Timeline on the plan of nine states and the Gates Foundation to collect and discloseconfidential student data to vendors without parental notification or consent
The Gates Foundation formed a private LLC called the Shared Learning Collaborative, whichhas now spun off into a separate corporation called inBloom Inc. This corporation is designedto collect confidential student and teacher data provided to them by states and districtsthroughout the country, to be shared with software vendors and other commercial educationventures, to help them develop and market their products. NYS, along with school districts infive other states, Illinois, Colorado, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, agreed to participate inPhase one which has already begun; three more states, Louisiana, Delaware, Georgia, andKentucky, will be joining imminently. Louisiana later moves from phase two into phase one.There are serious questions about the legality and ethical nature of this project. The US Dept. of Education recently rewrote the regulations for FERPA, or the Family Educational Rights andPrivacy Act, to allow more liberal sharing of student data; to go into effect in January of 2012. Inresponse, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a lawsuit claiming that thenew regulations violate the law. The plan to share personally identifiable & highly confidentialstudent data in such an unrestricted manner, in an open-ended timeframe, without parentalnotification or consent, is unprecedented in US history, and would violate both FTC and HIPAAprotections if they had authority over student records.
the state’s student and teacher data system, required under Race to the Top. Wireless Gen builtNYC’s data system, ARIS.
June 8, 2011: Daily News breaks the storyof this proposed contract. Controversy ensues,
primarily as a result of conflict of interest concerns. Six months before, Wireless Generation hadbeen bought by Ru
pert Murdoch’s News Corporation,
just days after Joel Klein announced hewould resign from DOE to work at the company, heading up its ne
w “educational” online division
July 2011: News Corp is engulfed in a huge scandal,including allegations that its UK
newspapers engaged in phone hacking. Several advocacy groups, including Class SizeMatters, the Working Families Party, and Think Progress, posted online petitions that garneredthousands of signatures, urging the Comptroller to veto the Wireless contract. Several NY statelegislators also write letters to the State Comptroller in opposition to the awarding of thecontract. August 3, 2011: Vicki Phillips of the Gates Foundation announces the creation of an "amazing"
new software program that like a "huge app store … with the Netflix and Facebook capabilities
we love the most." She reveals that Wireless Gen is t
to “build the open
software that will allow states to access a shared, performance-driven marketplace
of free andpremium tools and content.