According to Long Island Newsday, Suffolk (N.Y.) Police and Sachem School District are investigating a suspected security breach where a hacker was able to access and leak to a web forum personal student data, including medical and disciplinary records.
That student database is linked to the Common Core standards and the longitudinal collection of student data associated with Obama’s Race to the Top, which offered school districts $4 billion in grants if they chose to participate in the program.
According to The Journal News, in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam counties, N.Y., the database uploads to Web cloud run by inBloom, a non-profit group funded by the Gates Foundation and supported by Amazon.
Even before the early November security breach, parents and teachers were concerned about data collection and the potential of sharing it or stealing it.
The Journal News reported that more than 20 districts in the Lower Hudson Valley have pulled out of New York’s participation in the federal Race to the Top initiative, hoping that doing so will allow them to withhold certain data. Since the state has said that this strategy will not work, districts are now writing to inBloom directly and requesting that their student records be deleted.
A dozen parents in New York City even went so far as seeking a restraining order to protect their children’s data.
These concerns aren’t limited to school districts in New York. According to The New American, schools in Delaware, Colorado, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, Georgia and North Carolina have committed to “pilot testing” and information dissemination via sending students’ personal information to the inBloom database.
The New American reports, “The fact that Common Core Standards require children’s personal information to be provided to a database that can be expected to sell or share the data to unspecified companies is worrisome to many parents and educators. ‘It leads to total control and total tracking of the child,’ said Mary Black, curriculum director for Freedom Project Education, an organization that provides classical K-12 online schooling. ‘It completely strips the child of his or her own privacy.’”