Monday, April 8, 2013

More on inBloom (including just what's in those data fields!)

I know I'm posting a great deal about this, but the more I find out, the worse it gets.And thanks to Josh Golin from Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, who keeps these coming!

Last week in an exchange of emails with Deputy Commissioner Wulfson of DESE, Mr. Golin had confirmed that there will be a costs to districts for the services of inBloom:
We've heard that the Jefferson County, Colorado school district (the pilot district in Colorado) has been told by inBloom that, starting in 2015, inBloom will charge $2 to $5 per student for data they are storing.  Can you tell me if a similar storage charge is anticipated in Massachusetts or has been discussed at this point?
The response from the Deputy Commissioner:
There will be a subscription charge for participating districts to use the service, after the pilot phase is completed. I don’t believe the final fees have been set yet, but what you’ve heard is in the ballpark of what’s been discussed.
 For a district of 24,000+ students, the size of Worcester? That's on the order of $48,000 to nearly $100,000 per year for this "service."

Digging further into the information out there on inBloom, among the things that have turned up are a field (under "Enumerations") that would include information on why a teacher has switched schools or no longer worked for a school. It also includes:
  • disciplinary records (including whether a minor is accused of breaking a state law)
  • where in the school building an "incident" occurred
  • the type of classroom a child is in (including special education categories)
  • the type of medical disability a child has (including hearing loss, emotional disturbance, mental retardation...)
  • why a child's length of discipline was different than that of others (including that the child was incarcerated)
  • under what circumstances a child changed schools (including expulsion, death, or transfer to "an institution")
  • whether or not a child is eligible for IDEA (special ed) funds
  • reason a child was physically restrained (including harm to self or harm to others)
  • whether a child is eligible for free or reduced lunch
  • characteristics of the child's home situation (including "displaced homemaker," homeless, immigrant, migratory, foster care, "unschooled refugee")
And remember: this will all be in a SINGLE database with the child's name and identifying information, and it will be in the cloud and hackable.

Also relevant is this post from Diane Ravitch on the weakening of federal protections of student information. 

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