Bill Gates Crying In His Vault

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April 26, 2014

Bill Gates frowning

Gates 3

Bill Gates is a sad clown today because his bizarre $100 mil­lion stu­dent data project has failed – InBloom, Inc Stu­dent Data Col­lec­tion, to Shut Down!

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.

Gates 1

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.

Gates 2

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 “mis-char­ac­ter­i­za­tions,” 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 mis-char­ac­ter­i­za­tions 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.

It does not appear that any of the Gates chil­dren would have been part of the amaz­ing new stu­dent infor­ma­tion data­base. The chil­dren of Bill and Melin­da Gates – Jen­nifer, Rory and Phoebe – have attend­ed Lake­side School, Seattle’s most elite, fan­cy pants pri­vate school.

The hal­lowed halls of Lake­side School are a sweet place to attend class­es if you have the means.

Gates kids

Accord­ing to a Seat­tle edu­ca­tion blog, the stu­dent-teacher ratio is 9 to 1. The aver­age class size is 16. Some two dozen var­si­ty sports are avail­able and the opu­lent ath­let­ic facil­i­ties include “hydrother­a­py spas.”

Of course, what with tuition for the 2013–14 aca­d­e­m­ic year cost­ing $28,500 per kid (not includ­ing books, lap­top, field trips, etc.), most fam­i­lies don’t have the means.

Lakeside’s web­site doesn’t appear to dis­cuss Com­mon Core much.

Inter­est­ing­ly enough, the inBloom,Inc. web­site seems to have dis­ap­peared into a cloud!