Niagara Gazette

Columns

December 23, 2013

CONFER: Common Core and your family's data

Niagara Gazette — Editor’s Note: This is the fifth article in an eight-part series exploring Common Core.

In May 2010, the New York State Education Department reveled in the receipt of a $20 million grant from the federal government that was dedicated to the implementation of a statewide longitudinal data system (LDS).

The claimed goal of the new system was to begin the matching of student, teacher and course information at the pre-school through grade 12 levels and ultimately link the vast amount of amassed information with the State University of New York and the City University of New York.

This master plan was not the result of an independent need as determined by the state. Rather, it was a submission to the federal government, as the only way to secure more of the $4 billion in Race to the Top funds was to include an LDS project in the application. Race to the Top is also the Obama Administration’s funding tool — and attractant — for Common Core adoption.

Common Core’s reliance on individual and aggregate student data was not entirely unexpected, as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation remains the largest funding source for Common Core Inc. Look at who benefits from new, mandated computer systems: Bill Gates’ Microsoft (more on this in part 8 of the series). Data-mining is also par for the course in modern government — look at what the National Security Agency (NSA) gleans from our cell phones, emails, and internet searches. 

As is the case with the NSA’s data collection, citizens should look at Common Core with a concerned eye.

The primary software manager and data hoarder behind Common Core’s computer system is inBloom, an Atlanta-based company founded by the Carnegie Corp. and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (they they are again!).

inBloom will manage every students’ grades, test scores, and attendance reports. On top of that, New York will also collect suspension records, medical diagnoses and economic status. All of the information will be held in a cloud managed by Amazon.com that is accessible by every school administrator across the state, unknown numbers of SUNY and CUNY personnel, federal officials and inBloom’s commercial clients, who will allegedly use the data only to develop teaching modules and learning products.

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