We’ve been told educational data is needed to improve education. It hasn’t.
Is the data needed instead to create a public/private economy structure?

With the passage of the OPEN Government Data Act in January 2019, data interoperability of federal governmental agencies to/from each other can occur. This was seen as good bipartisan legislation which will help citizens and protect data. Many privacy organizations supported this legislation which they contended allowed the use of open data while protecting privacy. Many activists (non-paid individuals not connected with funded organizations) did not agree with these talking points as legislative promises from politicians and private organizations have proven to be false (“you can keep your doctor” and “Common Core is state led”). Here is a rebuttal document countering the assurances that the use of open data should be allowed and the protections in the legislation are sufficient .

It is now allowable and encouraged by the Federal Government that personal data access occur not only between governmental agencies, but private organizations may/should access information as well. The Opportunity Project is the program launched in the Obama Administration and signed into law by President Trump to create the access of open data and programs for private/public partnerships for “building stronger ladders of opportunity for all”. From the Federal News Network in Census Opportunity Project to launch ‘sprints’ on future workforce, 2020 count:

The Census Bureau on Friday showcased its work connecting agencies that produce treasure troves of data with industry, academia and local communities that can act on that data.

“Washington is a town with lots of data, but little information,” Patrick Pizzella, the Labor Department’s deputy secretary, said. “This is a bit of our challenge, and your challenge: Finding a way to converting the data you’re accumulating — a constant amount of it — and turning it into information so managers can make smart and informed decisions.”

Later this month, Pizzella said the Labor Department will formalize its data board and announce the appointment of a chief data officer within the agency — two major deliverables from the OPEN Government Data Act President Donald Trump signed into law in January.

Drew Zachary, the director and co-founder of The Opportunity Project, said the public-private partnership helps “put data to work for people” — turning government information into tools and actions that make an impact on the public.

The data interoperability between this public/private partnership has helped more than 30 federal agencies and 100 partner companies, universities and local groups build more than 70 public-facing digital tools.

Neil Jacobs, the assistant secretary of Commerce for environmental observation and prediction, carrying out the role of the undersecretary of Commerce for oceans and atmosphere, said the agency has worked with cloud vendors to put its data into the hands of startups and businesses. That data, Jacobs said, could help users create ideas for businesses and help boost the startup economy. 

The data will be accessed by startups and businesses via 12-week technology development sprints that bring technology developers, communities, and government together to solve problems using open data. This graphic illustrates how and with whom the government will give and to whom:

Once that data is provided by the vendors, it’s important to commercialize it: The President’s Management Agenda lists leveraging data as a strategic asset as one of its cross-agency priority goals. Over the past year, Office of Management and Budget director for management Margaret Weichert has urged agencies, under the PMA, to find opportunities to commercialize their data.

What does commercialize data mean? From In brief: What is Data Monetization?:

The data monetization definition:

Is the actual goal of the public/private partnership of The Opportunity Project primarily to reward the data miners, developers, and third party vendors while being marketed in political terms of government benevolence? As Raheem Kassam, Global Editor-in-Chief of Humanevents.com stated on Tucker Carlson (March 5, 2019) about global censorship, the tech giants are the benefactors not of the freemarket, they are the actual benefactors of the government intervention on their behalf. He stated these companies are under girded and underwritten by government interventions.  He concluded the power of censorship granted to the tech giants is absolute with no legal paths available for reinstatement of those individuals banned from their platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc). He believes censorship by these platforms is dangerous

Can we surmise from the open access granted to private companies that they are also benefactors not of the freemarket, they are the actual benefactors of the government intervention on their behalf? According to the Commerce Department spokesperson, it’s to “help boost the startup economy”. Would that not fit the definition of government intervention on behalf of the private companies accessing governmental data?

Is the purpose of government to protect individual freedoms and liberty or is to set up a system for private industry to use citizen data, supplied by the government, for the private companies’ business model? Once the private companies use the data and report their findings, the government will then use those data sets to create even more governmental programs under the auspices of “making an impact on the public”.

When did government become the agent to allow third party intrusion into citizen’s lives and states’ educational/social/labor programs? When data is gathered by various governmental agencies and access to that data is offered to private organizations by the government and then possibly misused causing harm to an individual, does that individual have any recourse?

If the claims are true that data is needed for educational improvement, how has the data gathered on students increased test scores? It has increased jobs in data mining, both in the private and governmental sectors, but it hasn’t increased academic achievement for publicly educated students.

Some examples of data interoperability between agencies and private companies for various educational issues are listed on the website:

Here is an example of data gathered (probably unknowingly to the driver) when driving a smart car:

The Commerce Department collects terabytes of data every day — everything from atmospheric data from smart phones to weather data pulled from smart-cars.

“If you get in your car and Bluetooth your phone [and] turn on your windshield wipers, we know you’re driving through rain,” Jacobs said.  

We now can see where educational (and other) data is transmitted and accessed. Educational, financial and medical data breaches containing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) have not been uncommon the last several years as data mining has expanded. Not only will public/private partners be able to assemble student dossiers to track their Social, Emotional and Academic progress, dossiers will be created to track veterans, the poor and any group the government deems imperative to track. Spoiler alert: And they don’t need your consent to do so.

Who is accountable when/if information is used to a person’s detriment or in an erroneous manner? If data is indeed the product, you are the person unknowingly supplying it for purposes you might find objectionable and/or questionable and without remuneration, but apparently, it’s desirable and necessary for the new data economy and expansion of governmental intervention. Is it really for the public’s benefit?

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