As parents and teachers in New York state and around the country celebrate the announcement of inBloom to fold up shop, other companies wait to fill the data mining software void—companies like Core Education &Technologies LTD, with a logo that eerily resembles the Obama campaign logo.
There is money to be made in education reform, a different kind of “race to the top” where competitors are corporations rather than states. The race to mine your private information—and your children’s private information—bears the level of an IronMan triathlon.
InBloom, though a non-profit, stood to win big from district contracts. On a side note, the National Football League is registered as a non-profit. Non-profit status doesn’t equate to no profits. InBloom may be out of the picture—for now—but other companies are ready to take its place in the data mining gold rush. There are even professional trade groups to assist those in the field of educational data mining. The International Education Data Mining Society exists to “support collaboration and scientific development in this new discipline, through the organization of the EDM conference series, the Journal of Educational Data Mining, and mailing lists, as well as the development of community resources to support the sharing of data and techniques” (emphasis mine).
A 2012 government report on data mining makes a recommendation “to create and continue strong collaboration across research, commercial, and educational sectors.” The end of InBloom does not signal an end government agencies collaborating with corporations in the field of education data mining.
Here’s a sampling of some of the companies cashing in on Common Core:
- Emergenetics International boast of their “proprietary, brain-based, STEP (Student/Teacher Emergenetics Profile) Program.” They describe the foundation of this program as offering a profile which determines students’ thinking and behavioral preferences in seven scientifically-based attributes, allowing them to better understand themselves—how they think, communicate and learn—and their interactions with others.
- Clark County School District in Nevada has been reported to have spent tens of thousands of dollars in Emergenetic profiles for staff, prior to the implementation of Common Core. Back then, teachers and parents questioned the necessity of software that uses colors to describe thinking patterns.
- Knewton provides platforms and infrastructure for both educational publishers. They state, “Every Knewton-enhanced product provides a continuously adaptive learning experience to students, as well as reporting capabilities for teachers.” Knewton’s educational partners include:
Pearson is known for its near monopoly on educational textbooks and its participation in the multi-state standardized test consortiums (PARCC and SBAC). Pearson’s reach in publishing stretches from Puffin readers to major education brands such as Prentice Hall, Scott Foresman, and Macmillan USA Pearson partners with states such as New York for teacher certification assessments. On the New York state Web site, prospective teachers are directed to contact Pearson should there be issues with registration. Pearson acquired the testing division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2008 which at one time was estimated to be 40% of the testing market. Pearson continues to add to its holding as evidenced by its purchase of an ADHD diagnostic testing company in 2013.
Pearson owns a wide array of clinical assessments. Pearson is involved with the GED which states it as “a joint venture between the Council for American Education and Pearson” on the GED website. Pearson owns the Stanford Achievement Tests. (). In addition to its textbooks and assessments, Pearson also publishes titles on data mining.
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt employs Lisle Gates, husband of Common Core proponent and Colorado State Rep Carole Murray. According to his company profile, “Lisle’s work with The Center is focused on School Leadership and the Data-Driven Decision Making Process to include the creation of Data Teams to help drive the improvement of student achievement.”
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquired the data analytics company Choice Solutions, Inc. in 2013.
CORE Education & Consulting Solutions, Inc. (owned by CORE Education and Technologies, Ltd or CORE-ETL) states on its Web site: “CORE is a global end-to-end, best-of-breed education solutions provider that aims to transform the education spectrum encompassing Pre-K, K-12, Higher Education and Technical Career Education. CORE strives to improve the quality of human capital as well as the global learning ecosystem through innovation in order to produce better educational outcomes. CORE’s operations span multiple geographies globally, with its primary focus being the United States, the United Kingdom and India, and with additional operations in Asia Pacific, Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East.”
CORE’s very own website highlights the lucrative outcomes from legislation that demands high stakes testing and the emphasis of reporting technology in the classroom. In reference to enhancements in their assessment platform, they stated, “At Los Angeles Unified School District, these additions proved to be profitable by adding $0.88mn to the total contract revenue of $5.99mn, an increase of 61% in 2010-2011.”
Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood, creator of TS Gold (Teaching Strategies Gold) focuses on the early elementary market.
TS Gold has been called the InBloom for Pre-school. Peggy Robertson, kindergarten teacher and administrator for United Opt Out National, Peggy Robertson offers a comprehensive review of TS Gold at Peggy makes the case that it’s not just about privacy issues, but about loss of instruction time when implementing data collection programs in the classroom.