data seducation
Keep your data to yourself and stay away from the seducers.  Don’t fall into their trap of ‘helping’ you.


A movie can be an important resource to learn about a specific time in history, particularly if the movie occurs in real time.  The Graduate is an example of how some cultural norms are constant and others are archaic.  The 1967 theme in the movie of seduction is still occurring in 2014 but the current field to make money is not plastic manufacturing, it’s ‘data’.   Data drives marketing campaigns in all sorts of businesses, including the big business of education.  Remember this scene where newly graduated Benjamin Braddock is given advice on his future?  Mr. McGuire, fast forward to the present and insert the word ‘data’:




Personally identifiable educational data is what holds students and teachers accountable for federal funding and accreditation purposes.  It doesn’t matter to the data brokers WHAT the data is or if it based from validated tests, they are just interested in the money to be made from the gathering and parsing of the information.  With the advent of the State Stabilization Fund requiring the use of common standards and the expansion of longitudinal data systems needed to gather the information from the common core data information, it is imperative to the schools, the state agencies, the consortia, the Department of Education to create more data for the policies needed to ensure people are accountable for the good of the workforce.

With all that data, the industry is growing fast and furious.  How big is the data industry and what are the job projections in the field of data?  From Data Center Support Infrastructure Market Expected to Reach $44.44 Billion by 2019 – New Report by MarketsandMarkets:


The demand for data storage is continuously surging, resulting in increasing number of data centers. To manage this highly growing data storage demand, business organizations are forced to either build new data centers or enhance the capacity of their existing data centers.

Power and cooling are the major contributors in the operating expenses of a data center, constituting almost 40% of the total data center operational expenses. Due to high demand of data storage, expenses associated with support infrastructure are continuously increasing. Also, in many business organizations IT budgets are continuously shrinking, due to which data center managers and owners are forced to utilize cost effective support infrastructural solutions. This is impacting the demand of efficient and cost effective support infrastructural solutions, presenting significant opportunity to vendors in this market.

MarketsandMarkets forecasts the data center support infrastructure market to grow from $ 27.51 billion in 2014 to $ 44.44 billion by 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.1%. North America(NA) is expected to be the largest data center support infrastructure market in terms of revenues generated, but Asia-Pacific (APAC) is expected to emerge as a high growth market.


What could be some of the data gathered? We know about some of the educational data gathered via school surveys asking personal questions on such issues as sexual orientation, drug use and parental level of education.  We don’t know quite where it is going, how it is to be used and who exactly has access.  We do have more information on two tracking programs on people’s eating/exercising behaviors that the National Institute of Science funded that can monitor behavior in real time.  One program uses insoles to gather data and the other uses buttons that even has cameras to track feeding patterns!  Isn’t that nifty and aren’t  you excited the government is partnering with private companies to save us from ourselves?  From Feds Spend $2.1 Million to Develop Weight-Tracking Insoles, Buttons:

First, the insole grant:

“A single device that accurately monitors body weight, posture allocation, physical activity (i.e. movement), and energy expenditure would be an extremely useful tool for weight management,” the grant’s abstract states.

The insoles work with a mobile phone app that would show the user their weight and physical activity levels. A video shows a person using an early prototype in 2011 while walking around a fountain.


Second, the eButton:

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have been given $766,667 to develop the “eButton,” with the idea that an accurate monitoring of an overweight person’s eating habits and physical activity levels will lead to a better understanding in fighting obesity.

“The primary goal of this research is to develop an advanced, button-like electronic device (eButton) that can be worn naturally on the chest,” the grant states. “This device will contain a powerful microprocessor, a novel eating detector, a pair of cameras, and a variety of electronic sensors to automatically, jointly and objectively measure energy intake and expenditure, as well as environment and behavior related to diet and physical activity.”

The button will monitor when a person eats, drinks, or smokes, and will also be linked to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) database to measure the “outdoor environment.”

The device will also be linked to a smart phone, “which will allow researchers to monitor the operating status of eButton remotely in real time.” Both projects have cost taxpayers $2,101,064 so far.


How cool is all this technology?  The schools will be able to track a student’s attitudes, values and beliefs and when they become an adult, the government can track via a database what a person eats, drinks or smokes!  Whatever could go wrong?  If you are data diva or data dude and can make a fortune in data retrieval or support systems (such as educational reform companies/think tanks), it’s a goldmine.  Think of the ramifications of the data produced.  If you run a ‘fat farm’ where the obese are ordered to check into when the tracking indicates an intervention is necessary, you have the potential to make a fortune!   If you are a student who doesn’t work ‘collaboratively for the collective’ vision, you could be sent to a special school where those traits are ‘encouraged’ since independent thinkers and entrepreneurs don’t fit well into the 21st Century skill set.  And just think of the possibilities hackers will have with all that data.  More job expansion on the horizon.

What I’m increasingly hearing from parents and taxpayers is they are concerned their lives and their children’s lives are not their own any longer.   Their life data is to be used and manipulated for corporate interests’ gain. Is the purpose of the federal government to create a data industry mining the personal information from its citizens without their knowledge and recompense?

While ‘data’ is in and ‘plastic’ is out, the theme of seduction is still present in 2014 when talking about data capture.  It’s the seduction argument for billions of dollars for the corporations and that this is for the ‘personalization’ of your child’s educational experience.  They could care less about what your child’s data says or if he/she is receiving an appropriate education.  This is seduction of the reformers partnering with the government which obliterates our right to privacy while we don’t even know it’s happening.  They just want to use your child for their own purposes:




Published October 16, 2014


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