Town hall on student privacy contracts

There will be a town hall meeting on the privacy of student records on Monday, April 29 at 6 p.m. at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

The meeting is sponsored by the Brooklyn Parent Academy; Assemblymembers Danny O’Donnell, James Brennan, William Colton, Nicole Malliotakis and Peter Abbate; State Senators Liz Krueger and Martin Golden; New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, New York City Council Education Chair Robert Jackson; Councilmembers Gale Brewer and Leticia James; Class Size Matters; the Learning Disabilities Association of New York; the Community Education Councils of Districts 1, 3, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22; and the Citywide Council for Special Education.

It will give parents a choice to voice their concerns about the Department of Education’s new plan to share students’ confidential, personal school records with inBloom Inc., a for-profit corporation.

Sensitive information — including names, addresses, photos, test scores, grades, economic and racial status, and most likely disciplinary and health records — will be stored on a data cloud and disclosed to for-profit corporation to help them develop and market “learning products.”

Locally, CEC District 20 has already unanimously passed a resolution against the practice and Golden has co-sponsored a bill that would make it illegal.

The CEC 20 resolution affirms the council’s position that the DOE should, “Notify parents of these impending disclosures and provide them with the right to consent before their child’s information is shared; hold public hearings to explain the point of these disclosures, and hear the concerns of parents and privacy experts about how this plan risks children’s privacy, security and safety; explain how families can obtain relief if their children are harmed by the improper use or accidental release of this information, including who will be held financially responsible; [and] pledge that the privacy rights of public school children and their families will be respected over the interests of the Gates Foundation, inBloom Inc., News Corp, or any other company or organization.”

“Selling a student’s personal information to third parties without parental notification, and parental and student acceptance, is unacceptable,” contended Golden, whose legislation “would require parental consent to release information to corporations and outside groups.” This, he said, would “give parents and students their right to privacy.”

For more information, call CEC District 20 at 718-759-3921 or CEC District 21 at 718- 333-3885.

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