Editor’s Note: Much Ado About Privacy
Protecting student data has quickly become the edtech
cause celebre of 2014. The Gates-funded data warehouse
inBloom was battered into submission last month.
Google faces harsh criticism of crossing the “creepy
line”—scanning student content using Google Ed apps
that ultimately creates targeted advertising profiles.
Legislation in several states is being considered and passed that
contains breathless language about protecting our children’s
futures via their zeros and ones.
I’m not buying it. Of course data security is important, which is
why we have the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). And while I love a good
conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, I have yet to read an actual instance where the theft
of Johnny’s or Mary’s second grade math scores led to his or her ultimate demise. The politics of
teacher assessment and the Common
Core muddy this issue further so
that Randi Weingarten and Michelle
Marking start to sound like soul
sisters when it comes to BIG BAD
DATA. And when it comes to the
“creepy” factor, I think we all need to
get over it. For my children and their
generation, it’s no big thing. That
Google knows what they want to see
before they do is a feature, not a bug
This sort of resistance is part of the
reason public education continues to
struggle with its perception of being
antiquated. Ultimately, it will be futile.
— Kevin Hogan