My Response to Southold Supes Letter Demanding InBloom Purge District Data

I have been asked repeatedly about the Southold letter.

FYI, there is a letter written to inBloom by Superintendent, David Gamberg of Southhold LI, below making rounds on the internet that purports to supply an argument and a way for districts to “opt info” out of InBloom at the outset.

Gamberg identified a provision in the state’s contract with the Shared Learning Collaborative (which later became inBloom Inc.) allowing districts to opt out — despite what the state currently maintains.

“The relevant clause appears on page 9 of Exhibit C, of the Data Privacy and Security Plan, under the heading “District Opt out from SLI.” It states: “If a school district decides they no longer wish to use the SLI system, they may request that district student data be deleted from the SLI data store.”

An attorney on another site posted a reply stating that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) exhibit (part of the contract) expired 12/31/2012. NYSAPE disagreed that the contract had expired and found that it it is good until 12/31/14. Despite the foregoing, I have read the contract and found that the Superintendents argument lacks merit.

The letter, apparently,  is making rounds again and parents are being urged to send a similar letter to pressure districts to “opt out’ of InBloom.

As far as Spackenkill is concerned, there is NO opting out of InBloom. Neither NYSED nor InBloom note anyone else made any such provision for school districts. The only choice Spackenkill had to undermine NYSEDs data sharing network plan with InBloom and other third parties, is to withdraw from RTT at the outset in an effort to stymie the scope of info uploaded to InBloom and stymie efforts to network this info through NYSED, InBloom and agency to agency. Spackenkill does not have the choice to as that data be deleted from InBloom.

On the merits, I have serious concerns about the argument the Superintendent is making, to be honest. I am concerned that people will start blaming their districts for not opting out, thinking that they have a choice. There is NO choice. Much to my chagrin, Spackenkill lawyers and I agree on this point.

Hw, It is not lost on me that school districts AND their attorneys MUST start helping to find a way for the district and parents to get out of the data collection, they should NOT just give up and simply patronize parents with the reasons why they can’t. Jennifer Delahoyde Kaufman and I had a discussion about this a few posts below and in thinking about it further, I realize she made some great points. School administration and lawyers must start taking proactive measures to protect student info.

I have been relying heavily on a campaign to over turn data mining via pressure on elected officials and focusing on legislation to reverse the course. The student data privacy protection Assembly bills that passed last spring and the companion bills in the Senate are extremely important. However, the legislature doesn’t go back into session until January and the reality of these getting through the Senate and being signed by the Governor will take a lot of time.

Facts is, time is of the essence.

So, with that in mind, although I have concerns about the merits of the letter, I would agree that sending the letter is the best and most expedient way to raise awareness about data mining and will help exert pressure on districts/InBloom regrading student privacy/data mining concerns. If anyone chooses to send the letter, they should send it to NYSED and InBLoom though, not the district. The district withdrew from RTT, Spackenkill has no control over what info NYSED chooses to store on InBloom.

This is my personal opinion, not legal advice.

I hope that clarifies things.


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