North Carolina and The Shared Learning Collaborative

In my article earlier today, I linked to an article by Mercedes Schneider which had a familiar talking point in it. A talking point we’ve heard come out of the mouths of NC Chamber members and legislators who are their allies in forcing Common Core down the throats of NC parents and kids.

At the end of my earlier article, I mentioned that I didn’t even touch on the second half of Schneider’s article which dealt with the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) and the sharing of unprecedented student information. This article is the follow-up.

Schneider talks about their state superintendent and his pressuring of Governor Jindal to keep the Core and the PARCC assessments. This combination would result in an unprecedented amount of data collection on students as well as subsequent sharing. Here is the relevant section:

I believe that the public needs to be reminded of some of White’s actions that have contributed to the “chaos in the classroom” he himself has piled on. This public reminder might encourage Jindal to stand against those who are pressuring him to remain in CCSS and PARCC.

To this end, I will remind readers that since its announcement in this 2008 National Governors Association (NGA) report, unprecedented data collection was meant to accompany CCSS.

I would also like to remind readers of the following John White callous and careless Louisiana student data compromise taken from Haimson’s inBloom post– information Smith recently read for the first time.

In this excerpt, White enters Louisiana into a data-sharing agreement with billionaire CCSS funder Bill Gates and uploads all Louisiana student data to Gates’ Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC):

November 18, 2012:

Julie Fabrocini of Gates writes:  “John, we have been talking in the Foundation about the next steps with the Shared Learning Collaborative and doing some thinking about possibilities for accelerating Louisiana.  I think it would be important for us to get together for 60-90 minutes to discuss strategy, infrastructure and commitment?“ [Emphasis added.]

Dec 15, 2012:  

NYSED Regents Fellow Amrit Singh gets into the act, and also writes John White: “Below is a link to a great article that connects SLC, LRMI, and Learning Registry and may help your team get on the same page re the value and interconnection of these initiatives. Singh tells him how to subscribe to EdSurge (also funded by Gates.)

Sometime during this period, White agrees to convert Louisiana into a Phase I state.  Though no superintendent apparently signed up to pilot inBloom, White decides to upload entire state data into SLC cloud — to populate their controversial “Course choice” program, in which students can sign up for courses for credit “a la carte” with a range of for-profit providers; this program is being implemented by another company called Agilix.

Dec. 22, 2012:

John White – to Amrit Singh, the NYSED Regents Fellow, “Agilix is going to route course choice data through the SLI, (Gates’ Shared Learning Infrastructure) our first foray. Off and running.” [Emphasis added.]

Jan 1, 2013:  

White signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gates Foundation for the Shared Learning Collaborative. [Emphasis added.]

If Jindal needs some public indignation over White’s illegal sharing of sensitive student data as leverage in dumping CCSS and PARCC (and of dumping White in the process), here it is.

Below is my reminder to Governor McCrory and the powers that be in North Carolina about the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) and the Shared Learning Infrastructure (SLI) as it relates to activities past and present in North Carolina.

1. SLC is a Gates and Rupert Murdoch creation.  Regardless of what proponents tell you, the entire purpose is to collect data for vendor and commercial purposes. Bill Gates doesn’t drop millions into a bucket without a return on the investment. North Carolina was a phase I partner. From Class Size Matters:

The Gates Foundation, in association with Wireless Generation, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, recently formed a private LLC called the Shared Learning
Collaborative. This LLC will collect confidential student and teacher data provided to them by states throughout the country, and in some form, share it with vendors and other commercial enterprises. The purpose of this project is at least in part to help vendors develop and market their educational products. NYS and NYC, along with school districts in Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, have agreed to participate in Phase one of this project, starting in late 2012, with Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana participating in Phase II soon after.

There is much more beyond this opening paragraph above, which includes the weakened FERPA (Family Educational Rights Privacy Act) regulations allowing for medial data to be collected and the resulting lawsuit by EPIC.

2. SLC was renamed inBloom in 2013.

Via EdSurge
UPDATE: As of February 5, 2013, the Shared Learning Collaborative has been renamed inBloom Inc.

 The Shared Learning Collaborative, which receives significant support from the Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation, is developing a project called the Shared Learning Infrastructure.  It was originally started by the Council of Chief State School Officers. The SLI provides a data warehouse in the cloud for all kinds of student data, and links that data, through Common Core standards, to digital educational content.

Key fact to remember here: the SLI does not store digital learning content. It only stores data (assessment, behavior, attendance, standards mastered, etc.). The content part of SLI is actually pointers to content from SLI’s node of the Learning Registry and/or that may be identified with LRMI tags. And, importantly, the SLI has open APIs that let edtech products interact with the student data and content info, critical for layering on data analytics, personalization engines or other learning apps that interact with what SLI stores.

It is important to remember that North Carolina was an inBloom partner state prior to the demise of the company as a result of issues with privacy and security of the data being collected.

inBloom, as previously stated, is a Gates funded creation that was funneled through the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). NC’s Superintendent, June Atkinson, is the President Elect of the CCSSO.

AtkinsonPresElectAt some point after August 2013, North Carolina’s partnership status disappeared from the inBloom website.  That same Fall, Dr. Atkinson was made President Elect of the CCSSO. A few months later, inBloom shuttered its website. Coincidences? Perhaps, but I doubt it.

Despite inBloom becoming defunct, the SLC was and seems to still be a part of the Governor’s NC Education Cloud Work Program.  It is also worth noting that similar data collection is going on for very young children — birth to five years old.


North Carolina’s Guilford county served as a pilot district for inBloom.
Legislators should be asking the NC Department of Instruction just what was collected during this pilot.

Only one to date has tackled this issue, Senator Chad Barefoot. He has a data privacy bill out there right now. It is SB 815 – Ensuring Privacy of Student Records. Parents should read and support this bill. Contact Senator Barefoot, talk with him about your concerns. He is doing a great service for this state with this bill.


About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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