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Common Core Curriculum forum raises questions about child privacy

By ALLISON NORLIAN

MORRIS, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Common Core Curriculum was the topic of an informational forum on Wednesday night, held by two educators along with local parents at the American Legion in Morris. Interested residents came out to listen to the presenters talk about issues surrounding the curriculum, with the topic of student privacy at the forefront.

Jamie and Jessica McNair, both parents and educator's spoke their minds about what they feel is wrong with the core and how it has personally affected their six year old son. The issues they pointed out range from what they call a 'one size fits all,' teaching style to data mining, or the process of collecting personal and education information about each student. They talk directly about Electronic Data Portal (EDP,) inBloom, a personal data storage cloud and dashboard, used for schools, parents and students to access the students data.

Jamie McNair said to imagine storing music or pictures, that's what's happening to students across New York States personal information, "The goal is to get all kinds of data about kids all across the country, aggregate it into one spot," McNair said, "where it will then be available for districts to take that information back and use it to make an educational decision."

Although McNair said this sounds promising, what disconcerts him is that parents and school districts can't opt out of filing their children's information, " That's personally identifying information, health history records, student disciplinary records, family relationships, the kinds of things parents should have say about whether or not that stuff goes up into the cloud," McNair said.

McNair explained that the Electronic Data Portal is New York State's data system where student information is collected, then it is stored in inBloom, a non profit company, formerly known as the Shared Learning Collaborative, originally funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation of New York. Inbloom is said to assist schools with managing data that is stored in the cloud, the data can be shared between inBloom and for profit vendors. Finally, the Dashboard is used for schools, parents and students to access data. These services are free for two years, after this, school districts are responsible for the cost.

McNair also said inBloom cannot guarantee the security of the information stores, or that the information will not be intercepted when transmitted.

Other parents also spoke at the forum including Julie Webb Bigger, mother of two sets of twins. Webb-Bigger is currently fighting to end the core, for what she believes is destroying the education system, " Some guy across the world taking all the data points that have been uploaded to the inBloom cloud and have been boiled down my kid to a number."

The McNair's also said the Common Core may raise residents taxes because a new curriculum means new textbooks, teacher training, materials and tools.

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