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Class Size Matters' inBloom, Inc timeline

Class Size Matters' inBloom, Inc timeline

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Published by CSM
Timeline explaining the origin and progress of the Shared Learning Collaborative, LLC into inBloom, Inc.
Timeline explaining the origin and progress of the Shared Learning Collaborative, LLC into inBloom, Inc.

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Published by: CSM on Apr 01, 2013
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 Timeline on the plan of nine states and the Gates Foundation to collect and discloseconfidential student data to vendors without parental notification or consent
Summary:
 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.
Timeline;
 May 5, 2011: the NY State Education Department sends a letter to the State Comptroller Di Napoli, asking him to approve a $27 million no-bid contract with Wireless Generation, to build
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
 and
“overseeing 
.
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
he “vendor”
chosen
to “build the open
software that will allow states to access a shared, performance-driven marketplace
of free andpremium tools and content.
 
2
 Aug 25, 2011: NY State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli writes a letter to NYS EducationDepartment, informing them that he is rejecting their contract with Wireless: "
in light of thesignificant ongoing investigations and continuing revelations with respect to News Corporation,we are returning the contract with Wireless Generation unapproved." 
 December 2011: the NY Board of Regents approves
NYSED’s
plan to share student andteacher data with a new LLC, to be funded by the Gates Foundation called the Shared LearningCollaborative LLC,as reported in an article the Wall St Journal.The Gates Foundation has awarded $76.5 millionto this LLC, to be spent over seven months, with $44 million of this funding going to Wireless Generation, to design and operate the system, though according toone Regent, they were not told of the involvement of Wireless before their vote.Here is an excerpt from a 
 about this project:
The Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) is building a set of shared technology services that will make it easier for a wide range of content developers and publishers, regardless of locationor size, to reach educators
…. The Shared Learning Collaborative will offer e
ducational  publishers and content creators an opportunity to expand their customer base and differentiatetheir offerings in the marketplace.
Jan 2012- October 2012: Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters repeatedly asks SED throughthe Regents for their contract with the Gates Foundation; none is provided. Yet it is clear fromGates website that the project is going ahead rapidly.October 14, 2012: CSM, along with other parent leaders and attorney Norman Siegel holdpress conference in NYC, releasing a letter to NYSED demanding that it reveal its contract, hold
public hearings, and require parental consent before sharing any student’s personally
identifiable information [PII].Later that day, SED finally releases its contract w/ Gates Foundation to the press. It confirms our fears that parental consent is not going to be required; in addition, it appears that there will
be only minimal protections from “data leakage” and the Gates Foundation has
written thecontract to shield itself from most any financial and legal liability if this occurs.October 20, 2012: Leonie Haimson and Justin Wedes attend
 in NYC. We meet with Sharren Bates, who formerly headed upthe ARIS project for DOE and is now running the SLC for Gates. Bates makes it clear that theydo not recognize the right of parents to consent before data will be shared with 3
rd
parties, andthat this data will include names, test scores, grades, disciplinary and attendance records,special education status and IEPs, etc.October 24, 2012: SED attorney Richard Trautwein replies to our letter ,and denies that parents have
the right to consent before their children’s confidential data is shared with Gates or other 
third party vendors
, because this sharing is being done to “improve instruction”
. He also claimsthat the public is already aware of this plan and no hearings or further disclosures arenecessary.The same day, we post an online petition to the Governor, Attorney General, SED, Regents and Gates Foundation, asking that all data sharing of personally identifiable information be halteduntil parents are alerted and receive the right to consent. The petition receives more than 2600signatures and generates thousands of emails to the Gates Foundation.
 
3
October 26, 2012: Stacey Childress who runs this project for the Gates Foundation, writes onthe SLC blog 
that “…
Under federal law, school districts must manage and honor parentrequests to opt out of programs that require the use of student data
.”
 November 2012: Gates Foundation 
 to to bespent on DOE
’s “integration of Common Core implementation strategies with new forms
of teacher professional development
to align with emerging functionalities and capacity of Shared Learning Infrastructure
” (
which is how they describe the SLC.)November 26, 2012: Gates Foundation announces that Iwan Streichenberger  will be CEO of  the new corporation to replace the SLC; formerly marketing director of  Promethean,which sells whiteboards. The new corporation is to take over this massive
“data store” along with all the
confidential student and teacher data. The corporation will also be 
without philanthropic support by 2016, implying that states, districts and/or vendors will have topay for its considerable cost and maintenance in future years.December 5, 2012: Our attorneys reply to SED in a letter ,pointing out how their contract and letter only reconfirms our fears that this project will violate student privacy rights; we againdemand that they disclose their plans to parents and offer them the right to consent.December 12, 2012: The Gates Foundation backtracks on their statement that districts musthonor parent requests to opt out, and instead write in their newly posted Security and PrivacyPolicy the following disclaimer:
Policies Re Parent Rights to Approve Disclosures of PII to Third Party Application Providers.School District and State Educational Agency Customers are responsible, as appropriate, for determining and notifying parents of policies regarding the extent to which parents (or students18 and over) are given advance notice of, and the opportunity to decline, the provision of PII for their children (or themselves) to a Third Party Application Provider that uses the PII to provideeducational services to schools or students. Each School District and State Educational Agency shall be responsible for handling any complaints from parents (or students 18 and over)regarding the disclosure of their student information to a Third Party Application Provider.
December 20, 2012: We meet
with De’ Shawn Wright, the
NY
Governor’s Deputy. Sec. of 
Education to discuss with him our concerns. He says he will ask SED to meet with us to hear our concerns and answer questions. Later, he says that he will submit our 16 questions to SEDfor their response within five days.January 22, 2013: Louisiana education activists, including Lee Barrios, file a Freedom of Information request to the State Commissioner & Board of Ed, asking for the contract and allcommunications with the Gates Foundation or SLC concerning this plan.January 28, 2013: Sen. Liz Krueger writes a letter to NYS Commissioner King,objecting to this plan.February 6, 2013: The launch of InBloom Inc. the corporate spin off of the SLC. In its privacypolicy it states:
inBloom, Inc. cannot guarantee the security of the information stored in inBloomor that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted 
.”
The company isheaded by Streichenberger and the CPO is Sharren Bates, formerly of the Gates Foundationand the head of the ARIS project for DOE.

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