION’S PLAN TO BLOCK CHARTERS FROM SENDING INFORMATION TO FAMILIES ABOUT SCHOOL OPTIONS

 

(NEW YORK) – Tomorrow, April 11, at 11:00 AM, New York City Charter School Center CEO James Merriman will be joined by charter leaders and parents to speak out against a proposed measure to undercut educational transparency and school choice. The Department of Education (DOE) has indicated its intent to reverse a policy that allows charter schools to utilize DOE services, through a third-party vendor called Vanguard, to send mailings to prospective parents in their neighborhoods. The policy change would fundamentally undercut charter schools’ ability to let parents know about all the education options in their neighborhood, making it harder to receive applications.

 

WHAT:            Press conference call with charter school leaders and parents speak out on changes to way charter schools inform families of their school options.

 

WHO:              James Merriman, NYC Charter School Center CEO

Arthur Samuels, Executive Director, MESA Charter School

Mitchell Flax, Founder & Head of School, Valence College Prep

Parents of charter school students

 

WHEN:            Tomorrow, April 11, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.

 

Call- in Number:  Please email Abdul Sada at asada@skdknick.com to receive call-in information.

 

China is perfecting a system of digitized observation that will track every person every day and monitor every movement they make. Citizens will get “social credit” for good behavior and preferential treatment.

There is no dark corner in which to hide.

This is frightening.

The system is supposed to be ready by 2020.

The death of privacy.

You better be good because they are always watching.