"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

. . .a pupil attitude factor, which appears to have a stronger relationship to achievement than do all the “school” factors together, is the extent to which an individual feels that he has some control over his own destiny. James Coleman, 1966

Monday, March 30, 2015

Another peek behind the neoliberal corporate education reform curtain

“Yes! Of course they [public schools] can, but my charter (school) friends don’t like it when I say that.” — Paul Vallas

Paul Vallas admitting that he wants no teachers with at least a decade of experience.

The only nice thing about the right wing is that they don't obscure the reasons behind corporate education reform. Devoid of empathy, compassion, or even an inkling of the notion that human need should trump corporate greed, devotees of Randian "thought" are often entirely honest about motives of neoliberalism. Contrasted to leadership in the Democratic Party, who try to hide the premise underpinning neoliberal policies, the right wing is far more transparent on this issue. For example, arch-reactionary (and charter industry profiteer) Andy Smarick gave us an early peek behind the curtain in 2008 when he admitted that the lucrative charter industry deliberately discriminates against Students with Disabilities (SWD) and other special needs children in order to help bankrupt public school districts. The candor of his Wave of the Future piece in the fringe-right Education Next is as refreshing as it is chilling:

"As chartering increases its market share in a city, the district will come under growing financial pressure. The district, despite educating fewer and fewer students, will still require a large administrative staff to process payroll and benefits, administer federal programs, and oversee special education. With a lopsided adult-to-student ratio, the district's per-pupil costs will skyrocket." [emphasis mine]

Confronted with incontrovertible evidence that the charter industry discriminates, so-called "liberal" corporate reformers like Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, or Ben Austin never publicly admit this is true, much less admit that it is deliberate and by design. The same goes for their assault of the teaching profession. Corner reformers on their attacks on teachers and one gets treated to an array of platitudes about wanting to "elevate the profession", and so forth. One of their reform darlings, Paul Vallas, is up-front about the war on professional educators, particularly the experienced ones. Here is the text from the slide pictured above:

"I don't want the majority of my teaching staff to work more than 10 years. The cost of sustaining those individuals becomes so enormous. Between retirement and healthcare and things like that, it means that your are constantly increasing class sizes and cutting programs to sustain the cost of a veteran workforce."

Doesn't need any explanation, does it?

Another area where the right-wing is forthcoming about the true purpose of neoliberal corporate education reform is in the rationale behind "school choice." Never mind the racist origins of the phrase school choice, or how it is the key factor behind today's schools being as segregated as the times prior to the nineteen-sixties, corporately subsidized Democrats, like Ben Austin of Students Matter, are on record saying of school choice: "It would force the district to learn how to run great schools by forcing them to compete." There is absolutely no evidence that this is true. The disciples of the radical right-wing economist who first advocated "competition" and "choice" in the education sector are entirely honest about this. I was exposed to Robert Weissberg's essay by someone during the struggle against the former Gates Foundation executive, Yolie Flores's, attack on Los Angeles public schools in the guise of her vile Public School Choice giveaway program to the charter sector. The paper was quite revealing in that like the Smarick piece above, it was candid about the real reasons for school choice — which have nothing to do with improving schools. Here is an excerpt of the abstract:

"Despite ample debates over the efficacy of school choice, theorizing has lagged behind and this hinders progress. Milton Friedman, the choice movement founder, never claimed that choice would improve academics; choice was inherently valuable and parents might demand anything. Choice advocates also exaggerate the remedial power of markets and proliferating academic options seldom brings academic diligence. Given free tutoring opportunities, those lagging behind reject them, and costs will usually be too high for most low achievers. Extensive schooling options already exist, so waging political battles to add more is unnecessary."

School choice has never been about improving education, rather it has always been a specious argument used to advance the privatization of education. I suppose in a way we owe Smarick, Vallas, and Weissberg a thank you for being honest about what really drives the charter school project, and all its attendant education reforms.

From Inside the Corporate Ed Reform School Cult

Posted at Education Matters by a former corporate ed reform advocate, Jorge Cabrera.  ht to Peter Farruggio

For nearly three years, I had been involved in what has often been referred to by some as the “education reform movement” in Bridgeport.  In 2012, I was presented with a unique opportunity to work for a new local organization that would work “with the community” to reform the public schools.  The mission was to work towards helping Bridgeport students increase their academic performance and by extension, I thought, lower the dropout rate, increase the rate of college attendance and teach parents how to effectively advocate for the resources and supports their children needed to succeed in school.  As a Bridgeport public school graduate and the first person in my family to attend and graduate from an institution of higher learning, I knew, first hand, how the trajectory of one’s life could be dramatically changed with the attainment of that often coveted credential…a college degree.  Further, as a native Bridgeporter I was sold on the prospect of working with the community I grew up in and loved to help improve educational outcomes for thousands of Bridgeport students.  However, what I did not fully appreciate at the time, but soon found out, was that I was smack in the middle of a simmering firestorm that would divide the community I cared for so dearly and force me to question my own assumptions about “education reform” and the people in front and behind this “movement.”

            Though I did not fully know it at the time, a series of manipulative and deceitful political moves were made before I began my work in the “movement” that would be revealed to me in over 200 conversations with many Bridgeport leaders and friends.  These “moves” would severely taint the work I would embark on and proved to be a major stumbling block to organizing the community.

            Despite these challenges, I began my work full of hope and excited to put my skills and experience toward the noble goal of improving the Bridgeport school system.  Unfortunately, what I learned in the coming years was the incredible lengths some people with access to great wealth and political power would go to in order to privatize an already overburdened and underfunded school district and the ideology that undergirded it.
 This is my story.
 The Best and the Brightest
 As I began my work in the “education reform movement” in Bridgeport, I noticed a plethora of ivy league educated “consultants” and “transformational leaders” that littered the often loose coalition of funders, new organizations and executive directors.  From the beginning, it was clear that many of these new “leaders” that were emerging were well credentialed. They had graduated from prestigious universities and, it was presumed (though not by me), that alone qualified them to lead. Many were very young (recent graduates), energetic, unmarried with no children and little life experience.  They often exhibited a cultish commitment to “the movement.” Their zeal for “education reform” and “saving the children” often resulted in a bizarre abdication of critical thinking that made a mockery of their high priced “education.”  For instance, in many meetings I attended, many of these acolytes extolled the virtues of charter schools as the only solution to closing the achievement gap in Bridgeport but never once did anyone bother to discuss the ample research (i.e. “Teaching with Poverty in Mind” ) available regarding the negative impact of poverty on academic achievement or that Bridgeport had several public magnet schools that outperformed (as measured by standardized test scores) many charter schools.  These magnet schools had long track records (20 plus years) of success and I assumed we should advocate for what we know, firmly, works.  Despite this evidence, there was never any serious discussion regarding expanding magnet school options or advocating for high quality, universal preschool programs (research shows the achievement gap begins at this level).  The entire approach to “education reform” lacked any serious understanding of the many variables (i.e., social-emotional issues, poverty, funding, English language learners) that clearly effect a child’s ability to learn.  Anytime a more dynamic and multifaceted approach to closing the achievement gap was raised it was quickly dismissed as “making excuses.”  The atmosphere vacillated between a callous indifference to the real challenges Bridgeport children faced and arrogant dismissiveness. Permeated throughout these various organizations that formed a loose network of power was a culture that prized blind dedication to the “mission” and socially affirmed and promoted those who obeyed and exhibited “urgency” in “reforming” the “failing schools.”  The people in “the movement” made it clear that it was up to the “best and brightest” of minds to “transform” the “system” as “outside influencers.” By “best and brightest” they almost exclusively meant people who would do their bidding without question and certainly not anyone that would exhibit any degree of independent or critical thought.  On more than one occasion, when the argument was made that the solutions to the multilayered challenge of public education needed to come from the people and required an authentic, engaging process with the Bridgeport community the response was often glib at best.  I recall in one strategic planning meeting when I advocated for authentic engagement and patience to allow parents the time to become informed on the various issues and was told to, “just use language to convince” the parents and impress upon them a sense of “urgency.”  Another person told me, “It’s all about how you say it.”  It was becoming increasingly clear to me that there was little interest in authentic community engagement and problem solving.  The fact that I was hired to do exactly that was lost on virtually everyone!  They were talking at me not to me.  I began to sense that someone or something I was not fully aware of was calling the shots behind the scenes and many of these young ivy leaguers were the mercenaries on the front lines tasked with implementing the agenda.  This whole enterprise was quickly becoming astroturfing and I was in the middle of it.  Worse, I was starting to feel like I was hired to put lipstick on a pig and it was beginning to burn me on the inside.  Nevertheless, through it all, I never gave up hope and tried to create spaces for honest, authentic and fact based discussions inside “the movement” with limited success.

The Knight in Shining Armor
My first meeting with Paul Vallas was like a whirlwind.  He barely came up for air! He spoke in a rapid fire cadence and despite my best efforts I could not engage him in any substantive conversations.  He rode into the city as the new superintendent of schools like a knight in shining armor.  Immediately and repeatedly, I was told by many in the “reform community” that Vallas was a “godsend,” a “transformational leader” with an international reputation of turning school systems around, increasing academic outcomes and changing the lives of, literally, thousands of students. The praise heaped on him was ubiquitous. He often spoke in soundbites and we were told that we were to be a “critical friend” to the new superintendent.  We would support him when he was right and criticize him when he was wrong.  Our main constituents, I was told, were the families and students.  Good enough, I thought at the time.  In reality, we were dispatched to drum up support in the community for virtually every policy change or initiative proposed by Vallas.  Any thoughtful questioning of the efficacy of his proposals was met with stone silence or the injection of the “urgency” argument which was intended to and had the effect of silencing any meaningful discussion.  If one pushed too hard to open up an authentic discussion regarding Vallas’s proposals “the movement” would send strong signals that the questioner was being disloyal and that such questioning was deemed heresy.  It was as if a “bunker mentality” had descended on many in “the movement.” You were either with them or against them.  Despite this hostile environment, on one occasion, I was able to engage Vallas in a rare moment of reflection and candor.  We were discussing different school models and supports for students and I casually asked Vallas if he thought traditional neighborhood public schools could succeed if they were given adequate funding and supports for students, teachers and families.  His response was very revealing. He stated, “Yes! Of course they can, but my charter (school) friends don’t like it when I say that.”  It was a rare, candid moment that spoke volumes and provided a rare glimpse into the mindset of the “reformers.”  The veil was starting to be lifted.  As I continued to have extensive conversations with many community leaders I began to appreciate the deceitful and manipulative manner in which Vallas was hired to lead the Bridgeport school system.  It was all unfolding before me and the truth was emerging.

Power to the People?
 The crown jewel of the “education reform movement” in Bridgeport was the 2012 charter revision ballot question that would of given the Mayor the authority to appoint the entire board of education, among other powers.  The “movement” was in a frenzy to win this election.  We were told that “the people woud decide” and “they (the people) have the power.”  All of the work we were engaged in to build relationships, trust and educate parents regarding the school system and education policy was abruptly halted to focus on winning this ballot question election.  It was a pressure cooker!  When I tried to actually read the proposed language changes to the city’s charter and have discussions with parents so that both I and they were fully informed on what we were asking people to vote on, I was quickly pushed aside in favor of a group of highly compensated New York City media consultants who came in and began directing instead of facilitating the “discussions.”  Immediately, the focus was on marketing and sloganeering.  Worse, we were trying to build the plane while it was in the air! The whole thing was rushed and disorganized. We were told to make sure we communicated to the public that voting in favor of the city charter change was good for parents, students and would lead to better academic outcomes.  The insinuation was that anyone who was against the charter revision changes was anti-child or anti-education. When parents or community leaders asked questions that required more substantive, fact based responses we were coached to respond to everything in soundbites and with shallow arguments that lacked any grounding in reality.  It was the worse kind of insult to the community’s intelligence and pandered to the worse aspects of human nature and—it almost worked.

 Revelation and the Shock Doctrine
 My nearly three years in the “movement” in Bridgeport revealed to me the incredible lengths that private, often unseen and unaccountable power will go to in order to create and capitalize on a crisis.  In Bridgeport, that crisis in our public education system was created by powerful forces at the local and state level who systematically starved the school system by withholding necessary school funding (Shock #1) which then created a crisis that set the stage for a takeover (Shock #2) of the Bridgeport board of education on the eve of the fourth of July in 2011.  Essentially, these forces were engaged in a form of social engineering under the guise of “urgency” and “reform.” To be clear, in this “movement” there are people who have good intentions and sincerly want to improve the conditions of Bridgeport’s public schools but they do not sit at the tables of power when strategic decisions are made and their voices are often silenced. Their talents, skills and knowledge are often used to serve a larger, opaque agenda that is dictated by a radical ideology of deregulation and privatization.  Shot throughout most, if not all, of the education reform “movement” you will find the radical ideology of economist Milton Friedman.  Looking back, there were moments when this mindset (disaster capitalism) was revealed to me in meetings.  On one occassion, a very influential operator in the “education reform” community was discussing the “amazing opportunity” that revealed itself after hurricane Katrina in New Orleans desimated the population and led to the “charterization” of the public school system.  He expounded that sometimes you have to, “…burn the village to save it…” and that what we (the “reform community”) are essentially involved in is, “creative destruction.”  Worse, he argued that we needed a “clean slate” in order for real “change” to happen in the school system in Bridgeport.  But this was my home.  This was the city I grew up in and where most of my family lived and worked.  You want to burn down their city!? You want to destroy it so you can be creative!?  For whom?  It was all surreal.  I was done.

 In Naomi Klein’s book and, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” she outlines how powerful economic and political forces harness terrible shocks to implement radical policies to privatize and profit from public resources.  In Bridgeport, this ideology played itself out on our public school system and, for a season at least, seemed to be the dominant ideology on the verge of assuming complete power over the public school system.  We almost succeeded.  Thanks to the people of the City of Bridgeport—we did not and that’s a good thing.

 Jorge Cabrera was employed by the “education reform” organization Excel Bridgeport from 2012-2015–the organization on the front lines of the “movement” in Bridgeport.

Parent Offers Good Reasons for Opting Out

A clip from here:

. . . .Our students’ independence is slowly but surely being crushed by an endless scholastic bombardment of carrots and sticks, reminders to stay on the state-mandated track and learn the state-mandated information. No zig, no zag, no time to stop and enjoy the view. Students are to be compliant and obedient. They are not to question the authority of leaders in the system. Students are inculcated, from a very early age, with the sense that they do not own their education.

At the same time, their sense of community is being damaged by the very system designed to educate them. Grouped according to age, students are relentlessly rewarded (with treats, good grades, smiley faces, extra recess minutes) or punished (with bad grades, class rankings, less recess) based on slight differences in development and abilities. Everything possible is given a score. Those who score well learn a sense of superiority and condescension, while those who score poorly learn self-hatred. At the same time, this ranking system makes it very clear that one student’s climbing rank is tied to another’s falling one.

Together, these strategies and others are silencing the exhilarated yawps and hoorahs, woohoos and booyahs of our nation’s students. Meek and fearful, they have forgotten how to seek out challenging and exciting tasks. A generation of children are growing up with an “Is it going to be on the test?” mentality. All that is left is to try to make education palatable by adding silly rewards, candy, pep rallies, and in-classroom movies.

I’m opting my children out of standardized testing because sometimes when you’re a prisoner on a ship, you need to glimpse a flag on a hill—to see someone, somewhere, reaffirming your almost forgotten sense of independence and community.

I want my children to value independence. I want them to look at systems of state control with a wary eye, to demand and revere control over their own lives as their birthright. The joy and mystery of living, learning, growing, and loving is theirs for the taking. . . .

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Let Luke Flynt Clearly Explain How Value-Added Test Evaluation Works

 Share this far and wide:

The ASD and IZone Plan to Bankrupt Public Education and Destroy the Teaching Profession

 The Commercial Appeal has a story today about the planned shuffling of schoolchildren to serve the needs of the corporate reform welfare artists who are lined up at the public school feeding trough in Memphis.
. . . . In three years, the ASD has taken 7,100 students and the $11,000 SCS would get each year for each student. Next year, ASD enrollment is projected to hit 9,200.

To fight back, the SCS board is expected to close South Side Middle and move its 300 students to Riverview K-8, more than three miles away. Riverview is already safe from ASD takeover because it is an iZone school. . . .
My comment left at the CA website:

My calculator tells me that 9,200 ASD students x $11,000 per student = $101,200,000 every year going from public schools to the ASD corporate reform school operators, which have no public oversight or input. This massive giveaway will result in more austerity measures for the surviving schools of SCS, tighter thumb screws on teachers, and more teacher pay based on test scores, all of which will NEVER attract the kinds of experienced, caring, and professional teachers that the neediest children require. All of the professional teachers are fired when the ASD or its homegrown version, the I-Zone, take over schools like South Side and Airways. And what professional teacher wants to teach where know-nothing school "leaders" have the authority to hire and fire for any reason.

Therefore, the rationale that the clueless Hopson uses for ending co-location is just blather. The real rationale is real estate and real dollars. He and the corporate school board (Bibb actually works for Green Dot Charter Schools) will never attract any teachers other than the desperately unemployed ones and those temporary beginners from Teach for America and its spin-offs. What teacher in his right mind would step into this cauldron of corporate corruption?! 

The Gates Plan for Memphis has shown itself for the anti-public and incompetent business efficiency scheme that it is. Fortunately, the parents and teachers of Memphis are not going to allow their children and students to be used as pawns in a billion dollar hostile takeover, whether it is labeled ASD or IZone. The SCS Board meeting at 5:30 on Tuesday. Be there.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kasich Plans to Increase Charter Funding and Cut Public Schools

Ohio has some of the worst charter schools in the nation, and White Hat Management runs many of them. White Hat's multimillionaire boss, David Brennan, has stuffed the pockets of politicians for years to become one of the grandest corporate welfare kingpins in charter school history. 

What does Governor Kasich plan to do about that giant sucking sound that dollars make when they disappear down the giant charter drain?  From the Columbus Dispatch:
Charter-school funding in Ohio could exceed $1 billion by 2017 under Gov. John Kasich’s proposed two-year budget, which provides increases to every school.

Most of the attention thus far has focused on the charter-school accountability and transparency provisions included in Kasich’s budget. Lawmakers more recently got a look at the breakdown in charter-school funding.

About half of traditional public schools would see funding cuts over the next two years under Kasich’s education funding plan, though it spends $459 million more. The non-partisan Legislative Service Commission calculated that charter-school funding will rise 5.4 percent over two years, with no schools facing a cut. . . .

Friday, March 27, 2015

Civil Rights Laws Suspended for Tens of Thousands of NYC Charter Chain Gang Kids

Advocates for Children has released a new report detailing NYC charter operators' wholesale violations of state and federal laws governing the treatment of children in school.  

This will come as no surprise for those who have worked in the "no excuses" testing camps or for parents whose children have mistreated there.   

For policy elites, there is no longer any way to deny the immoral and illegal rules that govern these paternalistic hellholes that state and federal governments still embrace as the neo-eugenic solution to the problem of being black, brown, and poor children in America.

Major findings of the Report:

1.   107 of the 164 NYC charter school discipline policies we reviewed permit suspension or expulsion as a penalty for any of the infractions listed in the discipline policy, no matter how minor the infraction. By contrast, the New York City Department of Education’s (DOE) Discipline Code aligns infractions with penalties, limiting suspension to certain violations and prohibiting expulsion for all students under age 17 and for all students with disabilities.

2.   82 of the 164 NYC charter school discipline policies we reviewed permit suspension or expulsion as a penalty for lateness, absence, or cutting class, in violation of state law.
3.   133 of the 164 NYC charter school discipline policies we reviewed fail to include the right to written notice of a suspension prior to the suspension taking place, in violation of state law.
4.   36 of the 164 NYC charter school discipline policies we reviewed fail to include an opportunity to be heard prior to a short-term suspension, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, New York State Constitution, and state law.
5.   25 of the 164 NYC charter school discipline policies we reviewed fail to include the right to a hearing prior to a long-term suspension, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, New York State Constitution, and state law.
6.   59 of the 164 NYC charter school discipline policies we reviewed fail to include the right to appeal charter school suspensions or expulsions, even though state law establishes a distinct process for charter school appeals.
7.   36 of the 164 NYC charter school discipline policies we reviewed fail to include any additional procedures for suspending or expelling students with disabilities, in violation of federal and state law.
8.   52 of the 164 NYC charter school discipline policies we reviewed fail to include the right to alternative instruction during the full suspension period, in violation of state law.
While charter schools should be able to discipline their students, they must uphold the rights of their students and provide them with a fair discipline process. The Charter Schools Act requires charter school authorizers to ensure that charter applications include discipline policies and procedures that comport with the law.7 Yet, all three authorizers of New York City charter schools have approved charters for schools that have legally inadequate discipline policies.

Memphis Waking Up to Corporate Welfare Takeover of Schools

Thanks to Memphis Police Association president, Mike Williams, for giving the teachers of South Side Middle School an opportunity last evening on "Wake Up Memphis" to share with the public some information related to the attempted shutdown of South South Middle School to benefit the incompetent misleaders of the Achievement School District.

Many community members called in during the one hour program, and we were able to answer their questions related to the continued push for takeovers by the corporate welfare schemers who see Memphis children as a huge new revenue stream to be exploited.

The one question we could not answer is how South Side came to be threatened with closure and absorption by the corporate I-Zone, when other schools in Memphis, both inside and outside the ASD and I-Zone, are performing worse or no better on the state tests that were used to identify schools for potential closure.

Below are data from the TN public website that shows two elementary schools (Aspire Hanley #1 and Georgian Hills) that have been taken over by ASD three years ago, one middle school in ASD taken over two years ago, and one of the "high-flying" KIPP schools in Memphis, which made the bottom 5 percent Priority List for the State in 2014

As you can see, South Side (shown last) is making great improvements with their 7th and 8th grade students, and if these criteria were used to determine closure, South Side would survive all the other schools listed below.

The effort to close South Side Middle will not go forward, if you join hands with the community to attend the SCS School Board meeting on Tuesday at 5:30.  Come early and be ready for become active advocates for humane public schools in Memphis.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

YES Prep Says NO to Teacher Town

The Commercial Appeal has a story today on the decision by the high-flying YES Prep charter chain, which has decided to back out of a contract with the doomed Achievement School District of Tennessee.
Yes Prep, a nationally recognized charter school operator, is leaving Memphis before opening its first school, saying the shifting political climate here makes it difficult to offer the high-quality education on which it has built its reputation.
My comments posted at the Commercial Appeal:

Yes Prep follows in the footsteps of another big brand name, KIPP, which backed out of South Side Middle last year. The community opposition to these corporate welfare chain gang schools is growing, and parents and teachers, alike, are no longer accepting of white philanthropists choosing how poor black children are to be "educated."

As I said yesterday in response to a question about cultural sterilization of black children:

In the “no excuses” charter testing camps, experienced African-American teachers have been largely replaced by untrained immature beginners, the majority of whom are white middle class women who follow the lead of white corporate CEO male principals with no leadership skills or experience. So real teachers and principals with empathic understanding of the challenges that black families face are replaced by ignorant young temps and authoritarian know-nothings with no understanding of culturally relevant pedagogy or methods. The code of enforced silence does not allow these young white women to get to know their pupils or to understand their lives. Dehumanization is the result. 

Nine to 10 hour school days and 2-3 hours of homework, plus Saturday school in some instances, prevent children from being a part of anything other than a school that routinely ignores community values, parental concerns, family needs, and ethnic identities, and cultural histories. Every aspect of living is secondary to higher test scores. 

Children are routinely screamed at, labeled as miscreants, isolated, humiliated, and called names for the most minor infractions of the rules. In any middle class school, these occurrences would result in charges of misconduct or child abuse. In the chain gang charters, these treatments and interventions are rationalized and encouraged as fitting for the children of the poor. 

Children in no excuses charters are expected to abandon their family and community ties and to become a ghettoized version of the white middle class children. They are expected at an early age to accept the remote goals assigned by white philanthropist funders, and they are taught that failure to reach those goals represents a personal moral failure and a lack of will. They are taught that personal gratification must be delayed until some distant future emerges before them, and they are taught to deny their most basic social needs and cultural connections. They are taught that any shortcoming represents a personal weakness, and they told that they should be grateful and joyful in their imprisoned states. They are turned in automatons who learn how to cut corners and to cheat in order to meet expectations of corporate missionaries who will be replaced after a couple of years.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


OK, I know the font is small and it is not a 140 character tweet, but you should all read and share this article that shows the true nature of testing and CCSS mandates both for the students of a highly regarded elementary special ed teacher and that teacher. http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=17902

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Corporate Congress Turns Blind Eye to High Tech Predators in Schools

The do nothing bill is called the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act.

Clip from NYTimes:
. . . some privacy experts said the draft bill had major loopholes that would allow school services to use student information in ways students and parents might not expect or find acceptable.

For example, it allows school services to make unilateral changes to their contracts and privacy policies. It permits them to disclose student information for purposes like preparing for “employment opportunities.” And it would not prohibit sites like ConnectEDU from selling student records as part of a merger or acquisition.

The bill is also unlikely to prohibit companies like Pearson from monitoring the social media posts of students if those activities are performed on behalf of state educational agencies.

“Although this bill has some promising features,” said Khaliah Barnes, director of the student privacy project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a research center in Washington, “it ultimately fails to uphold President Obama’s promise that the data collected in an educational context can be used only for educational purposes.”