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Parents Mobilize Against States' Student Data Mining

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the you-can-trust-us dept.

Education 139

theodp writes 'Politico reports that parents have mobilized into an unexpected political force to fight the data mining of their children, catapulting student privacy to prominence in statehouses. Having already torpedoed the $100 million, Bill Gates-funded inBloom database project, which could have made it easier for schools to share confidential student records with private companies, the amateur activists are now rallying against another perceived threat: huge state databases being built to track children for more than two decades, from as early as infancy through the start of their careers. "The Education Department," writes Stephanie Simon, "lists hundreds of questions that it urges states to answer about each child in the public school system: Did she make friends easily as a toddler? Was he disciplined for fighting as a teen? Did he take geometry? Does she suffer from mental illness? Did he go to college? Did he graduate? How much does he earn?" Leonie Haimson, a NY mother who is organizing a national Parent Coalition for Student Privacy says, "Every parent I've talked to has been horrified. We just don't want our kids tracked from cradle to grave." For their part, ed tech entrepreneurs and school reformers are both bewildered by and anxious about the backlash — and struggling to craft a response, having assumed parents would support their vision: to mine vast quantities of data for insights into what's working, and what's not, for individual students and for the education system as a whole. "People took for granted that parents would understand [the benefits], that it was self-evident," said Michael Horn, a co-founder an education think tank."

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Good (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#47182953)

Facebook's evil laughter as their monopoly on distributing childrens' personal information becomes secure from local governments inadvertent competition. Elsewhere a "marketing expert" begins the process to pony up an extra half-cent per human being whose privacy is permanently and irrevocably destroyed.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183041)

the irony is dripping of course about facebook.

it's too bad. I mean I know a lot of folks are weary of government tracking, but it's this kind of data that helps social science to find ways of improving society as a whole

Re:Good (5, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#47183065)

Maybe it does. We haven't collectively decided to become an open society, though. So really all that's really happening is that people and their personal lives are being attacked from multiple directions.

I think if we did decide to become a less private and personal culture, it wouldn't be a terrible dystopia, but that's sure as hell not my decision to make on the behalf of others. The default understood social contract of the US is one of separate and distinct personal and public lives.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183909)

Data mining of children is sooooo wrong.
These gov's and corp's wish to know, indoctrinate and own your souls into a lifetime of servitude as young as they can possibly get you. FUCK THAT!!!
REVOLT NOW you stupid sheeple!!!

Re:Good (3, Interesting)

knightghost (861069) | about 7 months ago | (#47184471)

Parents that I know aren't bothered that information is being gathered, but what is being gathered, who uses it, and how they use it. "Did he/she make friends in 1st grade" is not something you want dragging around decades later. We've already had laws passed banning the use of DNA for excluding people - now people are revolting against their digital DNA running into the same abuses. Maybe we should start calling it "eDNA" as a comparison that people understand.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47185169)

Its the questions that are being pathetically asked. And other questions that these kids will be answering on a Census Form when they are adults obviously not all of them will be filling Census Reports.

I can see that the data their trying to collect by the questions being asked is to measure the mental capacity of students per region, poor, middle class, wealthy, city, urban, rural, ect.. And I have said this before, this is for the schools to do, this is why I have to pay real estate taxes, I better see this staying within a schools records and stay there.

Their jobs are to monitor students and let parents know if they believe their child has a problem and what they could possibly do to help their child along. There is absolutely no need for this type of data collection for a bunch of assholes, which by the way aren't doing anything to better learning with their defunct education efforts. So I do not want to hear their bullshit over how righteous and progressive this type of tracking is going to be for education.

The schools continue to add 'special teachers' and other staff, psychologists, counselors, ect.., for these very problems.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47186105)

the irony is dripping of course about facebook.

it's too bad. I mean I know a lot of folks are weary of government tracking, but it's this kind of data that helps social science to find ways of improving society as a whole

Unfortunately it seems that those with the information seem to consider making themselves rich to be the best improvement to society.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183063)

... distributing childrens' personal information ...

This is self-inflicted and while still alarming, never contains the child's grades, health records and discipline problems which probably includes some other child's problem that this child was blamed for.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 7 months ago | (#47183139)

Damn right it's good. It's high time parents started ripping out the Surveillance State infrastructure by the roots before their kids find themselves in a world without privacy.

There's no issue more important than this. Ubiquitous surveillance impacts negatively on every other important issue. Economy? You will never have broad-based prosperity in a surveillance state. Health care? It's obvious. Education. Read TFA.

The explosion of intrusion over the past decade has completely transformed me politically. We've got individual privacy eroding at an accelerated pace and institutional secrecy doing the same. That's a really bad trend.

There can be no free society among people who are being watched.

Re:Good (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#47183173)

There can be no free society among people who are being watched.

I'd contest that in theory, but with the current ability we have to build in protections into a government against abuse, in practice it's absolutely true.

I just also think that the corporate interests at play here cause substantial harm too.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47184109)

A corporation is formed when someone pays the government for access to a special legal system. There is no "too".

Re:Good (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 7 months ago | (#47183493)

Can you give a general description of the political transformation you have gone through?
Basically, what were your politics as a teenager, college age or early jobs, before or after 9/11, and now.

I don't mean anything personally detailed, but the highpoints that have changed.

(And I promise I'm not asking to find something to attack you on. I'm genuinely interested in these things.)

Re:Good (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 7 months ago | (#47184823)

However, there can be very little in the way of social science research without watching people as well. The problem here lies with a current rash of new stories about privacy intrusion so that everyone is now nervous about anything remotely related to it. Ten years ago I suspect parents would not have strongly objected to such a program, but today it's considered suspicious. Even if there were very high safeguards in place to protect individual privacy people don't want to get anywhere near it. So it's a setback for research into education, and we're left with the fallback of deciding what to do based upon which politicians can shout the loudest rather than referring to evidence.

Next up, people protest the census as an unwarranted intrusion.

Re:Good (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 6 months ago | (#47185663)

The feedback loop can be closer than 'data' being gathered by giant bureaucracies and then directives sent down to the teachers in the schools. For instance, good teachers can pay attention to the specific children they are charged with teaching. Which happens a lot, let's not cut down the good effort our teachers make. The feedback loop should be at a micro scale, not a macro scale. Politicians shouldn't be in the loop at all, unless by 'politicians' it is meant elected School Board Members.

move over China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47182991)

the American Dangan cometh

Not Anticipated (2)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | about 7 months ago | (#47182993)

Is it possible they were so high in their walled garden that they couldn't perceive or predict possible backlash?

Re:Not Anticipated (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#47183045)

No, it's just that privatization has become incredibly normalized, and the idea of pushing out government duties to contractors(and the potential abuse that entails) is second nature nowadays. If you honestly think this is the only time student records got entered into a third party system without consideration of the effects, I've got some minor's personal data to sell you.

Re:Not Anticipated (-1, Offtopic)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 7 months ago | (#47183315)

we need a popular meme to quote on the fact that you dont need government to employ contractors for things to go horribly wrong.

How about:

"All the evidence is that governments can make things go horribly wrong successfully without outside help - often for the same price or higher!"

Thanks, I will take the credit myself!

Re:Not Anticipated (1)

cogeek (2425448) | about 7 months ago | (#47183059)

More likely they were just high. It's ridiculous to think that what works for kids in Florida works for kids in Hawaii, or what works for kids in Arizona works for kids in New York. This kind of data is just meant for tracking, it wouldn't be used to improve a thing.

Re:Not Anticipated (5, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 7 months ago | (#47183149)

More likely they were just high. It's ridiculous to think that what works for kids in Florida works for kids in Hawaii, or what works for kids in Arizona works for kids in New York. This kind of data is just meant for tracking, it wouldn't be used to improve a thing.

That's why they include location data.

Really: the goals are pretty good -- use machine learning to get the correlations instead of depending on the all-too-fallible "common sense". The problem is, the goals and the implementation are only loosely related. The researchers are trying to do the right thing, but in the process they're creating a database that can be abused intentionally or inadvertently for other goals. There's a reason HIPAA exists; this system would not just do an end-run around HIPAA, it would do much more. This data would become one of the most valuable assets to many corporations and government agencies in the US (and beyond).

Re:Not Anticipated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183937)

You think HIPAA is there to protect YOU?.... WRONG, it's there to make it easier for them to get and share data about you. Any data you give them gives them power over you. FUCK THAT.
REVOLT NOW!!!

Re:Not Anticipated (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 7 months ago | (#47184839)

You're a bit nuts. The doctors and hospitals already have the data they obtained when you visited them. They have had this information since writing was invented. What HIPAA does it put requirements in place that this information can not be shared and must be protected. Get rid of HIPAA then there's no law that prevents your medical information from being sold or left lying around in the open for any journalist to see.

The benefits are obvious (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183003)

The benefits are indeed obvious, as long as you trust the people holding the data....

Re:The benefits are obvious (2, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#47183093)

There are two ways for this not to be a disaster, and we can't make up our minds about what we want:

1. Information wants to be free and we live lives where everyone can find out whatever they want about us, and we collectively use that to hold those in power responsible too.
2. We find a way to secure and limit the availability of data both to regular people and powerful people.

As it stands we're on a course where information inflates a information imbalance that exacerbates a power imbalance that already exists.

Re:The benefits are obvious (0, Troll)

x0ra (1249540) | about 7 months ago | (#47183399)

The protection already exist, it is called the 2nd Amendment.

Re:The benefits are obvious (2, Insightful)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 7 months ago | (#47183839)

"Information wants to be free" is incredibly misused.

If I learn something, chances are I want to spread that information to others. The number of YouTube instructional videos for which there is no conceivable audience is a testament to that. Also, the number of mis-informative videos is likewise a testament.

If I invent something e.g. patentable, I may not be able to share the details with people, but I am probably going to tell people I have a patent. It's part of the "I would like to tell you but I can't so I'll tell you I know something" sort of mentality. Learn a secret? Either you tell someone the secret, or you tell them you have a secret.

Learning, knowledge, and facts want to be free. Quotable movie lines, which summarize and in part relive the experience, want to be free. Shocking or unusual details want to be free, such as that celebrity who showed up nearly nude to that event.

Copyrighted works don't want to be free, and big data certainly does not want to be free - if it even wants to be collected in the first place. There are reasons why "Information wants to be free" might be applicable to copyright cases - especially when the prosecution thinks copyright applies, but it really doesn't. Same for patents et. al.

In summation, "Information wants to be free" does not belong in an argument about collecting data on children. Not for people in general for that matter, but especially not for children.

So yes, we can make up our minds. Uninformed parents have seen what's wrong with this, and have taken action. They still use FaceBook, web mail, cell phones with location data turned on, and all sorts of ridiculous privacy invading tools and apps and everything else, but they aren't going to allow this. "We", defined by enough people to make a difference, as opposed to the slashdot audience that makes up fractions of a percent, have made up our minds.

I don't disagree with your last sentence. But it stands without needing support by the rest of your post.

Re:The benefits are obvious (1)

richlv (778496) | about 6 months ago | (#47185771)

If I invent something e.g. patentable, I may not be able to share the details with people, but I am probably going to tell people I have a patent.

patents are supposed to disclose invention in detail - i don't think i'm following your point here

Re:The benefits are obvious (2)

BabaChazz (917957) | about 7 months ago | (#47183095)

Exactly. There are very real benefits to this program, and if I felt that I could trust the people putting it together to keep the information private, I'd be all for it. The thing is, there is nobody I can trust with this sort of information about my children except me and their mother.

Re:The benefits are obvious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183623)

Sorry it came up in pillow talk she says your not trustworthy

Re:The benefits are obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47185411)

His what is not trustworthy?

Who benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183013)

Not the kids, that's for damn sure.

Re:Who benefits? (3, Interesting)

queazocotal (915608) | about 7 months ago | (#47184103)

Done right - yes, the kids.

Education is not done at the moment in general in a rational manner.

The process is typically that a politician gets an idea. (which they may even believe).
They then either implement this in their area of influence, or if they are especially progressive, do a poorly setup trial, which they then ignore before rolling it out.

The problem is things that seem reasonable often produce the exact opposite result.

Take for example 'Scared Straight' programs - where troubled teens are taken on prison visits, to see what future awaits them and to help turn their life around. Seems obvious it'll work, so nobody checked.
Unfortunately, when they did:
'A study by Anthony Petrosino and researchers at the Campbell Collaboration analyzed results from nine Scared Straight programs and found that such programs generally increased crime up to 28 percent in the experimental group when compared to a no-treatment control group. ... found that youth who participate in Scared Straight and other similar deterrence programs have higher recidivism rates than youth in control groups.'

There is real debate as to the best way to teach kids to read.
Proper statistics measuring outcomes for each way answers this.

Should this data ever be available outside education, and should there be extreme penalties for using such data in such contexts as insurance- of course not, and yes!.
(I'd start at a million dollars per offence)

https://www.ncjrs.gov/html/ojj... [ncjrs.gov]

Re:Who benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47184165)

Can you point to any successful intervention that has come out of educational research? I'm not familiar with the field beyond EF Lindquist being the origin of the NHST hybrid approach to statistics.

Re:Who benefits? (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about 7 months ago | (#47184211)

It's not really been done.
I'm more talking about what comes after educational research, when you've got two alternatives that seem reasonable.
At the moment, a policy gets either implemented, or not, perhaps after testing it in one school with no control group.

You pick 20 schools. Now, at 10 of them randomly, you implement policy A. At the other 10, policy B.
Now you actually have reasonable statistics to use to see which one works.

Re:Who benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47184567)

I think that approach has proven to be flawed when applied to psych/sociology/etc over the last 50 years. When comparing two groups of people they will always be different, so experiments like that can never be taken as strong evidence for a "treatment effect". In other words, the ceterus paribus assumption is wrong and we don't know how much unknown factors have influenced the results. On top of that, people's response to some educational intervention is probably not stationary, it will change due to other aspects of the environment changing. So extrapolating from one group to others at different locations and times is not really justified.

In the end all we get is a bunch of hints until someone comes up with a theory that integrates these into a model that makes numerical or existential predictions that can be tested, the statistics aspect isn't really helpful. Stats only tells you about sampling error, which is important, but systematic error and alternative causes for the observations are usually much more important (but we have no algorithm to plug those into so they get little attention).

Re:Who benefits? (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | about 6 months ago | (#47185977)

I came here to say just this. You've saved me a lot of typing. :-) I want to add that there's a trend towards "evidence-based medicine" right now. You know, actually studying the effects of treatment to see that it's doing what it's intended to do. Seems obvious, right? Hopefully what this article describes is a step towards evidence-based education. Done correctly (aye, there's the rub) with proper anonymization this sort of information could be hugely beneficial to future students.

2 Decades (3, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#47183031)

huge state databases being built to track children for more than two decades, from as early as infancy through the start of their careers

2 decades? Try the rest of their lives.

Get 'em young, make 'em yours before they learn what "dissent" means.

Re:2 Decades (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#47183119)

Please, in spite of how much worse some things have gotten, the respect for dissent in the US has expanded, no contracted. Hell, both major parties like to cast themselves as rebels against the system because of how popular the notion has become.

Re:2 Decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183203)

How are you measuring this? By what metric? Do you have a supporting reference?

Re:2 Decades (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#47183265)

I think I made it clear that that was subjective and provided a relatively simple observation in support. I suppose the best way to answer your query would be to ask what makes you incredulous and tailor my response at that.

Re:2 Decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183313)

Measured by the lack of supporting Nobel Peace prizes for Obama since he's taken office.

Re:2 Decades (5, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | about 7 months ago | (#47183671)

Please, in spite of how much worse some things have gotten, the respect for dissent in the US has expanded, no contracted.

I'm not sure about that. Daniel Ellsberg went free. Bradley Manning went to jail. Snowden and Assange have arrest warrants out for him.

Back in the 1950s, the FBI identified spies, like Stephen Hall, that they decided not to prosecute, because in court the accused had a right to hear the evidence against him under the Fifth Amendment, and the FBI decided it wasn't worth having their sources and methods disclosed.

Now, they prosecute somebody, and simply say that the defendant doesn't have a right to hear the evidence against him, and the Constitution doesn't apply.

Re:2 Decades (3, Insightful)

blackiner (2787381) | about 7 months ago | (#47184207)

Now, they prosecute somebody, and simply say that the defendant doesn't have a right to hear the evidence against him, and the Constitution doesn't apply.

Oh it is worse than that. Nowadays they send in US Marshals to destroy evidence so that the courts do not even get a chance to deny access to the evidence.

Re:2 Decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47185639)

Oh it is worse than that. Nowadays they send in US Marshals to destroy evidence so that the courts do not even get a chance to deny access to the evidence.

Oh, it's worse than that. Nowadays, they deputize a local policeman working with the evidence as a Federal Marshal and order the newly deputized Federal Marshal to confiscate or destroy the evidence. (Stingray)

Re:2 Decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47184317)

Snowden and Assange have arrest warrants out for him.

Don't kid yourself, Obama has already signed the death order on Snowden, they are just waiting till he is no longer being watched by the media. Assange is a minor irritation at best, but Snowden they are desperate to make an example of.

Re:2 Decades (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 7 months ago | (#47183509)

Dissent is allowed in America. Anybody who doesn't like it... what other crimes are you committing? We're sure you're covering one somehow... how about unelected government?

What's hugely self-evident is the coming abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183049)

You'll have marketers lining up around the block, state educators lining their own pockets with the cash, law enforcement combing through the data for parallel reconstruction purposes, hackers stealing identities for credit card fraud.

What a hugely stupid idea.

Idiots... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#47183055)

Anyone who thought that the virtues of this scheme would be 'self-evident' must be a real pleasure to deal with... I'm just curious whether it's the cluelessness or the arrogance that you notice first.

Re:Idiots... (2)

pla (258480) | about 7 months ago | (#47183607)

Anyone who thought that the virtues of this scheme would be 'self-evident' must be a real pleasure to deal with.

In fairness, the virtues do sound self-evident - If you have the goal of implementing a totalitarian regime on the 50 year horizon. You can slowly figure out who supports you, who won't care, and who will actively mobilize against you... And then just find some pretense to lock the latter group up for the majority of their adult life.

Now, the stated goals? Not even realistic. Although aggregating at a larger scale might tease out a few hints, individual school districts and even whole states have already had that level of detail available for decades, and yet consistently deny the single most useful finding we have - Smaller class sizes mean better outcomes. If even remotely serious, this just means they have their fingers crossed that somehow, they'll find a way to prove that every student does best when we completely eliminate teachers and physical school buildings, and instead give out iPads that record everything that happens in the kids' homes.

Re:Idiots... (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 7 months ago | (#47183739)

The focus here is not on population outcomes, which smaller class size would help.

The focus in on individual outcomes.

Wouldn't collective outcomes help individual ones? Sure. But if they can pick the low hanging fruit on individual outcomes, the population is helped, but with little or no extra cost.

The virtues of having a normalized database with readily available information should be self evident, if you aren't going to leap to the "indoctrination and control" conclusion. If you insist that this level of detail has been widely available for decades outside of a few progressive areas, you are positively psychotic, living in a made up world.

Of course this will be abused - that goes without saying for every database of human behavior. Will the abuse outweigh the benefits? Apparently lots of people think so. I'm not defending it. But if you put away your conspiracy theories for a minute and actually think about this, it really does propose some benefit that doesn't already exist. I really cannot in good conscience let you think the only benefit to this is a few hints.

By refusing to see the potential positives, you are blind to alternative ways we can get the same benefits without exposing gathered data to business interests and potential abuse.

The virtues are self-evident. And if they are not self-evident, you are not informed enough to have an opinion. The negatives are not self-evident, but parents have nevertheless found them.

Re:Idiots... (2)

pla (258480) | about 7 months ago | (#47184415)

If you insist that this level of detail has been widely available for decades outside of a few progressive areas, you are positively psychotic, living in a made up world.

Instead of calling me crazy, how about you point me to the mind-blowing success those few progressive areas have experienced directly as a result of their utopian panopticons?


The virtues are self-evident. And if they are not self-evident, you are not informed enough to have an opinion. The negatives are not self-evident, but parents have nevertheless found them.

I have to ask - How did you steel yourself against the death cries of the English language when you twisted "self evident" to mean something that requires an informed perspective, in the same breath that you would deny that phrase to the observations of the masses? Brilliant!


The focus in on individual outcomes.

Ah, and we get to one plausible non-Orwellian motivation here... The brightest kids, the ones that become the next Einstein or Fuller, already tend to self-serve in a deficient educational environment. Thus, your focus on "individual outcomes" means yet another way we can spend a quarter of a million per year per tod to teach them how to tie their shoes and wipe their own asses by grade 12. Thanks, but I'd take a marginally better educated general population over that any day.

Re:Idiots... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 6 months ago | (#47184995)

How does one decide that education strategies work or do not work, without measuring the results? How does one decide that a good night's sleep followed by a good breakfast increases or decreases academic performance without measuring something and keeping data? You can't just rely on common sense because that is not always right.

The data is useful. Howeve I agree that the data should be strongly protected, never used for advertising, never associated with the name or public means of identifying the student. Problem is now that there is a growing movement to distrust everyone and everything (except politicians that they agree with), no measurement, no data collection, no anything at all except to run schools the same way we always have (or whatever way the politicians we like tell us to do).

Re:Idiots... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#47185011)

I'm not actually thinking of the 'indoctrination and control' outcome (if anything, concerned parents are usually the ones who want Junior to absorb as many facts as his little head can hold, so he can get into a good college and Succeed). I'm thinking more of the "it's usually easier to game the metrics than it is to improve what they are trying to measure" problem.

Consider the example of "The Texas Miracle" in education that was a big thing ~2000: they went with a (theoretically plausible and benign) collection of data-driven and performance driven educational reform strategies and Hooray! results improved on all manner of metrics, success. Except that, on closer inspection, most of the reform efforts had simply gone into cooking the books more creatively, getting problem students out before they took any tests that couldn't be faked, and so on. At best, simply an increase in dishonesty overhead. At worst, actively perverse incentives.

You also have the example of something like medicine, where the perverse incentives surrounding better data are in plain sight: from a research and treatment perspective, better population data and case history data are an obvious win; but making sure that you don't end up having to deal with the real sickies is even better for your numbers(and costs) than more efficiently dealing with them is. Yes, we try to ban this; but bans that run counter to incentives are a bit of an uphill battle.

Finally, we have the general historical example of mission creep. You create a database that juicy and it is going absolutely nowhere, which gives assorted interested parties more or less unlimited time to chisel away at any initial restrictions on its use. That's hardly paranoia, just what happens to every body of data interesting enough to be worth collecting.

Re:Idiots... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 months ago | (#47186029)

if you aren't going to leap to the "indoctrination and control" conclusion

The problem isn't when we leap to that conclusion, but rather when the people owning the database do. Sure, I can see the potential positives. I can also see the potential negatives. Those nix the project.

Re:Idiots... (1)

davecb (6526) | about 7 months ago | (#47183877)

It's obvious: children are prey and parents will be happy with other adults targeting them in new and interesting ways.

Benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183077)

Benefits, my hind parts! Protect your children's information.

It is about North Korea. Right? (1)

Greg666NYC (3665779) | about 7 months ago | (#47183079)

STASI type surveillance, over-present security forces. Cops in kindergartens, schools and grocery stores.
This story is for sure about some North country.

Re:It is about North Korea. Right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183321)

Wait... cops in kindergartens? Who is your daddy and what does he do?

inBloom Database (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183091)

Hey - He's the one
  Who provides us all our funds
  And he likes to track our young
  And he likes data by the ton
  But he knows not what it means
  Don't know what it means, when I say:
 

Lack of Trust (3, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | about 7 months ago | (#47183135)

Every educator that I have known has acted with positive intent and a genuine desire to make the lives of future generations better. People do not go into education, especially in public schools, because they want to get rich or amass influence and personal power. They do so because they are gluttons for punishment and believe that it is their duty as human beings to make the world a better place.

As a society, we see our data being used against us. Where as the educators are trying to track the effectiveness of their programs, citizens are fearful of the data being mined for nefarious purposes. Some things that come to mind are, increased healthcare premiums / denial of coverage. Denied job opportunities due to invasive background screening. I am sure that the concerns that people have are numerous.

The other side of the equation is compelling though. If the educators are gathering data that showing people who failed or never took geometry end up making 50% less more than students who do pass geometry, they will more than likely look to tailor the curriculum to help students develop the skills and abilities required to pass geometry.

The other issue is monetization of data. Nobody wants to be a product, especially if they are not receiving any benefits. To use the geometry example above, if the data sets are being mined to extrapolate data like, "Students who pass geometry are 50% more likely to purchase a luxury automobile." and that data is then sold to marketers to target Facebook advertising, people are going to be understandably upset.

It all comes down to trust. Even if the educators can prove that their intentions are pure, what about the third parties they engage? What if the third party is initially pure, but then they go bankrupt and the personal data is sold as part of the liquidation of the company? Who is going to control what the fourth party does with it?

Re:Lack of Trust (3, Insightful)

x0ra (1249540) | about 7 months ago | (#47183377)

Do you realize that everybody does not share your belief that your child should make as much money as possible, but instead, do what they like. There is other metric than "money" to measure "success". If you are skilled for music and enjoy it, even if you make 50% less than a pure breed mathematician, you are still doing what you like. And you give no crap to geometry, or calculus.

Moreover, all teacher are not skilled the same way. I never understood anything in my bachelor linear algebra course for months. The teacher was utterly incompetent. A year after that, I read the book about AES, with an introduction to linear algebra, and I learnt more in a few page read in the library, than in months listening to the teacher...

Finally, the government isn't pure. I'd not be surprised to see the following happening:
[at an FFL dealer:]
John Doe: Hi, I'd like to buy this firearm
Vendor: Sure, sir, let me run the background check...
[time passes]
Vendor: Sorry, sir. The system has found out you fought a younger boy when you were 13, your background check failed. Please wait for the local LEO to come proceed to your arrest."
[/p]

Re:Lack of Trust (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 7 months ago | (#47183893)

You just assigned me a belief that I do not have. I was simply making an example. Replace "make more money" with "more likely to help an old lady across the street" if it makes you feel better.

Now are you asserting that because there are some incompetent teachers out there that educators should not tune their curriculum to produce more students who are inclined to help old ladies across the street?

You do realize that with a large enough sample size, the impact of singularly incompetent actors will not statistically influence the results, right?

Students have different learning styles. The algebra teacher who you thought was incompetent may have just had a teaching style that was incompatible with your learning style. I struggled with high school math in school and always had to retake it in summer school. The second time through, I got A's and finally absorbed the material. With regards to math, I needed to see the end state. Math was not taught to me in that way. It was taught in isolated steps that were pieced together to solve larger equations. Until I saw how everything fit together, I was unable to conceptualize the individual concepts and failed. Is that the teacher's fault? Is it mine? Or is it simply a fact that one size does not fit all in terms of education?

The records of violence that you are so concerned about are already recorded and are not stopping people from getting firearms. The records of minors are sealed when they turn 18.

Re:Lack of Trust (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 7 months ago | (#47184419)

I was simply making an example. Replace "make more money" with "more likely to help an old lady across the street" if it makes you feel better.

But that is the PROBLEM with this idea, It would be used to encourage children to follow the educational (and other) path which was determined as best for them by someone who may or may not share the values of their parents...or of the children. For that matter, the people determining what path the children should be encouraged to follow may not share the values of those in the community. And it is unlikely that what values are used to determine what path the children will be encouraged to follow will be open to evaluation. They will just use phrases, "But its for the good of the children."

Re:Lack of Trust (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 6 months ago | (#47185061)

Right. And every child is a special snowflake, so different than their peers and the generations that came before them. Heaven forbid that people who have dedicated their lives to educating children should be allowed to leverage data sets and discuss those data sets with their peers.

Children inherit their values from their parents until they are old enough to develop their own. The community are the educators who are teaching the children. Nerds talk about nerd stuff. Jocks talk about sports. Teachers talk about education. Children have plenty of opportunities to choose various paths. If as a parent you have problems with teachers doing what teachers do, then maybe you should educate your children yourself.

Personally, I went through the public school system and I turned out well enough. I can support myself and my family. I contribute to my community. I was in GATE (Gifted and Talented Education). It was one of those evil programs where educators got together and put together curriculums tailored to "Gifted and Talented" students. (http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/gt/gt/) There were criteria and tests required to get into it. I was ranked against my peers. Oddly enough, everything turned out alright in the end.

Re:Lack of Trust (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 6 months ago | (#47185919)

I am sorry, but you appeared to have missed my point. You initially said that this could be used to channel students into a program which would result in them making more money as adults. When someone pointed out that not everyone values making more money above all else, you responded "Well, fine. Then we can use it to make them more likely to help an old lady across the street." The problem is, which of those goals should the school system shoot for? And how do we as a society decide? Why should teachers decide what values are taught to the next generation? What makes them better qualified for that decision?
Ultimately, one of the problems with this program (and our education system in general) is, who gets to decide what values are used to decide what to teach our children?

Re:Lack of Trust (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 7 months ago | (#47183485)

Educational research is profoundly flawed, and often reflected the biases of the researchers. Most education are humanities people, without the decades of training in the scientific process and statistics. Some school districts expect adolescents to begin school at before 8 am, even though real research indicates that adolescents do not function as well as adolescents at that hour. A decade ago educators started taking about how brain research could help them, even though conferences on the subject were uniformly saying that brain science was no where near at a level to make this so. In fact a recent study of Lumonsity showed that transference was almost non existent for users of the site.

This is not to say that educators and educational researches are incompetent. It is just that the standards of research are often not as high. Research standards are, as they should be, focused on protecting the student. Really, the problem is isolating variables and proving causation. If you look at most results of the data analysis, one can still predict outcomes primarily on SES of the location of the school and whether the school is comprehensive or has some level of selectiveness. This is because no matter what the studies say, most researchers do not do a good enough job controlling for these variables. The problem is that flawed data will be used used against educations and students. Lets look at an extreme example. I know a very smart kid who got kicked out of every 'good' school in his city because he had a lack of impulse control. When confronted with tougher teachers who expected him to complete the AP and dual level classes he excelled, and matured. My concern about this database is stuff this kid did when he was 14 would effect his opportunities when he is 18. In general the 14 year old kid and 18 year old kid are completely different people. The good thing that might come out of this is that the good schools that failed the 14 year old kid would lose points for the failure, and the school the succeeded in helping him might gain points, but that did not happen. On a personal note, I went to a good good school, which is different from the average bad good school. They did the work to force me mature and excel. Every teacher there treated me as an individual to push to succeed, not a entry in database. I never felt like I was less of a student, even though I was below average for the school. This is what education is about. Not tracking who gets a job or goes to the best colleges, but conning kids into learning more that they think they might.

OTOH humanities [majors] understand paragraphs, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47184361)

OTOH humanities [majors] understand paragraphs, formatting, presentation, etc.

Had to stop reading because it was too painful to wade through your wall of text.

RE: even though real research indicates that adolescents do not function as well as adolescents at that hour.

And this contradiction is supposed to mean what exactly?

etc.

Re:Lack of Trust (1)

jma05 (897351) | about 6 months ago | (#47185569)

> Educational research is profoundly flawed, and often reflected the biases of the researchers.
> Most education are humanities people, without the decades of training in the scientific process and statistics.

That's not true. Every one with a PhD is expected to have statistical training. You don't need "decades" of training in stats. Most hard science PhDs don't have that. 4-5 grad courses will generally do. Research projects with any quantitative component will typically consult a statistician for at least a sanity check.

Scientific process differs from discipline to discipline. As for rigor, it is mostly dependent on subject issues. Rigor is hard in any discipline where human subjects are involved and where the research question involves multiple factors that cannot be easily controlled for (often for the lack of money, since very large samples will be required, if done by the book - so researchers settle for more humble expectations of clarity).

As you said it yourself, brain research is still not quite operational for everyday use. Isn't brain research (whatever you mean by that: neuro science, psychology, psychiatry?) a hard science? Even something as basic as nutrition science is pretty poor today for the basic questions we have for it. So why have great expectations over education research? Its just the nature of the problem domain.

Re:Lack of Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183629)

A lot of educators go in to education because it is an easy way to make a living. Many of those become Administrators, they are generally too lazy to use the reams of data to facilitate effective and efficient education, because once a better solution meet the union contract it loses.

I went into education as a second career, after 15 years I quit because I couldn't stand watching adults act dumber than the students they were teaching. Giving selfish people private information is foolish if you respect you kids.

The only group this is going to help is educational/industrial complex.

Re:Lack of Trust (2)

dcollins (135727) | about 7 months ago | (#47183747)

"If the educators are gathering data that showing people who failed or never took geometry end up making 50% less more than students who do pass geometry, they will more than likely look to tailor the curriculum to help students develop the skills and abilities required to pass geometry."

In schools, there are (at least) opposing camps: the educators (teachers in classrooms with students) and administrators (pointy-haired bosses). It's easy to overlook the very deep disconnect that these groups have within a school system. In the last 20-30 years, a tipping point has been crossed in which more money is spent on administration than teaching; shared governance has basically booted teachers to the curb, with the biggest decisions by admins only; most college teachers being contingent adjunct faculty (not tenured with protection from admin retaliation), etc.

Anyway, the people doing these giant database projects are generally not the educators you're looking for. They're Bill Gates, they're outside think tanks, they're private companies looking to sell a product and make a buck. In most high schools now the educators are not even in charge of the curriculum anymore, so they couldn't change it if they wanted to. I was talking to a local high school teacher who told me that he had to write down and formally file paperwork on any question or response who might deliver in the classroom; if an administrator walked in the room and heard him answering a question from a student that wasn't on the filed lesson plan, then he would receive an "unacceptable" job performance rating for that day. Stuff like that. The tighter you squeeze...

Re:Lack of Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183985)

Schools and govs have NO RIGHT to the freeform thoughts of our children.
REVOLT NOW!!!

Re:Lack of Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184991)

If the educators are gathering data that showing people who failed or never took geometry end up making 50% less more than students who do pass geometry, they will more than likely look to tailor the curriculum to help students develop the skills and abilities required to pass geometry.

Income is a lagging indicator. Just because geometry is useful now and those who took it 15 years ago are now better paid for it, does not mean that in 15 more years, it will still be in high demand. In 1999, COBOL was in high demand while the world was fixing Y2K. How screwed would kids graduating today be with a degree in COBOL?

Machine learning isn't magic. The rule of thumb is, if a human expert can't predict given the features you supply, then neither can the machine. An example would be real estate. I tell you a house has X sqft and Y bedrooms, then ask you to predict a price. You will be wrong. There simply isn't enough features or the right features (location) for a human expert to make an accurate prediction. Geometry and income are equally useless features that don't allow human experts to predict success. How then do they expect machines to do it?

Uhm... you need an educational backstory! (2)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 7 months ago | (#47183171)

If you fail to document yourself to a lot of people during your educational process, I can't hire you.

Re:Uhm... you need an educational backstory! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183319)

That's okay. I would not want to work at a place that judges me by social connections or who has my data and what data they collected about me. Even more so if the data was harvested during early childhood education. If employers can't or don't want to make the call by actually interviewing me and seeing my educational certs, then I wouldn't want to work there.

Re:Uhm... you need an educational backstory! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183335)

If you need more than an academic transcript and an interview to hire a graduate for a starting position, then you're not a very good employer, and you probably also have too much time on your hands and will micromanage people. In short, I pity anyone who works for you.

Re:Uhm... you need an educational backstory! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47184397)

Are you kidding? No one works for this pathetic poser.

Citizens to government (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 7 months ago | (#47183181)

It's none of your damned business! Butt out!

The value of homeschooling has gone up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183199)

+1 for the homeschooling movement: home schooling won't track you like a foreign NSA subject and make you subject to other's subjectivist opinions for all your life. I'm waiting for the next gen kids who really get it. Instead of hacking the school computer to change their grades, their going to hack the school computer to ERASE them. I wonder what the black market will price such services at?

Re: The value of homeschooling has gone up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47185817)

Homeschooling for the past 15-20 years has proven to break through the antiquated myths surrounding it.

I elaborate further on a thread at "liberalforum.net": (post #107)

http://www.liberalforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4329&u=0&start=100

While the thread is largely about common core (another Gates initiative that's failing), it's a snapshot of today's homeschooling world.

-TryingToHelp.

If. (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 7 months ago | (#47183211)

Both sides are right: Assuming it wasn't misused, it would be an excellent way to datamine by computer what things work and don't, for a variety of home issues and problems.

If it isn't misused.

If.

I can see CSI: Nosy Neighbors TV show, questioning a guy, "According to your school info, you have trouble making friends and once pulled up a girl's skirt. You murdered Mr. Body, didn't you?"

No, the temptation for this info to be datamined by companies or worse, government officials dealing with uppity troublemakers, is too great IMO.

Re:If. (5, Insightful)

sabri (584428) | about 7 months ago | (#47183901)

I can see CSI: Nosy Neighbors TV show, questioning a guy, "According to your school info, you have trouble making friends and once pulled up a girl's skirt. You murdered Mr. Body, didn't you?"

Exactly that.

If.

No, when.

Somewhere 5-10 years downstream, some politician/NYPD-chief will use the next Sandy Hook event to say "We had the troubling information in the school's database, but we couldn't use it. Let's change the law".

And we all know it's going to happen at some point.

Nothing new (4, Funny)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 7 months ago | (#47183275)

Teachers and vice principals have been warning students that their misbehaving and bad attitude were going on their permanent record for decades.

.

Re:Nothing new (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47184257)

Teachers and vice principals have been warning students that their misbehaving and bad attitude were going on their permanent record for decades.

I don't understand. What parent doesn't want his child continually monitored so he can be bombarded with targeted ads? This benefits society by getting rid of the dinnertime period of quiet discussion with continuous cries of "I want it, I want it, I WANT IT ... NOW!!! The man on my school tablet said if you really love me you'll buy one tonight!".

All sarcasm aside, I have watched our educational system devolve over the last two decades into being less and less about teaching reading/writing/arithmetic and more and more into teaching how to be a good consumer/sheeple.

Re:Nothing new (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 6 months ago | (#47185049)

But what about this is about training to be a consumer? This is about tracking data over time. What is really freaking people out is that current spate of privacy intrustions, so that now anyone who wants to track data is assumed to be some evil advertiser. Doesn't help that the Bill Gates name was attached to this article as an aside, now readers will assume that it's all about corporate greed. This is a knee jerk reaction.

We know the schools are broken, quite a lot of people are agreeing with that. However now people are saying that the tools that can be used to figure out how to fix the schools should not be used. We won't be able to know if a new school program is effective or not, because data collection is forbidden by the parents. Instead we have to rely on gut feelings which are very often wrong.

Benefits for whom ? (4, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | about 7 months ago | (#47183277)

"People took for granted that parents would understand [the benefits], that it was self-evident,"

Oh, I think that the parents understand the benefits fairly well. They just realize that they don't accrue to them or their children.

Re:Benefits for whom ? (1)

amosh (109566) | about 7 months ago | (#47183345)

I was about to post this exact same comment when I read yours. I agree 100%, mbone.

Benefit Understood. Cost Underestimated. (4, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 7 months ago | (#47183483)

"People took for granted that parents would understand [the benefits], that it was self-evident," said Michael Horn,

I'm sure they do. The benefits are self-evident. It is the people who have been advancing these programs who are lacking foresight, for not considering the costs.

The problem is not that these programs have no value, it is that the cost is large and not well understood, and that once built it is very hard to make these things go away. As a society we have not begun to seriously examine the threat of these massive databases. Recent [slashdot.org] big data [slashdot.org] research has shown us the approximate threat level: In terms of influence power, it is "very big, larger than even the researchers expected."

Missing from the conversation... (3, Interesting)

matbury (3458347) | about 7 months ago | (#47183581)

What's missing from the conversation is how internet surveillance data is actually used by real companies in the real world. The truth is shocking but we almost never hear about it. Here's an article from a UK satirical investigative journalism periodical:

"Eyespy

Dodgy data deals

SILICON Roundabout is the groovy name for the UK tech sector, backed with taxpayer cash through Big Society organisations like Tech City Investment Organisation and the Technology Strategy Board and estimated to be worth £225bn, or 12% of GDP, by 2016. But since almost all this will come from "big data" - information gathered for marketing purposes - our blossoming industry might more accurately be called Surveillance Roundabout.

Between them, consumer intelligence companies, credit reporting agencies and data marketing firms hold detailed and current information on almost the entire population. They often suffer data breaches at the hands of hackers, who then use the loot (name, address, national insurance number, etc) for identity theft and fraud. Since there is no law requiring big data companies to reveal hacking or even use encryption, it usually gets covered up. Only when the damage is massive do we see it in the news, as was the case with Experian, Barclays, Lexis-Nexis and Equifax recently.

Besides safekeeping, such an intrusive industry raises another question: is sensitive personal information now mere merchandise? Most UK data brokers have sense enough to hide their creepier practices, but there are exceptions. Clear Data Ltd, based in Herefordshire, advertises lists of old people ("over 65 and mostly female") waiting to be targeted by quack doctors, boiler room conmen, telephone raffle operators, and pyramid schemers in need of credulous targets. Data Broker Limited, from Cheshire, caters to predatory lenders — "[if you're] offering new loans to people With poor credit history and [county court Judgments against them], Databroker have the largest list related to loans for postal, telephone, mobile, SMS, email and social media campaigns".

The company also provides lists of consumers who "seek online relationships". If you can't get a loan or a shag, we'll let the right people know. Or if you're struggling with a betting habit, a firm like the Data Octopus of Manchester might pass on your details in one of its databases of habitual gamblers.

While Washington is looking hard at Silicon Valley data brokers in the US, a recent Senate inquiry describing them as secretive and opaque, the chances of scrutiny here look slim, even though some of the biggest companies directly named in the inquiry report — Epsilon, Experian and Acxiom — also operate extensively in the UK.

UK politicians love getting into bed with trendy tech companies — David Cameron has extensive connections with Google, the tax-dodging behemoth whose revenue model is data surveillance. And how many of our legislators and regulators know anything about the web? Judging by how the Data Protection Act is taken as a joke by techies and as a useless tool by prosecutors, few indeed."

Source: Private Eye, No. 1632, 21st March - 3rd April, 2014, Page 31.

What this hurts (2)

Hussman32 (751772) | about 7 months ago | (#47183707)

Let's say they start datamining and storing whether or not a child has received mental health care. Then what? Kids and their parents will prevent their children from getting the needed health care in order to prevent their child from being classified as 'aberrant' by what is well-known to be an inconsistent psychological practices.

Even worse. It will hurt redemption stories. In my own experience, I probably had too much fun when I was a kid. My grades were good but my friends were a varied lot, and some of them were not well-regarded by The Powers That Be (note I was in a small town, nails that stick out get hammered down). But I got wise, worked hard and smart on my education, and I'm doing well for myself. Would this have been possible if I were tracked during high school and automatically relegated to 'one of those ruffians?'

The parents are right to complain about this, much more harm than good comes from it.

Re:What this hurts (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 6 months ago | (#47185079)

"Tracking" here does not mean classifying the student immediately and putting them in programs. What it does do is provide a measurement over time of how a student is progressing. Such as do the students who went to pre-school do better in the 6th grade than those who skipped it? How much better do students do in school if they usually have a nutritious breakfast? Do students with a higher homework load succeed in academics more often than those with a lighter load? Do self esteem programs actually work or is it just magical thinking? These sorts of data require retaining the data over time and linking it to later data about the same student. None of this data retained by a state is given to individual teachers so that they can discriminate for or against a student.

Gates + Rupert Murdoch + NSA = inBloom (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47183953)

The owners of Slashdot are VERY careful, when covering inBloom, to avoid mentioning that Bill Gates partnered with Rupert "Fox News" Murdoch to create the system. You betas are told in every mainstream and George Soros controlled faux-independent news outlet that Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch are at opposite ends of the political and social engineering spectrum. In reality, Murdoch (Tony Blair's no.1 propagandist - the Goebbels of the modern age) and Gates are the best of friends, consider each other as very high-ranking 'elites', and share the same goal for the sheeple beneath them.

Rupert Murdoch, each Christmas, has a corporate Xmas card designed to the same them. It shows you betas as sheep. It shows the heads of Fox News, MSNBC etc as foxes manipulating you sheeple. Sometime the foxes are playing chess with sheep as pieces. Sometimes the foxes are driving sleds pulled by packs of sheep. Murdoch KNOWS you betas are far too thick to get the message, but then these Xmas cards are for people like his pal Gates, not for you.

inBloom was an experiment- at least the public facing part. Now inBloom has been moved to the full surveillance projects of the NSA, and future inBloom database information is drawn 'covertly' from online school database systems, and other sources. If a school is online, the NSA expects to access every piece of information that school records about their pupils.

inBloom is designed to be part of Gates' per-emptive program- BRAVE NEW WORLD style. Here, Gates argues that the sheeple must be processed and categorised from as early an age as possible, to best serve the interests of the elite. This theme is hardly new in the history of hyper-abusive regimes. Gates and Murdoch hoped the sheeple could be ruinously humiliated by forcing them to participate against the inBloom abuse against their will- slave training manuals from the 17th century in the USA stated that you 'BREAK' the will of adult slaves by proving to their faces that they cannot protect their own children. But even you US betas seem capable of some fight back against horrors like Common Core, inBloom and Kinect 2 NSA spying.

So they take 5 steps forward, and one step back. Murdoch is a vastly smarter monster than Gates (whom he considers a classic American racist eugenicist psychopathic useful idiot), so Murdoch sees only victory.

This will go on your permanent record (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47184029)

...

Public Schools (1)

volmtech (769154) | about 7 months ago | (#47184305)

Most teachers have a 50 year career. With statistics collected on every student the most effective teachers could be identified. These teachers could be recruited to teach the next generation of teachers. Somehow it seems that educators see every child as a unique snowflake and any information collected on the education of that child will be useless for the other 54 million students in the country.

It's the twenty-first century, you have no privacy, ask Donald Sterling. At least we can put that information to good use.

Re:Public Schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47184493)

50 years? on what planet? try more like early retirement (and perhaps a second career) after 20-30 years, for ones that don't get burned-out early.. the teacher that starts at 22 upon graduation from college and works continuously in the field well into their 70s in a very, very rare thing.

Re: Public Schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47184933)

Try an average of seven to ten years. The number who quit at three or seven years is tremendous. Practically no one makes it to fifty now. It's a socially despised job with low pay and zero respect, at least in Americaâ"things are very different in Europe. The people running teacher education programs in colleges are often dysfunctional and incompetent, and the curriculum in such programs fails to reflect the realities of the classroom. Teachers generally have no grasp of statistics or what to do with Big Data, so the mining programs will not pay off except for the corporate interests who get their hands on the data by some form of FERPA bypass, and they'll not be using the data in students' best interest. Honestly, schools in the US would be better off abandoning technology and focusing on teaching basic skills like real command of language and mathematics with books instead of iPads and standardized tests. The basics are eternal and can be taught without the help of inBloom and other data miners.

Allow Me To Translate (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 6 months ago | (#47184979)

Here we have parents who have come to know that their offspring has defects and wants a situation where truth is buried so that their brat will get out of the house and have less need to borrow money from them for the rest of their lives. Being that morality is a strange notion to them it does not occur that people with the best life record should be rewarded by society to a greater degree than people who, one way or another, are a mess. Yes some employers are creeps but some are not. And the employer who supports society by rewarding kids who have done well in school and had far fewer issues than the average kid get hired and promoted much faster than lesser folks. Assume that the data on two individuals is so close that one can not be told from the other. But one had a drunk driving arrest at the age of 14 when he swiped his mom's car. Which person should get the job at the age of 25? Everything counts for everybody every time. In the old days a wealthy family could cover up for a defective teen. Those days are vanishing. Now individuals may actually have to compete with other individuals with a lot more facts being known about everyone involved.

Re:Allow Me To Translate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47185585)

OK, let me clean that up.

So some rich I'm-more-equal-than-others asshole decided to post on /. that people who have had issues in the past should be tracked and penalized for the entirety of their lives, and that they can never mature or become normal and respected law-abiding citizens.

You sir are what is wrong with society, it's unwillingness to admit that people make mistakes (especially when they are young) and it's desire to punish (or in my opinion torture) people for those mistakes indefinitely.

People need to make mistakes, failure is the best teacher. And No, society should not reward someone who just so happens to have the least amount of dirt on them as the only reason for doing so. Some of that dirt may have been wiped off....

(To clarify, society has issues with forgiveness. I'd be more willing to tolerate a massive database of info on a person but only if society would not so quickly abuse it. Currently I have my doubts about that. In addition once this data is made, it's almost impossible to get rid of to prevent it's abuse.

Although I think people should be able to wear their mistakes in stride, doing so is social suicide, therefore they should do everything that they can to avoid that outcome.)

The road to hell is paved by stalkers (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 6 months ago | (#47185109)

That everyone seems to be clamoring for data is reason enough to distrust the motives of those engaged in the endeavor.

Well, the benefits (1)

yacc143 (975862) | about 6 months ago | (#47185749)

Guess the guys should have thought what the benefits but also drawbacks and costs are. Not only for them, but for all people involved.

Permanent Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47185781)

I want you to know that this will go down on your permanent record.

Oh, yeah? Well, don't get so distressed. Did I happen to mention that I'm impressed?

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