Online Database Used to Track Students’ Academic Paths

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Reuters’ Stephanie Simon recently reported that a new online database was built to record the academic paths of public school students as they advance from kindergarten through high school.

“In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number,” Simon wrote. “Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.”

Simon explained that the custom online database was a joint project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from several different states. The online database infrastructure took approximately 18 months for Amplify Education, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., to construct. After completion, the database was turned over to new nonprofit inBloom for future administration. The service is free for now, and there have been seven states to jump on board so far: Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Louisiana and New York.

In a recent SchoolBook article, contributor Ilya Marritz reported that some public school parents have expressed concern over their children’s information being placed into this gigantic database. However, the database does give control over student files to school administrators, so they can decide to provide access to some information without detailing social security numbers or any disability records. In addition, inBloom has pledged to guard the data tightly, applying necessary safeguards to ensure there is no data breach.