Next time you hear someone moaning about public school teachers or the education system in general, take a minute to ponder who exactly is behind those words and what they might have to gain from them.
Because when we have huge media giants in charge of our TV news and our newspapers, our online information, and our publishing companies, and those same moguls have a fist in the education money pot, it’s safe to say they are not unbiased. Quite the contrary.
Murdoch, Gates, Fox News, Pearson Publishing … these are not reliable sources of information about education.
“Here is the key issue. These companies see success in terms of dollars and profit, not academic success and achievement. Education start-ups fail all the time, including ones backed by the giants like Pearson. Once investors start to see diminishing returns or trouble on the horizon they will pull the plug regardless of how well students may be performing with their product. Vetting new teaching methods for success takes years of research, observation and review. ” Source
Who is saying this?
Why would they say it?
Are they qualified to speak on this issue?
Do they have anything to gain?
I recently wrote about Bill Gates’ and Rupert Murdoch’s companies collecting huge rafts of student data, querying first of all why they want the data, second, what are they doing with it, and third, why is it being handed over without parental (or student) consent?
In fact it’s handed over even when permission is expressly denied by parents…
Then I see this:
and I note that Bill Gates has been fond of handing over people’s data willy nilly for a long time. In fact he was the first, in 2007, to sign up to PRISM and allow the US government access to all data passing through Microsoft systems.
That’s your emails, your files, by the way.
Orwell did warn us.
As Winston said:
they will never rebel,
and until after they have rebelled
they cannot become conscious.
Is it time to wake up yet?
“Every parent, student, and teacher in the country is concerned about the influence of corporate vendors on education policy. What is represented as an extreme movement by our Education Secretary can be more accurately described as a consumer revolt against shoddy products produced by an education vendor biopoly (Pearson and McGraw Hill). Because these two vendors have redefined the education marketplace to meet the requirements of RTTT, they both need to be required to write competitive impact statements for the Anti-Trust Division of the Department of Justice.”
Gates and Murdoch like to say their interest in education is because their big hearts mean they really must help the poor wee kiddies learn better.
Funny how they weren’t so interested until profit could be made, but hey, I’m just a bit cynical these days.
And it’s no wonder I am when you learn about things like this…
Gates and Murdoch have managed to wangle access to a huge field of very personal and incredibly detailed data from whole US school districts for every single child.
Crimminy, that’s a whole lot of information they have about these kids.
Would you be happy to know the school district was handing over information about your child to a private company?
Name, address, all qualifications, how, where and when you were educated and by whom. Yes, your teachers, teacher aides, home tutor, teacher assistant, family member that taught you, all listed.
Attendance? Yes, all logged, including the category of ‘tardy’. This is from first grade, as if a child that age is in charge of what time they reach school.
Had some trouble in school? Whether it’s a violation or a breach of the school’s code of conduct, it’s there, including close detail about where it occurred. Also a detailed record of any weapon type. That’s just plain spooky. Why does a private company need to know that? The police and the school, yes. Parents and carers, yes. inBloom? Not so much.
Your child has a disability? Excellent, we’ll have that information too, thank you very much, and here are the inBloom categories:
You want to opt out? You want to keep your information private? Tough bananas. As one parent said:
“I have emailed and called [State Commissioner] John King’s office over 40 times the past month refusing to consent to allow the DOE to transfer my children’s personal information into inBloom to be bought and sold around the world…” He was told there was no option to opt out. None. Your data, but not your choice.
Another concern is that the data is held in the cloud and its security cannot be guaranteed, but there’s nothing these parents can do about that, either.
It seems that the data is not yours even when it about you or your child.
Your child has been filed, stamped and indexed. Your child is a number.
So, why would a private company be mining this data?
This is not the education system or health system or even the police collecting all of this information. This is a business.
Just think about that for a minute.
They have your address, your email, sex, language, everything.
Great for targeted marketing, don’t you reckon. Students are such great potential consumers.
As Diane Ravitch said “If anyone thinks for one New York minute that the purpose of creating this database is simply for the good of teachers and students then that person is credulous in the extreme.”
What about Aotearoa?
Well, from this year all Kiwi kids will have a National Student Number from the day they enter into education, and students cannot be opted out.
The Ministry of Education’s website says that “The National Student Number (NSN) is a unique identifier that can be used by authorised users for the following approved purposes:
It goes on to say that all other uses are prohibited, as if that should make us feel safe. But since Gates and Murdoch use their systems as a way to collect student statistics and do (dodgy?) research, that’s hardly reassuring, is it?
The web site also tells us that the NSN “facilitates the collection and management of core identity information about a student in a central location” and that “[a]dditional authorised users can be added by regulation”.
So here’s the big question: Are we being lined up for a bit of Gates’ and Murdoch’s data mining jiggery pokery, too?
One to keep a very close eye on,