Common Core-loving billionaire Bill Gates has suffered a stinging defeat in his ambitious quest to reform every cranny of the American K-12 public education system.
The nonprofit educational-software company InBloom Inc., which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corp. of New York financed to the tune of $100 million, announced on Monday that it will shut down permanently.
The reason for the shutdown is a steady cascade of parental and legislative anxiety about student privacy, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The strategy driving inBloom had been to create a huge database connecting local school districts and state education bureaucracies with behemoth education companies.
To accomplish this goal, the nonprofit had hoped to provide a smorgasbord of data about students. What homework are they doing? What tests are they assigned? What are their test scores? Their specific learning disabilities? Their disciplinary records? Their skin colors? Their names? Their addresses?
The Atlanta-based company had originally signed up nine states for the database. It planned to charge school districts between $2 and $5 per student for the privilege of participating in the student data collection scheme.
Many parents across the country – particularly in the otherwise fairly disparate states of New York and Louisiana – hated the bizarrely intrusive idea from the start and rallied key state legislators to their causes.
The final blow came earlier this year when the New York state legislature forced its state education bureaucrats to abandon the invasive Gates-funded project.
“Hopefully, today’s announcement that inBloom is closing its doors will make government officials, corporations and foundations more aware that parental concerns cannot be ignored,” Leonie Haimson, a former New York City public-schools parent who successfully lobbied lawmakers against inBloom, told the Journal.
In a message on inBloom’s website, Chief Executive Officer Iwan Streichenberger swore that the firm “has world-class security and privacy protections” and accused the meddling database’s grassroots critics of “mischaracterizations,” notes The Washington Post.
“Over the last year, the incredibly talented team at inBloom has developed and launched a technical solution that addresses the complex challenges that teachers, educators and parents face when trying to best utilize the student data available to them,” Streichenberger wrote.
“The use of technology to tailor instruction for individual students is still an emerging concept and inBloom provides a technical solution that has never been seen before. As a result, it has been the subject of mischaracterizations and a lightning rod for misdirected criticism,” he also proclaimed.
Interestingly, though Gates has funded the effort to collect data about America’s public school kids, he has sent his own kids to a ritzy Seattle private school. (RELATED: Bill Gates loves Common Core for your kids, BUT NOT HIS)
It does not appear that any of the Gates children would have been part of the amazing new student information database.