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School board members don’t want state to share student data, poll shows

Most state school board members do not want the state Education Department to release students’ personal information to a private data-storage company that it has contracted with, according to a new poll.

Three-fourths of school board members oppose the state’s plan to share the data, including students names, addresses, and discipline records, with inBloom, a nonprofit that received $100 million in Gates Foundation funding, according to a survey this month by the New York State School Boards Association.

The database is meant to ease the burden of data management on school districts and to enable education-software developers that are given the information to create personalized learning tools for students.

But parents and critics have raised security concerns about the plan.

Last month, a parent group filed a lawsuit to stop the state from sharing the data with inBloom. The state Assembly has passed a bill that would allow parents to opt-out their children from such data-sharing arrangements, but the Senate has yet to pass its version.

The same NYSSBA poll, based on more than 600 responses, showed that 78 percent of members backed such an opt-out provision.

About half the respondents, however, said that school districts would benefits from having access to more data.

State Education Department Commissioner John King told reporters before a forum Tuesday night that there is a “lot of misinformation about data issues” and that any student data the state collects is highly encrypted and secure. He added that the state would work with the legislature and governor “on ways we can strengthen data privacy and security.”

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