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data mining

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Just how shady can this Pearson story get? Very, apparently.

What we know so far:

Pearson monitors students’ and others’ social media for mention of Pearson, its tests, etc.

It then finds a student has Tweeted about a PARCC test they had just completed.

The Tweet didn’t have a photo of the test.

The student had not signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

Pearson work out what school the student goes to.

In a twist of irony, '1984' is published by a subsidiary of Pearson.

In a twist of irony, ‘1984’ is published by a subsidiary of Pearson.

Pearson alert the education department about the ‘priority 1 item breach’, asking it to be dealt with.

The education department contact the testing coordinator at the student’s school.

The information passed on says the Tweet was done during the test and had a photo attached: It did not.

The student was contacted and deleted the Tweet.

The student’s parent was talked to.

The parent was very concerned to find their child’s social media had been monitored this way.

Bob Braun wrote a piece about the affair.

Bob’s blog suffers a Denial of Service (DoS) attack by unknown hacktivist/s.

People discuss Pearson’s use of Tracx to “monitor and listen” to what people are saying about them on social media.

Tracx gets their Pearson page taken down.

Pearson put out a press release saying they behaved perfectly responsibly….

Hmmm…..

~ Dianne

Sources and further reading:

Pearson Snooping on school students’ social media? 

Bob Braun’s Ledger – Breaking: Pearson NJ spying on social media of students taking PARCC tests

Tracx and Pearson (This is a cached copy, in case it’s still down)

Pearson’s statement

Bob Braun on Twitter

Bob Braun on Facebook

Washington Post: Pearson monitoring social media for security breaches during PARCC testing
 

 

 

KIWI PARENTS OPTING OUT

noI need help here.  I need experts.

Parents Opting Out

As a mother, I want to opt my child out of National Standards testing.  I am not the only one.

I also intend want to refuse to have any data on my child entered into the PaCT system where it will be held by government and stored in the cloud.  Given the government’s record on IT systems, I have no faith it would be safe.  I also have no faith it would not be shared with agencies I disapprove of.

do not keep calmLegally?

So, experts, where do parents stand legally on those two issues?

I would not want to put my child’s teacher in a difficult position, nor the school, so need to know exactly what my rights are.

If you can help or advise me, please comment below.

inBloom, Ed-Fi, Cloud Computing, China, Nazi-Germany and the new Eugenicists

If you don’t see how things are going, how we are being filtered more and more into a Brave New World, then read this and start your brain a-thinking.

“Today instead of the Rockefeller Foundation funding eugenics programs with have the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation funding inBloom, a database that can be used to capture information on potential test subjects. We have Pearson conducting field tests on millions of children without their parents’ permission or knowledge. We have Michael and Susan Dell running a rival database called Ed-Fi that operates identically now, to the way inBloom is trying to operate in the future. We have the Walton family, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortunes, funding a pared down pauper’s education to the masses, so they are easier to control and convert into future Wal-Mart employees and customers. The Koch brothers have influence over PBS (the Public Broadcasting System) which in theory is a media watchdog that only theoretically keeps watch over our liberties and infringement upon the same. All other media sources are beholden and censored by corporate and government interests, save independent bloggers who are now under siege by these government and corporate interests seeking to silence us so you only get a single “sponsored” narrative.”

Crazy Crawfish

Believe it or not, these concepts and words are all related. inBloom and Ed-Fi are two vendors that use cloud computer to store massive quantities of student data (the Louisiana is currently doing business with.) The information these vendors plan on storing will be used to classify, sort and allocate children by their skills and early proficiencies, much as they do in Communist China. It’s no coincidence that many education reformers point to China as an example of education success and something to emulated, not shunned despite what many Chinese themselves thinkEugenicists advocated the conscious elimination of “inferior” human being from the gene pool and promotion of the superior specimens. Eugenics is generally considered a discredited and bankrupt philosophy and social movement, pioneered by a cousin of Charles Darwin – seeking to apply his relative’s research in what he considered a productive manner, but which most of us would…

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Ponderings on Gates, Murdoch, data mining, and National Student Numbers

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…

Data Mining

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.

inBloom Wireless Education meme

What other info does inBloom collect?  Have a look for yourself right here on their web site.

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:

  • Autistic/Autism
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Developmental Delay
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Hearing/Auditory Impairment
  • Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities
  • Mental Retardation
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Traumatic Brain Delay
  • Visual Impairment

I am not a numberOpting Out

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:

  • monitoring and ensuring a student’s enrolment and attendance;
  • ensuring education providers and students receive appropriate resourcing;
  • statistical purposes;
  • research purposes; and
  • ensuring that students’ educational records are accurately maintained.”

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,

~Dianne

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