Gates Foundation And Rupert Murdoch Unveil New Database To Track K-12 Students’ Personal Information

Kids’ grades, behavior, medical issues, and more—with their names and social security numbers attached—will be tracked by their public schools, entered in a database, and sold to private companies, in the name of improving educational services, Reuters reports:

The most influential new product [at the SXSWedu conference this week in Austin] may be a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students 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. 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.

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.

The database is a joint project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided most of the funding, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from several states. Amplify Education, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, built the infrastructure over the past 18 months. When it was ready, the Gates Foundation turned the database over to a newly created nonprofit, inBloom Inc, which will run it.

So far, seven states – Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Massachusetts – have committed to enter data from select school districts. Louisiana and New York will be entering nearly all student records statewide.

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  • saint_al

    Gotta call bullshit on the Gates Foundation. It’s all about cash and this round (I’m guessing) partly from Big Pharma… ‘medical issues’? Yeah, Ritalin or worse for the kids who don’t conform.

  • saint_al

    Gotta call bullshit on the Gates Foundation. It’s all about cash and this round (I’m guessing) partly from Big Pharma… ‘medical issues’? Yeah, Ritalin or worse for the kids who don’t conform.

  • saint_al

    Gotta call bullshit on the Gates Foundation. It’s all about cash and this round (I’m guessing) partly from Big Pharma… ‘medical issues’? Yeah, Ritalin or worse for the kids who don’t conform.

  • Anarchy Pony

    YOU. WILL. BE. ASSIMILATED.

  • happypedro

    Bill Gates is afflicted with that old dangerous eugenics-style big brother sickness. Consider what he is doing in light of this:

    http://www.wesjones.com/gatto1.htm

    And this:

    http://alfiekohn.org/books.htm

  • BuzzCoastin

    aggregating existing data is a natural consequence of databases & computers
    and it seems like Gates & Murdouch would have an affinity for both
    and most Homelanders now get a SS# at birth don’t they?
    and a birth certificate, drivers license or a dozen other state tracking systems

    so yeah, it’s an intrusive invasion of privacy
    and nothing new

  • BuzzCoastin

    aggregating existing data is a natural consequence of databases & computers
    and it seems like Gates & Murdouch would have an affinity for both
    and most Homelanders now get a SS# at birth don’t they?
    and a birth certificate, drivers license or a dozen other state tracking systems

    so yeah, it’s an intrusive invasion of privacy
    and nothing new

  • InfvoCuernos

    “This will go down in your permanent record”- you mean to tell me they haven’t been keeping a track of me all these years?!?!

    • MoralDrift

      IS this a reference to Vice Principal Bone, of Doug fame? or am I off base here

      • Anarchy Pony

        I used to watch Doug all the time.

      • InfvoCuernos

        I was thinking of a song-from either Jane’s Addiction or the Dead Kennedyswhen I wrote that. I have no knowledge of the TV show “Doug”

        • godozo

          How about “Kiss Off” by the Violent Femmes. That line itself puts it in my all-time faves.

          • InfvoCuernos

            I think you are correct! Violent Femmes.

        • Anarchy Pony

          Mmm, doesn’t sound like DKs.

  • Eric_D_Read

    May as well; schools have been basically run like prisons ever since Columbine anyway.

    • MoralDrift

      before that actually, post-columbine was just taking things to the next level

    • MoralDrift

      before that actually, post-columbine was just taking things to the next level

      • Eric_D_Read

        Not really. I was in HS right before Columbine, and we could decide “fuck this shit today” and walk out the doors to the parking lot at anytime without passing a security check. There were no drug tests required for participating in any school activities or groups.
        It still sucked; but it didn’t function nearly as much like a county jail as it does since the mid-nineties.

      • Eric_D_Read

        Not really. I was in HS right before Columbine, and we could decide “fuck this shit today” and walk out the doors to the parking lot at anytime without passing a security check. There were no drug tests required for participating in any school activities or groups.
        It still sucked; but it didn’t function nearly as much like a county jail as it does since the mid-nineties.

        • MoralDrift

          I;m not referring to the security but to the purpose

  • Haystack

    The reason America is falling behind is that we’re not pigeon-holing our children into easily-identifiable marketing demographics at an early enough age. They’re young and confused, uncertain as to what buying decisions to make. They go into middle school, or high school, even, wondering “What kind of consumer am I?” If our educational system cannot guide them, then what is it for?

    I see this as a win-win. It will provide businesses with a better return on investment on their target advertising dollars, and children…will gain….uh…..savings or something.

    • Anarchy Pony

      You, you have a future in marketing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/shawn.mcgrath.58 Shawn Mcgrath

      you nailed it. i’m dumfounded

    • http://www.facebook.com/shawn.mcgrath.58 Shawn Mcgrath

      you nailed it. i’m dumfounded

    • I_abide

      It felt like someone walking across my grave when I read this.

  • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

    Every now and then, I start thinking that I’ve become so jaded that nothing can creep me out anymore. And then Bill Gates does anything he ever does.

  • jnana

    thank you technology.

    if technology creates a possibility, that possibility MUST become actual.
    beware of the nuclear bomb.
    SCIENTIA INFLAT

  • http://www.zoboprepublic.wordpress.com/ zobop republic

    What? No private or charter schools? What’s up with that? The “corporate” boards of education have sold out the students once again!

  • Unibrow Chic

    I wonder how much my testicles would fetch on Ebay. Lord knows I’m not bringing kids into this world.