Public School Students Entered into Permanent Electronic Database, Profiled, Sold For Profit

Here’s another thing my kids will miss out on at public school: Being profiled and tracked in a disturbingly detailed and effectively permanent new database.

From Reuters:

In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. 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.

Hang on to your hat, folks, it gets better:

Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services.

Entrepreneurs can’t wait.

“This is going to be a huge win for us,” said Jeffrey Olen, a product manager at CompassLearning, which sells education software.

Crony capitalism, long the norm at the federal level, is infecting the local scene, and in a big way. Public school students are going to be pigeonholed and profiled for profit. Long treated like cattle, they have now been upgraded.

To products.

Worse yet, the kind of information this database will contain is guaranteed to be abused. First, the information in the database must be provided by someone, and as described, much of it will be a matter of subjective evaluation. So what kind of implications will it have when the administrator making the observations which will be entered has an axe to grind with the student being profiled? What kind of mandatory programs will eventually be created and foisted on students as a result of characteristics observed by biased parties, which may not be accurate at all, and over which the students and parents have no control? What kind of academic experimentation will students be subject to as a result of all of this? These questions are just the first that quickly come to mind, but are not even scratching the surface of the implications of this Kafkaesque student database.

If this is the price of “personalized education” in public school, which is a contradiction in terms to begin with, then I say no sale.

Your public schools, on the other hand, say yes.

If you are able, I would suggest that you get your kids out of the Matrix.

Public school students observed in a school hallway.

Public school students observed in a school hallway.

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