One of the goals of Race to the Top was to create a national student data base, one collected from every state. Creating such a data base was one of the conditions of eligibility for Race to the Top. One of the companies formed to mine the data was created by the Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation and called inBloom. InBloom intended to use software created by Wireless Generation (part of Joel Klein’s Amplify, owned by Rupert Murdoch) to aggregate this personally identifiable information and put it into the “cloud,” that place in cyberspace where all data lives forever. There would have been 400 data points for each student. Parents organized in states and districts to prevent this breach of their children’s privacy, and state after state, district after district, dropped out because the plan was indefensible (New York state, led by John King, was the last to drop out, and then only because the Legislature commanded him to do so).

Now a letter has become public, from John Kline to Arne Duncan, warning Duncan about the dangers of creating a national data base of student information.

There is a federal law called FERPA that is supposed to protect the privacy of individual students, but Duncan changed the regulations to make data mining possible.