As the new school year starts, a warning is being issued for parents.
“Beware the data that Google and other tech giants are collecting on your children,” said Scott Andrews of Eaglefire, but he’s not the only one sounding the alarm.
State Board of Education member Sarah Fowler has been informing constituents, local districts and fellow board members about this situation for years.
“It behooves local school board members to consult their attorneys about protecting student data with all the new technology that’s being used in the classroom. Be sure as board members you have a good understanding of parental rights, FERPA [Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act] and HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] as you introduce new technology because it opens the door to data privacy issues,” Fowler told The Ohio Star.
“Districts really need to consider the data privacy issues ahead of time before they need to sue over it,” she added.
Two years ago, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood sued Google. Hood claimed Google was violating state consumer-protection law. The accusations in the complaint included:
1. Unfair methods of competition and unfair and deceptive trade practices…”
2. Google tracks, records, uses and saves the online activity of Mississippi’s children, all for the purpose of processing student data to build a profile, which in turn aids its advertising business…to gain an unfair advantage over its competitors and to deceive the Mississippi public…”
3. By failing to disclose its secret acts of data mining to Mississippi’s K-12 schools, publishing deceptive marketing and advertising materials, and making false public statements and assurances, Google unfairly and deceptively secured or was able to maintain contracts with Mississippi’s schools; amassed student, faculty and staff GSFE-user [G-Suite for Education] accounts; data mined those accounts and, created an unfair advantage over its competitors who offered similar services with data mining.”
Michelle Malkin explained it this way last September in an article for National Review:
“Local administrators, dazzled by ‘digital learning initiatives’ and shiny tech toys, have sold out vulnerable children to Silicon Valley. Educators and parents who expose and oppose this alarmingly intrusive regime are mocked and marginalized. And Beltway politicians, who are holding Senate hearings this week [September 2018] on Big Tech’s consumer privacy breaches, remain clueless or complicit in the wholesale hijacking of school-age kids’ personally identifiable information for endless data mining and future profit.”
A few months earlier, Malkin wrote, “The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act further enshrined government collection of personally identifiable information — including data collected on attitudes, values, beliefs, and dispositions — and allows release of the data to third-party contractors thanks to Obama-era loopholes carved into the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.”
Many of Ohio’s State School Board members and state legislators are helping Google gather that data through support of social emotional learning standards. These standards are defined as “…the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.”
That “process” of teaching social emotional learning includes using technology to gather information on children’s knowledge, attitudes and skills. That information is data that is collected and sold, according to Andrews.
The State Board passed social emotional learning standards (SEL) while the Ohio Legislature funded SEL as “Student Wellness and Success” to the tune of $675 million.
Lisa Woods, another State School Board member who sounded the alarm over data collection, told The Ohio Star, “There is huge growing concern among parents about the forced technology. They don’t like the Chromebooks (internet-enabled laptops), they don’t like everything being done online at a time when we need to refocus on the basics. It’s moving too fast and I agree with the parents – we just don’t know if our children’s data is being sufficiently protected.”
– – –