(Source: ParentalRights.org 3-20-13)
The SXSWedu Technology Conference [held recently in Austin, Texas] featured a new project that has many educational technology companies very excited – and that has many parents angry and deeply concerned. The project is called inBloom – a massive national database of personal information on public school students – and it is now already up and running in nine states so far. Largely funded by the pro-internationalist Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the $100 million project contains information on millions of children to date.
Homeschooling parents in California who are properly concerned about protecting the privacy of their school-age children have another good reason to think twice before joining any Charter School program (which are all controlled by public school authorities) or any other public school program. All Charter School students are public school students by law and have a permanent file kept on them by the public school system.
Even though California has its own pupil database system, we have no knowledge that California’s public school system has started up yet with this national database, so those whose children are currently in a Charter School program may have time to withdraw their children before their child’s private information is shared around the country. Parents will likely not find out until it has already happened, with no recourse in protecting their children’s privacy.
Data being stored on the National Database includes identifying information such as name, address, and social security number, along with school grades, attendance, and even information on hobbies, interests, and attitudes. Parents are deeply concerned about all of that data being collected about their child and stored in a massive database with nationwide access by anyone with whom the school system would like to share it. And that’s saying nothing of hackers who might get at it illegally.
Parents from New York, one of the nine states, are furious that their child’s information is being shared with private companies “to create a national database for businesses that contract with public schools,” according to the New York Daily News (March 13, 2013). The Electronic Privacy Law Center in Washington is suing the U.S. Department of Education over this issue. Their administrative counsel, Khaliah Barnes, told the Daily News, “Turning massive amounts of personal data about public school students to a private corporation without any public input is profoundly disturbing and irresponsible! What happens if the company goes out of business?”
However, the committee that oversees implementation of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) would be proud. They routinely include the following in their Concluding Observations to a nation’s periodic report on CRC implementation: “The Committee reiterates its recommendation for the State party to set up a national and comprehensive data collection system and to analyse the data collected as a basis for consistently assessing progress achieved in the realization of child rights and to help design policies and programmes to strengthen the implementation of the Convention.”
According to ParentalRights.org, those who believe there is no need for a Parental Rights Amendment to our U.S. Constitution tend to fall into one of two groups. Either they believe the government would never really threaten the right of fit parents to direct the upbringing of their child, or they believe the government would make better decisions than most parents. Secretly shipping personal and educational data on millions of school students to a private corporation seems like an excellent way to prove both of these groups wrong. Far more important, it leaves the identities, reputations, privacy, and future of our children at stake.
For more information on this and similar issues, visit ParentalRights.org and hslda.org and childandfamilyprotection.org.
We will be glad to send the informative, 4-page “Why Charter Schools Won’t Work for Christians,” free to anyone who contacts us. For more detailed information, we also offer a “Charter School Packet” containing additional material. To help us cover the cost of the materials and postage for this Packet, we suggest a $10 contribution payable to Family Protection Ministries.