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They've Got Your Number

See Cartoon. The tale below is about New York State. But put Wireless Generation into a search on this site and you will come up with 62 tales of a rapacious predator--ever reaching to collect more numbers on kids. For starters, Wireless is the godfather of DIBELS delivery. And now they make that look like child's play.

On Oct. 14,2012 attorney Norman Siegel sent a letter http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2012/10/attorney-and-parents-send-letter-to-nys.html"> sent a letter on behalf of Class Size Matters and other parent groups to the NYS Attorney General and education officials questioning the legality of providing confidential student data to a limited corporation.

We can be very thankful for these parents who fight so hard to defend schoolchildren--while so many others remain silent.

by Robert Rendo
Back in late August of 2011, New York State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli declared that he was rescinding the no-bid contract with Wireless Generation because he found its 90% owner, Rupert Murdoch, questionable for his actions of bribery and phone tapping in great Britain, and that such an association with Murdoch would be like tear gas in the public eye.

Wireless was to collect, sort, and analyze all sorts of student data, ranging from socio-economic status, to age, gender, residence, test scores, teacher history, and a whole array of other descriptors waiting intense "data" analysis. This information was then going to be used to develop and supposedly improve testing products and educational tools. Of course, little to none of this endeavor would ever have involved lowering class size, increasing the number of highly qualified personnel, augmenting teaching spaces, or creating and sustaining wrap-around services to mitigate student poverty.

Yet four months later, in December 2011, the NY Board of Regents approved NYSED̢۪s plan to provide confidential student and teacher data to a limited corporation, called the Shared Learning Collaborative LLC (SLC), which is an umbrella that houses, in part, Wireless Generation.

Janice Bloom, a member of ParentVoicesNY and a parent of two elementary school children in a Brooklyn public school, said, "I am outraged that the state and the city would have agreed to share our children's confidential data with a private corporation, without telling us anything about it. I am even more upset that this data is apparently being made available to companies for the purpose of marketing commercial products to the public school system. Parents need to be fully informed of the purpose and ramifications of this project, and provided with the right to opt out. I do not believe that public schools should be in the business of exploiting children for profit."

But that was then, and this is now.

How ultimately this battle for family and child privacy plays out is yet to be seen, and the stakes are high both for a profiteers and those who value the fundamental, constitutional right of privacy.

In fighting for the right to protect children and families from profit craving corporations, consider joining organizations like Class Size Matters Parents Voices NY, and attorney Norman Siegel.

One must decide which has is more critical to democracy: privacy or the public/private partnership up in Albany that is dominating public schools with a free, unfettered market blitz of test, consulting services, and academic products. It has become, indeed, a grotesque monster that has merchandised education into a line of products, no more promising than the glitzy, unsubstantial trinkets you can get on QVC.

Where precisely the priority and values lie will be up to all of us. It's in our hands and will impact the way our society is set up for generations to come.

For more information, contact:
Norman Siegel
(347) 907-0867

Leonie Haimson
(917) 435-9329

— Robert Rendo




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