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Parents Want To Block CPS From Sharing Kids’ Records With National Database

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The head of a Chicago parents group was warning parents the Chicago Public Schools system plans to upload personal student information into a national database.

Julie Woestehoff, executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), said the InBloom database upload is an invasion of privacy, masquerading as a program to individualize educational programs.

She said uploading personal data like disciplinary records, information on disabilities, and parental income — along with the child’s name — will allow colleges and future employers to track each pupil back to the beginning of their education.

“They’re claiming that it will benefit the students if private vendors can tailor educational programs to their needs. We think that’s a bunch of bunk,” she said.

Woestehoff said six states already opted out of the InBloom program.

“There were nine states originally involved in a similar type of program, and six of them have pulled out, because of these very concerns,” she said.

Woestehoff said personal information trawled out of cyberspace can come back to bite a person many years down the line.

“And things that your child does at the age of seven may impact their ability to have a job,” she said. “They will be able to see disciplinary records from when this child was in kindergarten.”

She said she’s working with the American Civil Liberties Union on ways to block participation by public schools in Chicago and throughout the state.

Woestehoff said, in the past, a child’s private information could not be shared outside of school agencies without parental permission, but the feds recently rewrote regulations protecting student privacy to allow student data to be shared with for-profit companies involved in “educational programming.”

“The educational, quote-unquote, ‘marketplace’ has become a place where not only publishers, but hedge funders, and other investors, are looking to make a quick buck. And we think they’re looking to make it off of our children,” Woestehoff said.

Woestehoff was asking parents concerned about the privacy of their childrens’ personal data to call the Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Christopher Koch, and CPS Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett to protest.

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