Tonawanda News


December 25, 2013

CONFER: Common Core and your family's data


Tonawanda News — Many more may gain access because inBloom openly admits – despite the expertise of its backers – that it “cannot guarantee the security of the information stored ... or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted.”

Parents across the country have raised a stink about the data mining. Beyond the security fears, many parents see their child’s school records as something that only they and their local districts can possess and only the parents should be able to decide who else sees. The thinking is that detailed school history – especially with the finer nuances included — is just as sensitive as an individual’s medical records and should be treated with the same respect.

This invasion of privacy and sharing of information across multiple sectors was not what was intended or, more accurately, it’s not what was originally portrayed to the masses. In the press releases that accompanied New York’s acquisition of the database grant in 2010, Senior Deputy Commissioner for P-12 Education John King was quoted as saying, “We are building a data rich foundation for the continuous analysis and improvement of the state’s education structure.” There was no mention of federal or commercial interests and their ability to acquire the same information for their uses.

It just so happens that King is now the state education commissioner and he remains the only education head in the United States who’s still pushing ahead with a statewide data mining plan. Other states that received grants, including Georgia and Delaware, have pulled out while Massachusetts is experimenting with inBloom in just a select few districts.

Others still are watching and waiting. Educators and bureaucrats across the nation want to learn from our experience with inBloom: They want New Yorkers to work out the bugs for them; suffer the consequences of software and security flaws and lawsuits; and make the initial abandonment of families’ right to privacy.

New York is, for once, a leader — but not in a way any self-respecting parent would like.

Bob Confer is a Gasport resident and vice president of Confer Plastics Inc. in North Tonawanda. Email him at

Text Only
  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canal Fest, here we come This column should be titled "Roads and Streets." First of all, Meadow Drive is finally open. Although it took very long to be completed, it's beautiful. Riding by the other day brought into focus how many people will use this to cut across town. One less thing for residents to complain about.

    July 12, 2014

  • ADAMCZYK: Homesick for someplace I've never been You stumble over things that make you wonder. I do, at least, and the latest is one of those advertising artifacts from yesteryear that encourage me to ponder what's changed and what never will.

    July 11, 2014

  • WALLACE: Playing politics as usual The immigration crisis is just the most recent example of how dysfunctional Washington, D.C. is right now.

    July 10, 2014