Parents of School-Age Children: You Need to Know About This

June 2, 2014 at 5:26 PM Leave a comment

School Desk wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Hey parents, the corporatocracy is tracking your kid — big time — beginning in kindergarten:

The NSA has nothing on the ed tech startup known as Knewton.

The data analytics firm has peered into the brains of more than 4 million students across the country. By monitoring every mouse click, every keystroke, every split-second hesitation as children work through digital textbooks, Knewton is able to find out not just what individual kids know, but how they think. It can tell who has trouble focusing on science before lunch — and who will struggle with fractions next Thursday.

Even as Congress moves to rein in the National Security Agency, private-sector data mining has galloped forward — perhaps nowhere faster than in education. Both Republicans and Democrats have embraced the practice. And the Obama administration has encouraged it, even relaxing federal privacy law to allow school districts to share student data more widely.

Of course the (stated) goal was to identify problems but were Democrats and the Obama administration really so stupid as to believe giving the corporatocracy this kind of access wouldn’t result in it running wild? Or maybe I should put it in another more blunt way:  How much did Knewton lobbyists slap on the table?  I mean, you know, what could possibly go wrong?
This is what could go wrong:
A POLITICO examination of hundreds of pages of privacy policies, terms of service and district contracts — as well as interviews with dozens of industry and legal experts — finds gaping holes in the protection of children’s privacy.

The amount of data being collected is staggering. Ed tech companies of all sizes, from basement startups to global conglomerates, have jumped into the game. The most adept are scooping up as many as 10 million unique data points on each child, each day. That’s orders of magnitude more data than Netflix or Facebook or even Google collect on their users.

Students are tracked as they play online games, watch videos, read books, take quizzes and run laps in physical education. The monitoring continues as they work on assignments from home, with companies logging children’s locations, homework schedules, Web browsing habits and, of course, their academic progress.


One can only imagine how the information being gathered about school kids today will be used in 10, 15, 20 years.  I shudder to think.



Entry filed under: Corporatocracy, Education.

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