Welcome back to Pearson Is Everywhere!
Last time we looked at Pearson being selected to create the PISA 2018 tests.
Today, we’ll be checking out how Pearson is spying on students using social media and Pearson’s claims about student data privacy in Colorado.
A blogger named Bob Braun obtained a copy of an email indicating that Pearson was monitoring the social media of students in New Jersey taking the Common Core PARCC test. The email was sent by Elizabeth Jewett, Superintendent of Watchung Hills Regional High school district.
Superintendent Jewett’s letter notes the NJ Dept. of Education was aware of the ‘social media monitoring’ by Pearson and seems to infer the NJ Dept. of Education was also monitoring social media of students.
View the Superintendent’s email courtesy of Missouri Education Watchdog:
Missouri Education Watchdog’s article also has a lengthy Facebook post by Braun and documentation that Braun’s website encountered a Denial of Serve attack right around the time the story on Pearson started to go viral. Missouri Education Watchdog also has a follow-up statement from Superintendent Jewett.
Diane Ravitch also picked up on the attack on Braun’s site.
As for myself, I noticed an article recommended to me on Facebook. It was about Pearson and Social media apps/software used to track people, companies, trends , etc. When I clicked the link, the article had been removed:
The power of Pearson? This article now takes you to a 404 Error Page. http://t.co/ACrKfO8z9n… #StopCommonCore pic.twitter.com/KLXGLEDlhA
— LL1885 – A.P. Dillon (@LadyLiberty1885) March 14, 2015
Yeah, but I’m not an internet newbie. Cached page, baby.
Article on app Pearson uses to ‘listen’ to social media goes ERROR 404. Cache, baby. Cache. http://t.co/RRe6GpFdNx #StopCommonCore
— LL1885 – A.P. Dillon (@LadyLiberty1885) March 14, 2015
See the Tracx page with graphics
See the Tracx page with text only – note the date of the article, March 14th, 2015.
This Tracx app/software isn’t mentioned in Pearson’s Social Media policy that Diane Ravitch also posted on her blog.
Some of the Pearson policy says that students sharing ‘too much information’ is a form of ‘malpractice’. There are ‘penalties’ for violating Pearson’s social media policy, of which no parent or student has ever signed:
We have an obligation to investigate any case where there is the suggestion that you’ve acted improperly. If you are found to have broken the rules, you could face one of the following penalties:
- a warning
- the loss of marks for a section, component or unit
disqualification from a unit, all units or qualifications
a ban from sitting exams for a set period of time
Pearson’s “obligation” is protecting their product and bottom-line by any means necessary, including watching your child on Twitter.
Is it against the law? No.
Is it invasive at a level that is creepy and Orwellian? Yes.
Pearson has the right to track your child via social media and determine if they have violated any portion of their social media policy. Then they can punish your child and from the looks of it, your local department of education is assisting them.
Mercedes Schneider encapsulates this power Pearson has more poetically:
Those calling the testing shots hold all of the power cards. We know as much because any avenue of free choice and open communication on the part of the one with lesser power– the child– has been publicly countered by policy, legislation, litigation, and other consequences.
Their tools are bribery, threats and guilt.
Indeed; those are also the tools of the Common Core supporters and ‘education reformers’ in general. By the way, the Smarter Balanced Test Is Spying on Children too.
THE DATA PRIVACY
In Colorado, legislators have advanced a bill to protect student data from third-party vendors — like Pearson. According to the Coloradoan.com, Senate Bill 15-173 seeks to do four major things:
Selling student information;
Using student information for targeted advertising;
Using student information to create profiles unrelated to school purposes;
Revealing student data unless specific requirements are met.
Money quotes from Coloradoan.com:
“Really you have to question a company’s motives when they’re preying on school-age kids to make money,” said Trevor Timmons, director of technology for the Weld RE-4 School District. “Granted, I think most of them are not in that position, but this (legislation) would ensure that the companies we’re dealing with as a school district have to uphold the same restrictions that we do.”
“We are not in the business of selling personally identifiable student data or permitting its use for targeted advertising,” Pearson said in a statement to the Coloradoan. “Student data privacy is of utmost importance to Pearson. We care deeply about protecting the privacy of students, teachers and customers.”
Yes, Pearson cares so deeply
student Pearson’s data privacy.
- Pearson Spying on Student Private Social Media Accounts to Determine if PARCC Information is Being Leaked. **UPDATED ** (READ THE UPDATE!)
- ALERT: Bob Braun’s Blog Has Been Attacked and Closed Down After Post About Pearson Spying on Students
- Hey, Kids: If You Tweet About Your PARCC Testing Experience, Pearson Will Call You Out
- This is Disturbing: Pearson Monitors Students Social Media
- Ravitch: Pearson’s Policy on Monitoring Social Media
- Pearson’s Edict on How Students MUST Use Social Media. Warning: Your Student Can be Charged With ‘Malpractice’ if they Don’t Follow Pearson Rules.
- The Powerful, Enforced Silence Around Standardized Testing
- Statement from Superintendent Regarding Pearson, PARCC Testing and Disciplinary Action at Watchung Hills Regional High School
- Smarter Balanced Offers Tips for Monitoring Students on Social Media
- Smarter Balanced Test Is Spying on Children
- California Monitors Students’ Social Media to Protect Test Security
Pingback: Pearson Is Everywhere: Defending Spying On Students Edition | Lady Liberty 1885
Tracx offers a unified, enterprise-scale, social media management platform. We help brands and organizations from around the world listen and learn about issues related to their products and services so that they can provide a better customer experience and reach new audiences. To learn more about Tracx visit http://www.tracx.com #customerexperience #betterservice #bettersupport #betterproducts #engagingnewaudiences
Well, Pearson appears to be using it to “listen and learn” from children.