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Why must Long Island schoolkids be guinea pigs for cloud database?

A student writes out a math problem on

A student writes out a math problem on a chalkboard. Photo Credit: iStock

My question right now is, “Why?”

Why does New York State have to be the guinea pig for a project that would put 2.3 million public school students' names and records into the hands of a private, high-tech corporation that will store and manage them within a computerized "cloud" service?

According to a report in today’s Newsday by staff writer John Hildebrand, New York is the biggest state involved in the project run by a company called inBloom. “Illinois and Colorado have a few districts participating. Louisiana has backed out of the initiative; five other states are limiting their involvement and have no local districts piloting use of inBloom,” according to the story.

You can’t blame Long Island parents for being unnerved by the whole idea, especially after recent computerized glitches during the launch of Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The experts say that, among other things, this will help parents because they will be able to view changes in their children’s test scores over six, eight or even 12 years. Why would I want to do that? In my district, I can already see my child’s grades for the year via a “Parent Portal.” That’s quite enough for me, thank you. Why would it help me to see what my senior in high school earned on a math test he took in fourth grade?

Opponents support a proposed state law that would allow families to bar districts from providing student data to inBloom and other third parties. That seems a fair option, at least until the system has proved foolproof.

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