Category Archives: Blog

Vote to send Parent Coalition for Student Privacy and other grassroots privacy activists to SXSWEdu!

Each spring, thousands of edtech entrepreneurs, and advocates funded by the edtech industry, descend upon Austin’s SXSWEdu conference to promote their products and publicize their point of view. For example, it’s where Bill Gates launched inBloom Inc. in 2013, to push the expansion of data-mining student personal information and online learning. Rarely do you bump into any classroom teachers, parent leaders or grassroots education activists attending, much less find one on stage. We hope to change that in 2018.

Please help us by voting for our panel proposal “Shielding data privacy & resisting online learning.” Our speakers include Leonie Haimson, co-chair of our Parent Coalition for Student Privacy who helped lead the fight against inBloom Inc., attorney and privacy activist Bradley Shear, who has proposed an annual National Student Data Deletion Day, research associate Faith Boninger, who has written extensively on privacy for the National Education Policy Center, and Badass Teachers Association (BATS) Executive Director Marla Kilfoyle. The BATs NEA Caucus supported, and pushed for, several pro-privacy and anti-online learning resolutions that were adopted at the recent NEA Representative Assembly. For more information about our proposal, click here or visit http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/72014).

To submit your vote:

1.     Simply fill out this form.

2.     Sign in and select “PANELPICKER.”

3.     Search for our panel name “Shielding data privacy & resisting online learning.”

4.     Click on “Vote Up.”

The more votes we get, the better our chances of being selected – so please vote today and ask your friends to vote too! The voting window closes Friday, August 25th.


Background

In spring of 2013, Bill Gates took the stage at SXSWEdu to unveil inBloom, his foundation’s $100 million student data collection project which was being piloted in nine states and school districts across the nation. inBloom surfaced in every corner of the conference that year with parties, meet-ups, and a code-a-thon where cash “bounties” were awarded to teams who developed the best apps using the inBloom data store.

At the same time, parents whose children’s data was going to be ensnared in the project were raising their voices in opposition – concerned about how inBloom threatened student privacy and could accelerate the use of online learning. After considerable parental backlash, inBloom shuttered its doors in 2014. Shortly after, parents involved in the fight formed the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy.

Since then, student data privacy has gained national attention and SXSWEdu has featured countless workshops and presentations on the subject – including on the reasons for inBloom’s demise, without inviting a single parent involved in the fight to explain their opposition. We want to change that next year by going directly to the belly of the beast, and inviting others who are active in the resistance movement on the ground to protect student privacy and prevent the expansion of online learning to join with us. You can help by casting your vote in support of our panel here!

Rachael Stickland testifies before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education

On Wednesday, June 28, 2017, Parent Coalition for Student Privacy co-chair Rachael Stickland was invited to testify before the U.S. House Education & the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education at a hearing entitled “Exploring Opportunities to Strengthen Education Research While Protecting Student Privacy.” Rachael testified at a similar hearing in March 2016.

The Subcommittee’s press release can be viewed here and Rachael’s full testimony can be found here (and below).

Webcast of the hearing can be viewed here:

For articles about the hearing, please visit the following:

House Hearing on Education Research and Student Privacy

AACROA, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers

June 29, 2017

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On the Hill Today: Education Research and Student Privacy

Politico Morning Education

June 28, 2017

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Student Privacy in Education Research: ‘It’s Time’ to Update Federal Laws

Education Week by Sarah D. Sparks

June 28, 2017


Join us on June 30 for student data deletion day!

As a parent I was always happy that my child started out with a clean slate each year. Right now schools & their vendors collect far too much personal data — and use them in ways that are non- transparent and vulnerable to breaches.  Parents are justifiably fearful that negative incidents in their children’s past may enter into their “permanent record” and create damaging stereotypes that might bias their teachers against them, or be inserted into algorithms with discriminatory outcomes– creating self-fulfilling prophecies. This is why we support Bradley Shear’s brilliant concept of “data deletion” day — to urge schools to allow kids the freedom to create their own future, without being burdened by data that could be breached or used against them –or pin them down to the past. 

Check out Brad’s post below – reprinted from his must -read blog  — and feel free to use the template letter he designed to send to your children’s schools, urging them to delete any non-essential personal data for your child on June 30, and asking them to demand their vendors do the same.  –Leonie Haimson

Our K-12 public schools are collecting an enormous amount of data about our kids that will pre-determine whether their dream schools will give their applications a fair assessment and if prospective employers will give them a chance to interview for an opening.

The type and amount of data being accumulated and stored by our public schools and third-party vendors is staggering.  For example, some elementary schools deploy identification cards with RFID chips that track when and how many times our kids go to the bathroom, how long they spend inside a bathroom stall while taking care of their personal business, and how many times they go to the water fountain along with all of their daily movements in and within the school’s property. Other schools utilize biometric palm readers that scan our kids’ hand or fingerprints to track everything our kids buy in the school cafeteria. All of this cumulative data is a honey pot for colleges, employers, insurance companies, data brokers, cyber criminals, foreign governments, etc…

Every time our kids may be admonished for talking out of turn or texting in class they may receive a permanent demerit in Class Dojo.  In the near future, classrooms may be filled with cameras and other tracking technologies that also analyze our kids every interaction with their teachers and class mates. This is not some type of crazy prediction; in China, this Orwellian future is already a reality.

Multiple companies in the educational technology space have intentionally misled students, parents, teachers, administrators, and lawmakers about how they are using the personal data they are collecting about our kids in school. For example, Google was caught intentionally scanning student emails for advertising and other troubling purposes despite prior promises it was not.  ConnectEDU tried to sell personal student data for profit when it went bankrupt despite promising not to do so. Edmodo, another educational technology company, was recently caught surreptitiously tracking students online to monetize their web surfing habits despite promises to the contrary.

As a parent and privacy advocate, I have come to the realization that more needs to be done to raise awareness about these issues and to effectuate change. Therefore, I am calling for all K-12 public schools and their vendors to automatically delete the following data points each and every June 30th after the school year has ended:

-All student Internet browsing history
-All student school work saved on platforms such as the Google G Suite
-All student created emails (and all other digital communications)
-All behavioral data points/saved class interactions (e.g. Class Dojo data points)
-All student physical location data points  (e.g. obtained via RFID tags)
-All biometric data collected and tied to a student account (e.g. meal  purchase information)
-Etc…
An Easy To Follow School-Data-Deletion-Request-Template

This is just the beginning of the conversation and as our schools collect more data points on our kids more data will need to be automatically deleted at the end of each school year. Each public school system and their vendors must be required to certify in writing that the requested data deletion has occurred.

None of these above data points were kept on the Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, or Generation X so they are not needed to be collected and saved for future generations. If we really want to make “America Great Again,” kids should be allowed to be kids without the fear that their every move is tied to them for the rest of their lives.

Some educational technology vendors, industry funded think tanks/associations, and academics (e.g. George Mason University’s Law & Economics Center) may falsely claim deleting this data will harm our children and deprive parents and teachers of the knowledge they need to make more informed choices. Some arguments against automatic data deletion may include: it should be the parents choice, the data is needed for personalization, the information is needed to help improve the service offering so it will help better educate our kids, etc…

None of these arguments are valid and should not be believed. Parents should not have to opt into protecting their children’s privacy, safety, security, and future. If a parent doesn’t want their child’s data deleted then they have the right to opt out of automatic data deletion.

Privacy is the corner stone of a free and vibrant democracy.  Therefore, we need to start by better protecting our kids in school. The amount of data being collected on our children is staggering and no matter how hard I have advocated for stronger student data privacy laws and for stronger digital privacy laws, I have been out gunned by lobbyists funded by companies that relish an Orwellian society they can easily monetize.

As a parent, for the sake of our kids and future generations, I ask that you support National Student Data Deletion Day on June 30th by sending in an email or snail mail demanding that your public school system and their vendors start an annual purge of all the unnecessary data points collected about our kids.

Before our kids email and other school provided digital accounts are set up for the following school year, all prior non-essential data (most of the data is non-essential) should be deleted. Our children should be given a fresh start every school year just like we were when we attended school.

Data discrimination is real and to help prevent it now is the time to act before its too late!  Please HELP OUR KIDS BE KIDS IN THE DIGITAL AGE! — Bradley Shear

 

Our co-chair Rachael testifies before Congress tomorrow!

Rachael Stickland, co-chair of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy is the lead off witness tomorrow  Wednesday June 28, 2017 before the US House subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education – testifying before Congress on student privacy for the second time in two years.
 
You can watch her starting at 10 AM here:

Toolkit webinar now available online!

If you were unable to join our May 23rd webinar on how to use the Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy to protect your child’s sensitive data, don’t worry! You can watch the webinar now HERE or below.

If you haven’t downloaded the toolkit yet, please do so HERE.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017