Summit Learning, a digital learning platform founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his philanthropist spouse, Priscilla Chan, suggests that schools monitor parents’ online activities, from critical comments to public Facebook groups. What could possibly go wrong with that?
Big Brotherish, not the least.
As reported by Fox News, the platform is used by hundreds of schools around the U.S. and was developed, in part, by Facebook engineers — who knew? — who continued to work with the platform until Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s foundation entered into the partnership in 2017.
Summit suggested that schools listen to parents’ online conversations and give instructions on how to do this. You may be wondering how this Orwellian gem was discovered.
Fox News Digital reported that Summit Learning’s recommendations were found in an internal portal. This portal is only available to educators who use it. Try to manage your shock and amazement.
Fox News Digital tried to reach the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative but was not able to get a reply.
How do concerned parents react to this revelation?
As should be expected from any concerned parent, as noted by Fox:
Schools attempting to implement Summit have met pushback from parents concerned about students’ data security, among other aspects of the program. For example, after Cheshire Public Schools in Connecticut entered into Summit in 2017, parents’ “opposition” caused the program to be terminated, according to Summit.
The Cheshire superintendent confirmed that the platform would have access to students’ names, email addresses, and analytics on their performance.
Furthermore, research from The National Education Policy Center, which is housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, alleged that Summit’s contracts with schools “presents a potentially significant risk to student privacy and opens the door to the exploitation of those data by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and possibly by unknown third parties “for purposes that have nothing to do with improving the quality of those students’ educations.”
Summit Learning dismissed the “incorrect” observation of the researchers and told Fox Digital:
We take student privacy very seriously and it is our top priority. We don’t use student information for any other purposes than education. We may use de-identified data in certain situations (i.e. Information that cannot be used to contact or identify an individual to enhance your experience with the Learning Services
“Educational purposes,” as developed by whom? “To improve your experience,” as defined by whom?
I’m sorry for being skeptical, but parents are now realizing the reality of education in public schools.
The irony of schools and teachers monitoring parents’ online activities and conversations should not be surprising. Parents should have the ability to monitor their children’s online activities and conversations. This is a joke, but no one should have access to their private conversations or online activities. Period.
Does this mean that it won’t happen? Rhetorical question.
However, every classroom in America should be fitted with a live TV monitor, visible to parents and anyone else while teachers are “teaching” and students are “learning.” It’s called accountability. Unfortunately, teachers’ unions, school boards, and many teachers themselves remain strongly opposed to the idea.
Wonder why? I think that most of us already know the answer to that question.