Where to begin. While the concept described in this article will seem reasonable to many at first glance, this is a very dangerous idea in my opinion. Do we really want a national database of all public school children from K-12? Even if the database only stored basic information like math and reading abilities I would still be against it, but this goes much, much further than that. In some cases the database will cover “student hobbies, career goals and attitudes toward school.” So I suppose whatever Facebook fails to capture, this thing will. Just think about the potential for future abuse. What if someone in the Federal government down the road wants to be able to identify disobedient children from an early age and track them. If they have a “negative attitude” toward the public school system will they be flagged as “undesirable” at a young age? What a potential Orwellian nightmare this could become. From Reuters:
(Reuters) – An education technology conference this week in Austin, Texas, will clang with bells and whistles as startups eagerly show off their latest wares.
But the most influential new product may be the least flashy: a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.
In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.
Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services.