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InBloom is out

New York Teacher

It’s the end of the road for the controversial student data platform inBloom in New York State.

On April 2, the New York State Education Department — under mandate from the state Legislature — severed its ties with inBloom, a nonprofit funded by the Gates and Carnegie foundations, which had contracted with Rupert Murdoch’s education division, Amplify, to gather confidential student data. The division is led by Joel Klein, the former New York City schools chancellor.

New York was the last of nine states to back away from plans to transfer confidential student information such as grades; test scores; disabilities; and incarceration, suspension and attendance records to inBloom for posting to an Amazon-run cloud database.

While it was promoted as being a useful way for parents and educators to track student progress and learn where they needed additional academic help, inBloom raised alarm among parents and others about the potential for sensitive student information to be hacked or subject to data mining by colleges and for-profit software companies.

In testimony before the New York State Assembly Committee on Education in November 2013, UFT Vice President for Education Catalina Fortino said the union opposed the release of sensitive student data unless parents themselves wanted that information released.

“Public institutions need to be guardians for our children; in fact, it’s one of their most important roles,” Fortino said. “This risky proposition does the opposite.”