Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Radio's Word Salad Simpleton Vicki McKenna serves up student data fears over Common Core.

The great right wing geniuses would like you to think they're the undaunted protectors of our freedoms, liberties and personal data. For example; Common Core student data.

From the babbling mindlessness of conservative radio talker Vicki McKenna, we're led to believe Common Core student data will be used at some later date to destroy the lives of conservative grownups everywhere. And that liberals and backers of Common Core don't give a damn about it.

Thank god we have tea party leader and mouthpiece Mckenna watching over us. In what I would call a breathless word salad of fear mongering, McKenna throws ridiculously old talking points about "teachers unions supporting leftists..." (remember Act 10 Vicki?) and juvenile comments like "are you creeped out yet? You should be." Here's one of my favorites:
"There is nothing the government needs to know about you that it would ever use to make your life better. Ever! When has the government ever used information gathered about individuals citizens to make their life better?"
When? How about gathered information to improve education, food safety, traffic signs, product safety, drug safety, health, invaluable census data used for policy and business needs centered around demographics, income, marketing, housing needs, zoning...etc. Is she an idiot? Yes.

Having been a radio veteran for 26 years and liberal talk host (Vicki and I were a team for one year), I truly believe she's just making this stuff up to fill the hour. A bottomless word salad of unrelated terms meant to dazzle the low information listener. Here's a tip, stop talking Vicki, and take a call. Breath:

Securing student data Important: But the coverage I've seen in my EdWeek email updates, nothing could be more important than privacy. From local districts, superintendents and school boards, student data is a concern they've already dealt with in their contracts and policies...locked away, or so says my own local superintendent. But beyond local governments, Common Core backer Bill Gates is at the forefront of keeping that data secure. I'm not a big fan of billionaire involvement, but Gates knows his stuff when it comes to security issues, which is an ongoing and never ending process:
As some of its competitors have been battered over their policies for protecting student data, Microsoft Corp. has sought to make sure that the issue—and what it regards as its strong record on privacy—remain firmly in the public eye. During the past year, Microsoft has supported academic research on privacy and guides for school officials on the subject. Its executives have also kept a steady presence at public forums urging school districts and policymakers, as well as parents and families, to pay attention to the issue. "Students are not products," Cameron Evans, Microsoft's chief technology officer for U.S. education, said

But as the company moves aggressively to position itself as a protector of student-data privacy, some say it also runs the risk of a backlash if it doesn't back up its talk with the kind of vigilance the technology giant promises to deliver.While it makes sense for Microsoft to market its privacy brand, "having a business reason for doing that doesn't mean they don't believe what they do," said John M. Simpson, the privacy-project director for Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based organization.

Mark Schneiderman, the senior director of education policy for the Software & Information Industry Association, a Washington-based trade association, said in a statement that K-12 companies are competing on many fronts, and promising strong "data security and related tools" is just one of them. "[T]here is a lack of understanding among parents, the media, and policymakers about what is, and is not happening in the sector," Mr. Schneiderman told Education Week. Mr. Mutkoski, the Microsoft public-sector-services official, said in an interview.

Major organizations, he added, typically expect data-privacy guarantees to be "baked into our contracts," and, he argued, school districts should expect the same.

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