The state of New York has decided to halt its deal with inBloom concerning the collection and storage of student data in a Web-based cloud.
The state’s lawmakers and officials passed a law stating that the Department of Education is not allowed to give information about students to companies that collect and store data for use in a data portal or dashboard, like New York had been allowing inBloom to do, reports Gary Stern for lohud.com. All student information that has already been downloaded to inBloom must now be deleted.
“As required by statute, we will not store any student data with inBloom and we have directed inBloom to securely delete the non-identifiable data that has been stored,” said a statement from Dennis Tompkins, spokesman for Education Commissioner John King.
The law came after parents and educators questioned the safety of student information on inBloom’s database. Many parents and educators were also worried that the information would be used to profile or track students or sold to commercial companies in the future. The New York Education Department and inBloom both insisted that it would never happen.
Many school officials advocated for the removal of the new inBloom system and voice concerns about how the student information would be used. Parents, educators, and school officials raised awareness about the system and voiced their opinions on the matter to lawmakers. Many signed a petition on moveon.org to have the new student information collecting system halted.
State officials say they need some kind of better system for using and collecting student data to track students’ needs and help teachers to adjust the teaching they need to do.
New York is required under its participation in the nation-wide Race to the Top system to collect and process student information as part of the state’s standings of how students perform in the classroom, according to an article in the Sloatsburg Village News. The New York State Department of Education will determine how the state’s 37 organizations Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) can give technological support to local schools that will store and sort student information that can be received by parents and educators in a cloud program somewhat like inBloom.
inBloom was funded with $100 million in grant money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.