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Wed Mar 20, 2013, 05:33 PM

EPIC sues Dept of Ed for violating students' privacy rights. Database owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Last edited Wed Mar 20, 2013, 08:39 PM - Edit history (1)

This is the department run by Arne Duncan, President Obama's appointment as Secretary of Education. They just gave 12.5 million to a company owned by Murdoch which has formed a database to share students' private information with other companies.

This is all being done without the knowledge or permission of parents.

Lawsuit charges Ed Department with violating student privacy rights

The U.S. Education Department is being sued by a nonprofit organization for promoting regulations that are alleged to undercut student privacy and parental consent. The rules allow third parties, including private companies and foundations promoting school reform, to get access to private student information.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has been fighting for the department over 2011 regulations involving the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also known as FERPA, a law that is supposed to protect the privacy of student education records at all schools that receive federal education funds. FERPA was passed to give parents specific rights in regard to their children’s education records, rights which transfer to the student he/she becomes 18 or goes to a school beyond the high school level.

But in 2011, regulations issued by the department changed FERPA to allow the release to third parties of student information for non-academic purposes.
The rules also broaden the exceptions under which schools can release student records to non-governmental organizations without first obtaining written consent from parents. And they promote the public use of student IDs that enable access to private educational records, according to EPIC, a nonprofit public-interest center based in Washington D.C.


More:

The database has files of students from at least seven states that have agreed to participate so far and is allowing access to third parties. According to Simon, the infrastructure for the database was built by the for-profit Amplify Education, which is run by school reformer Joel Klein and owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.


Gates foundation financially contributed to the cost of the database.

Here is more about the should-be-disgraced Rupert Murdoch, and the money he received from our Department of Education...which gives him power as an education reformer.

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp get 12.5 mil contract from Ed Dept for more testing. Shameful.

One of the two consortia developing tests for the Common Core State Standards has awarded a $12.5 million contract to Amplify Insight to develop a digital library of formative assessment professional learning tools for educators.

Amplify Insight is a division of Amplify, an ed-tech company whose chief executive officer is Joel Klein, the former New York City schools chancellor. Amplify is the education arm of the media conglomerate News Corp., led by Rupert Murdoch. Last week, Amplify received a blast of media attention when it unveiled a new tablet device, loaded with classroom management tools and interactive lessons, at the South by Southwest education gathering.

This will be the second contract awarded to Amplify Insight by Smarter Balanced, with the first one being granted last year to what was then Wireless Generation, in partnership with ETS, to develop software to report and analyze results from the assessments.


More about the database:

K-12 student database jazzes tech startups, spooks parents

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.


"Entrepreneurs can't wait." Of course not. It turns students into even greater profit for businesses.

The reformers with Arne at the lead are turning public education into enterprises that bring profit financially. There is nothing in it for the children.

And one more thing. The parents may be shocked and alarmed and may disagree about having childrens' private stuff shared for profit.

But guess what! No one cares what they think. No one cares what the teachers think, what the parents think, what the students think. It is not something that bothers the minds of the billionaire reformers at all.

The powers that be ignored the protests during the run-up to the Iraq invasion. They simply tuned us out.

The powers that be are ignoring us when we fight back against cuts to the safety nets like Social Security and Medicare.

And they are paying no attention to the public school advocates. None at all.

It's what happens when both parties have the same agenda, when partisanship disappears.

They don't need to worry about what the people think because they realize there is nowhere else to turn.

Good for EPIC, I wish them luck. I hope they get some attention called to this outrageous attack on privacy.




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Reply EPIC sues Dept of Ed for violating students' privacy rights. Database owned by Rupert Murdoch. (Original post)
madfloridian Mar 2013 OP
madfloridian Mar 2013 #1
madfloridian Mar 2013 #2
woo me with science Mar 2013 #3
Octafish Mar 2013 #4
madfloridian Mar 2013 #5
liberal_at_heart Mar 2013 #6
proud2BlibKansan Mar 2013 #7
DonRedwood Mar 2013 #9
hay rick Mar 2013 #8
DonRedwood Mar 2013 #10
liberal_at_heart Mar 2013 #13
madfloridian Mar 2013 #34
LineNew Reply ^
Wilms Mar 2013 #11
reACTIONary Mar 2013 #12
madfloridian Mar 2013 #14
reACTIONary Mar 2013 #17
madfloridian Mar 2013 #27
reACTIONary Mar 2013 #37
reACTIONary Mar 2013 #39
madfloridian Mar 2013 #40
liberal_at_heart Mar 2013 #15
madfloridian Mar 2013 #16
reACTIONary Mar 2013 #19
madfloridian Mar 2013 #24
reACTIONary Mar 2013 #25
madfloridian Mar 2013 #26
reACTIONary Mar 2013 #38
reACTIONary Mar 2013 #18
reACTIONary Mar 2013 #20
forestpath Mar 2013 #21
Starry Messenger Mar 2013 #22
Initech Mar 2013 #23
Mojorabbit Mar 2013 #28
madfloridian Mar 2013 #29
Rex Mar 2013 #31
Rex Mar 2013 #30
KoKo Mar 2013 #32
madfloridian Mar 2013 #33
HiPointDem Mar 2013 #35
madfloridian Mar 2013 #36
Jefferson23 Mar 2013 #41

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 05:39 PM

1. TPTB don't care what we think or what is right.

They simply don't care. And we are not supposed to notice, and we are not supposed to criticize anything our party does.

If we do we are called disloyal.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 05:57 PM

2. What do parents here think about this privacy invasion?

Just curious.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:47 PM

3. Huge K&R,

and important summary at the end of the wider problem we face.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:48 PM

4. Gee. Aren't corporations pupils?

People who deregulate privacy on behalf of corporations are toadies to the richest people in the world.

That so-and-so Duncan is doing his best to lower the floor to where whale dung rests, familiar territory for Rupert and his whaleish chums.



Educational agencies can now “authorize” other
“representatives” such as unrelated government
departments and external contractors including test
developers and “research” groups. Parents and other
student advocates are concerned that these changes
may open up the possibility that student information
will be handed over to for-profit companies without
parent permission or knowledge.

SOURCE: pureparents.org



PDF: with an excellent one-page summary for sharing with people who still give a darn about public education:

http://pureparents.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Ferpa.pdf

Thank you for the heads-up, madfloridian. This is EPIC, seeing how the corporations now seem to have two parties of their own.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #4)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 07:05 PM

5. Ah, great link to PURE. It is scary stuff. Where's the outrage?

Oh, maybe we are just so tired of being outraged that we don't bother anymore. Come to think of it, that could be just what the masters need...for us to give up.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #5)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 07:08 PM

6. oh, I won't forget or give up.

I have enough outrage over what is going on with my child's education to last me a long time.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 07:10 PM

7. K & R

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 07:29 PM

9. +1

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 07:27 PM

8. Well said.

"It's what happens when both parties have the same agenda, when partisanship disappears.

They don't need to worry about what the people think because they realize there is nowhere else to turn. "

K&R.

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Response to hay rick (Reply #8)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 07:31 PM

10. As a teacher it does feel like both parties must be in on the destruction of public education.

I sure don't feel like Washington is propublic ed, that's for sure.

Just as the tea party wants to starve the govt. to destabilize it, it seems like both parties are doing the same thing to education.

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #10)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 08:57 PM

13. I agree with you about that.

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Response to DonRedwood (Reply #10)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 12:42 PM

34. Unfortunately they are.

Both parties that is.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 08:31 PM

11. ^

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 08:54 PM

12. I think the issue is being misrepresented. After reading the Ruters article....

...there doesn't seem to be any plans to RELEASE the data to private companies, just to release the database specification so that private companies can write software to help the schools. Teachers can then use the software to more effectively identify student trends, write lesson plans, etc.

This is a good idea. If a large number of schools are using the same database format then various "aps" can be written that "plug in" - like plug-ins on a browser or plug-ins to an email program. The cost of developing this software then becomes amortized over the large user base and becomes cheaper for the schools.

If this is all there is to it, I don't see what the big deal is. It isn't a privacy issue.

I support it 100%. Being able to help more students and to do so inexpensively is GOOD for our students, GOOD for our teachers, and GOOD for our country.

The downside of ANY technology program in education was expressed well by one consultant quoted in the article:

"The hype in the tech press is that education is an engineering problem that can be fixed by technology," said Frank Catalano of Intrinsic Strategy, a consulting firm focused on education and technology. "To my mind, that's a very naive and destructive view."


This may very well be true. But we have to try it to find out.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #12)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 08:59 PM

14. Of course it's a privacy issue.

"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.
"

There's nothing to discuss about it, it is a privacy issue. The parents should have the option of, first knowing about, and next, opting out.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #14)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:14 PM

17. I don't think this is an acurate characterization of "the database".

From my reading this is a "data base product", not a "centralized database" that resides on one massive server somewhere in Washington. What I gather is that each school sets up the database product for itself and then enters its own data into it.

If this is true, saying "the database holds files on millions of children" is like saying "The Excel spreadsheet program holds millions of financial files". Yep, there are Excel spreadsheets all over the world with all sorts of data, but they are all owned and operated by individual users and companies - not one massive spreadsheet somewhere.

Now, if I'm wrong, I would like to know what really is going on, but that is what I understand from reading the Rueters article.

There are many, many more millions of files on many, many, more millions of students all over the country - in all sorts of ad hoc data bases, spreadsheets, on paper in filing cabinets, note books that teachers keep. That's because schools keep records, they have to keep records, and they have been keeping records for hundreds of years. Doing so in a uniform and electronically assessable way seems like an improvement to me.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #17)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 12:22 AM

27. Read the part about sharing without letting parents know or opt out.

So I gather you don't think EPIC has a valid issue?

So what do you think about the issue you avoid? Rupert Murdoch getting money that public schools need desperately?

In our district student info is not to be shared without express permission of the parents. Why are you so accepting of that sharing by Rupert Murdoch and Bill Gates?

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #27)

Fri Mar 22, 2013, 08:28 PM

37. I think there are several valid issues...

Last edited Fri Mar 22, 2013, 09:07 PM - Edit history (2)

...and several reasonable opinions with respect to them.

One issue is the FERPA rule changes. The WaPo article mentions that the regulations were changed to allow sharing of information with non-academic government departments. It is also stated that student data can be shared by local officials with private companies and foundations if they are doing work for the school to achieve a public purpose.

This is certainly a valid issue. On the one hand, there is a concrete, specific reason for the change: allowing for "the effective use of data in statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS) as envisioned in the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act (COMPETES Act) and furthermore supported under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Improved access to data contained within an SLDS will facilitate States’ ability to evaluate education programs, to build upon what works and discard what does not, to increase accountability and transparency, and to contribute to a culture of innovation and continuous improvement in education."

On the other hand is the concern that information about specific students could be accidentally or maliciously released or pilfered. That is a real, perhaps small, possibility, and there is definitely a trade-off between the benefit from the use of the data to improve education for our children and the danger of accidental or malicious release.

This is a concern for any data system, educational or not. Credit scoring systems, government tax records, medical records, etc., etc. An opinion one way or the other in any specific case may be reasonable, and some folks are more risk averse than others. I happen to think the advantages of using this data for the betterment of our education system and our children out weighs the possibility that the data may be misused. I don't think the risk of that happening is all that great and I think the possibilities for improving our educational system are real.

Just my opinion.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #27)

Fri Mar 22, 2013, 09:04 PM

39. RE: Rupert Murdoch / Bill Gates

From my reading of the articles, Bill Gates did not get any money from this effort, he contributed money to it through the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. I think Gates, whatever his personal faults may be, has an extraordinary insight into the potential of science and technology for the betterment of human life, and does a good job putting his money to work solving tough problems and helping people.

Apparently this database was developed under a contract from the Department of Education. Any one can bid on a federal contract, including Rupert Murdoch, and whoever is the low bidder gets the job. Regardless of what you or I might think of them. That's the way it is, and that's the way it should be.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #39)

Fri Mar 22, 2013, 09:46 PM

40. I only imagine what UK politicians et al whose phones were hacked think of what we have done.

We are giving millions from the federal govt and millions from some states to the man to hacked their phones, and we are giving that company private info on students.

You can justify everything. That is the norm here at this forum now. Justify, justify, make excuses, defend the indefensible.

We are turning over large portions of our public schools to a man who is being brought to his knees overseas.

Instead of being ashamed, he simply starts trying to control things here. As if FOX didn't do enough harm in this country, now he is being given access to students' private info. He is getting millions in profit.

Excuse and justify. There you have it.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #12)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:02 PM

15. Why not spend this money to fully fund the schools; create small class sizes, hire teachers with

Masters in teaching, give teachers continuing education, have after school programs for struggling students, put more technology in the hands of students, or any number of things. I'm sure my children's school district would gladly take that money. Next year there will be $350,000 less to go around because of the sequestration.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #15)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:07 PM

16. Good idea.

Quit giving it to corporations, give resources back to the schools.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #16)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:18 PM

19. Money is not an educational resource until...

... it is used to purchase something that helps teachers and students. If corporations can help teachers be more effective and help students learn more, I support them.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #19)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:49 PM

24. Ooh...why not let educators in on the act?

Their motives and knowledge are directed toward students as people. The reformers have profit as a motive.

People are starting to defend this privatization of public schools because it is Obama's policy....well in fact it is Bush's policy bought to fruition by Obama.

We do ourselves no favor when we defend GOP policies done by Democrats.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #24)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 10:03 PM

25. What privatization???? I don't understand...

...what you mean by that. When a public school buys desks and chairs from a corporation they aren't being "privatized". When it buys software from a software vendor, it isn't being "privatized". Standardizing an educational data base product so that software developers have an open access mechanism for plugging into it (if that is what is going on here) isn't "privatizing" public education.

Maybe you could explain a bit more why you consider this to be "privatization".

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #25)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 11:22 PM

26. I have written much about it. You can do a search. OR a general google search.

May I suggest you search not just "news" or "web", but "blogs" as well.

There's a whole lot of stuff out there.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #26)

Fri Mar 22, 2013, 08:53 PM

38. What I was wondering about is more of a definitional question...

...as to what you consider to be "privatization."

It seems to me that in this case the Federal Government (which is not a private entity) bought a database for use by pubic schools (which are not private entities), from a for-profit, private company that specializes in developing educational technology.

I don't see how this is an example of "privatization". When a public entity buys goods and services from a commercial company, it does not become any less of a public entity. All government agencies and organizations buy products from private, for profit companies. They don't become "privatized" by doing so.

How do you figure that this specific case is an example of "privatization"?

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #15)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:15 PM

18. Why not do both? And, while you are at it...

...make it less expensive for the schools to take care of the admistrivia that they have to take care of somehow anyway.

Would seem like a win-win to me.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #15)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:22 PM

20. I like your "avatar", BTW. (NT)

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:23 PM

21. The Obama administration never met a corrupt corporation it didn't want to help make richer

 

no matter how much it violated the rest of us.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:26 PM

22. k&r

 

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:30 PM

23. Rupert Murdoch is quite possibly the single worst human being alive.

:grr;

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 12:22 AM

28. Scary stuff. I am really disappointed in Bill Gates.

All that money and he uses it for this.

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Response to Mojorabbit (Reply #28)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 01:06 AM

29. When he said teachers don't improve after 3 years....

I lost all confidence in his opinions. He wanted to get rid of tenure, so that was a convenient view to have.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #29)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 02:30 AM

31. Gates needs to go back to school

and get an administrators license and then try and actually WORK in a public school system. Until that time, I fear he is just another fool with money.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 02:27 AM

30. Dealing with a known criminal, how pathetic.

I guess we will do anything for money in this country.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 09:24 AM

32. Recommend...

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 11:25 AM

33. Murdoch hit by 600 new claims of phone hacking, yet we trust him with our students' privacy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/mar/15/phone-hacking-murdoch-news-world

"Detectives are examining an estimated 600 fresh allegations of phone-hacking incidents at Rupert Murdoch's now closed News of the World on the back of fresh evidence obtained by the Metropolitan police from a suspect turned supergrass.

Further details are expected to emerge on Monday morning at the high court during a hearing relating to the existing litigation by hacking victims against Murdoch's News International (NI) – hours before MPs are due to vote on joint Labour and Liberal Democrat amendments that would introduce a backstop law to stiffen regulation of the press.

Sources say Scotland Yard detectives believe they can identify as many as 600 new incidents after obtaining the phone records of an insider who is now being lined up as a crown witness. As a result of the new information, the force's Operation Weeting is revisitng the timetable for concluding its investigation, which had been due to be completed with the conclusion of trials this year. Police now expect their work to continue into 2015."

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 01:41 PM

35. we know how much murdoch respects privacy.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #35)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 03:04 PM

36. Giving him access to private student info...stunning.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 22, 2013, 09:52 PM

41. The undoing of public education wasn't enough, they need to eliminate privacy too.

This is scary business.

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