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Experts, Parents, Lawmakers Blast Database Providing Personal Student Information To Vendors

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Students Taking Exams (file / credit: clipart.com)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A new national database that compiles personal student information for educational companies that contract with public schools is being blasted by privacy experts.

New York State officials, working with the city, have already uploaded students’ names, addresses, test scores, learning disabilities, attendance and disciplinary records into the inBloom database, according to a report in the Daily News.

In turn, inBloom reportedly plans to put this private information on a data cloud and share it with for-profit vendors. The information will include personally identifiable information, including student names, test scores, grades, home addresses, email addresses, linked to grades, test scores, disciplinary and arrest records, special education status, race, economic status and health conditions, according to Class Size Matters, a non-profit organization that advocates for class size reduction in NYC’s public schools.

“Thousands of parents have emailed the State Education Department and DOE in recent weeks, protesting this plan, and hundreds have sent letters to the state and city demanding that their children’s private data not be shared with inBloom Inc., or any other corporation or third party vendor,” said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director Class Size Matters. “

“The fact that this plan is being carried out without even telling parents reflects the State and City’s carelessness with children’s lives and a general disdain for parental rights,” Haimson added.

State Education Department officials said no data will ever be sold.

The New York Civil Liberties Union blasted the city for failing to disclose the plan to the public or offer parents a chance to opt out.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio protested the move in a letter to city and state officials.

Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell introduced a bill this week that states student information cannot be disclosed without explicit parental consent.

“Under this bill, student information cannot be disclosed without explicit parental consent, and students’ needs will once again be prioritized over those of the private companies seeking to profit from our children,” O’Donnell said.

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