Thursday, April 12, 2018

Student Data Mining--A Bigger Scandal

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While Congress expresses outrage, and rightly so, toward the actions and bias of Facebook---there is another scandal in plain sight that is even more egregious.

Google, Apple, Microsoft Pearson, and Knewton are all mining data about your child for their profit.

Michelle Malkin, formerly a journalist for the Seattle Times before leaving to become a freelance writer, is sounding the alarm.

In a column yesterday, Malkin says, "The kiddie data heist is happening out in the open---with Washington politicians and bureaucrats as brazen co-conspirators."

She says, "Facebook is just one of the tech giants partnering with the U.S. Department of Education and schools nationwide in pursuit of student data for meddling and profit. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Pearson, Knewton, and many more are cashing in on the Big Data boondoggle. State and federal educational databases provide countless opportunities for private companies exploiting public schoolchildren subjected to annual assessments, which exploded after adoption of the tech industry-supported Common Core 'standards,' tests, and aligned texts and curricula."

She's right.

The Every Student Succeeds Act has opened the door over the past several years to exploiting children on several fronts.

In 2015 the Truth in American Education group published their 12 concerns they had about this Act which included violating transparency, incentivizing states to maintain Common Core, data collection on attitudes, behaviors and mindsets of children and family information that went into statewide longitudinal data systems, concern about the erosion of states influence over education, federal control of standards, profiting by private corporations, erosion of local control and data privacy and the undermining of parental authority.

They noted in their statement that it "Appears Speaker Ryan will continue the same strategies that stoked public anger against Speaker Boehner."

And he has.

Malkin mentions the so-called school-to-work pipeline that has been pushed by the Left, that "creates endless avenues into taxpayer coffers" under the guise of matching student's skill sets with needs in the workplace.

She points out this example:

Facebook, for example, joined with the Department of Education's federally sponsored Digital Promise initiative last fall to develop a system of "micro-credentialing" badges for adult students in digital marketing. You can be sure it's not merely out of benevolence and public interest that Zuckerberg's empire is training thousands of these students to learn "Social Media Marketing Basics," "Marketing with Facebook Pages," "Marketing with Facebook Ads" and "Marketing with Instagram."
As parent and educational privacy advocate Cheri Kiesecker reported, the Facebook/Digital Promise partnership is "a wonderful data collection and marketing tool for Facebook and the US Department of Ed, but it is incredibly alarming for students' privacy and security."
Facebook is on the march from luring adult students into its orbit to encroaching on secondary and elementary school-age users through its Messenger Kids app and "whole-child personalized learning" programs funded through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. CZI, a "philanthropic investment company" funded with up to $1 billion in Facebook shares over the next three years, is headed by Jim Shelton. He's a former program officer at the Gates Foundation and a key Common Core champion in the Obama administration.

She also notes that Google has infiltrated schools through its "free" Google Apps for Education (GAFE) suite. Google is building a brand loyalty through its certification program that essentially, Malkin says, "turns teachers into tax-subsidized lobbyists for the company. They are trained to use GAFE then go into private consulting and sell the products to schools, which produces students who use GAFE."

Over the past 4 years, GOOGLE has admitted "scanning and indexing" student email messages sent using GAFE and data mining student users for commercial gain when they use their accounts for noneducational purposes. Google collects the student/family data using it for targeted advertising and for sale to other advertisers.

This week, 23 parent and education watchdog groups filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission alleging that Google is violating child protection laws by collecting personal data of and advertising to those aged under 13.

The environment for this was created by the Obama administration.

President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are aware and are working to protect the kids. Support them. Pray for them.

And be informed, because...

Psalm 127:3-5: 
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.