inBloom was recently defeated in Colorado due to the persistent efforts of public school parents. inBloom, a Common Core linked initiative, is often deemed a data mining program which collects personal information about students and their families.The extremely controversial program was still in the pilot stages when public backlash over the perceived invasion of privacy prompted Jefferson County Schools to reverse its stance on the matter, and the state ultimately followed course.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, inBloom collects and stores information not only about students’ standardized test scores and enrollment information but details about “hundreds of other data points” as well – names, address, religious affiliation, disciplinary status, household income and health records. The data collected on the students can be shared with third parties.
Parent activists Sunny Flynn and Rachel Strickland have been leading the movement against inBloom in the state. During a meeting with Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Cynthia Stevenson to learn more about the data mining program, Strickland learned that the school board had not approved the program, the activist told The Blaze.
Colorado Board of Education Commissioner Robert Hammond said he supported inBloom but that the state would not participate due to concerns raised by parents:
Using these tools, teachers would have been able to more easily support their students’ needs by helping them learn at their own pace and truly master a concept before moving forward. In my opinion, this continues to be an important goal in educating our students for the 21st century. Unfortunately, concerns and questions persisted in Jefferson County that led to their decision to withdraw from inBloom.
Until Strickland and Flynn brought nationwide attention to the data mining, privacy concerns, and tracking mechanisms involved with inBloom, disciplinary information about children was also automatically included in the information collected at the schools. Due to the momentum of the movement to halt the program, guidelines were changed and now parents can opt out of that portion of inBloom. The Jefferson County school district also decided not to collect information about family status, disabilities, and food assistance.
Flynn called the termination of the pilot program in Colorado a big win:
It has been very exciting. We thought we had a longer battle in front of us. Now that the Colorado Board of Education has decided to terminate its relationship with inBloom it shows that Commissioner [Robert] Hammond is listening to parents. We hope that [New York’s Board of Regents and Education Commissioner John King] takes this as a really important message. This is not about security, this is about privacy. The technology has simply gotten ahead of leadership and policies.
Stevenson, a proponent for Common Core and InBloom, resigned from her post in recent weeks following the election of conservative candidates to the board. She had wholeheartedly embraced Common Core initiatives and had even made headlines in the New York Times. The nonprofit program was originally called the “Shared Learning Collaborative” and garnered a plethora of support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation.
A group of New York City parent activists recently filed a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court to halt the program there. Class Size Matters advocacy group executive director Leoni Haimson said Education Commissioner John King has ignored the outcry from thousands of parents who have urged for him to stop inBloom in their state. “They have been joined by a growing chorus of school board members and superintendents throughout the state who say that his data-sharing plan is not only unnecessary, it poses huge and unprecedented risks,” Haimson said.
How do you feel about inBloom and Common Core?
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