Corporations gaining access to grades, addresses, hobbies, attitudes

Over the past 18 months, a massive $100 million public-school database spearheaded by the $36.4 billion-strong Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been in the making that freely shares student information with private companies.

The system has been in operation for several months and already contains millions of K-12 students’ personal identification ? ranging from name, address, Social Security number, attendance, test scores, homework completion, career goals, learning disabilities, and even hobbies and attitudes about school.

Claiming that the national database will enhance education, the main funder of the project, the Gates Foundation, entered the joint venture with the Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from a number of states. After Rupert Murdoch’s Amplify Education (a division of News Corp) spent more than a year developing the system’s infrastructure, the Gates Foundation delivered it to inBloom ? a nonprofit corporation recently established to run the database.

School officials and private companies doing business with districts might have plenty to be happy about with this information-sharing system, but ParentalRights.org President Michael P. Farris says parents have plenty to worry about when it comes to inBloom’s national database.

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