Louisiana Believes Course Choice Providers Should Defraud the State

Louisiana Believes Course Choice Providers Should Defraud the State

It’s become increasingly clear that Louisiana believes that a certain amount of fraud, waste, and graft is a good thing, and a lot of any of these things is a whole lot better!

From the outset, Course Choice (ala carte online courses children can take to supplement their educational diets paid for by tax payers) has been fraught with what most states would consider scandalous and irresponsible – at best. Providers of Course Choice do not require certifications to teach or offer classes, and the rigorous approval John White has alluded to in various interviews is simply copying the names of the courses (from adobe .pdf files provided by vendors) into a spreadsheet, and then verifying that the names are entered correctly into the Course Choice database. A former DOE staffer related this story about verifying Course Choice providers and their credentials.

I was at one meeting last fall. Ken Bradford, Dave Lefkowith, and others from the “content team” were in the room. Bradford’s concern was how to claim that all of the Course Choice teachers were licensed in Louisiana. Lefkowith wanted to put them all on Louisiana out of state certificates, then got mad when they discovered the certificates were only good for three years. Someone suggested simply having the vendors sign an assurance that their instructors were certified in their appropriate states. (How would you check on that if you were DOE?) I don’t know what they eventually went with, since I asked too many questions and was not invited to any more meetings. It’s the John White way.

And now you understand why he is a former staffer.

John White refused to vet any of the applicants and has ceded approval of these Course Choice providers and their classes to the school districts. Children are recruited into classes by folks recruited from Craigslist ads.

Help change the landscape of public education in Louisiana!
On your own time!
With the potential to make $75k+ in 6 months or less!
Company Description: SmartStart Virtual Academy (“SVA”) (a division of SmartStart Education) is a state-approved Course Choice provider. This means that SVA has been authorized to offer FREE courses to high-school students in the state of Louisiana for graduation credit. SVA is offering 22 approved courses — both core-classes (such as reading, math and science) and career-ready courses (such as web-design and publishing).”

Actual FastPath recruit
Actual FastPath recruit

They’ll change the landscape alright, but not for the better. These folks have no experience in education or the courses they are recruiting students for. Course Choice providers claim these folks are simply paid an hourly rate, while claiming they can earn up to 75,000 dollars in 6 months. I’m not sure how many hours or what the rate is, but working a 40 hour week that mean these recruiters are being paid more than 72 dollars an hour regardless of whether they sign up a single student for a single class?

In his response, Callaway said, “We have a strict protocol that all of our representatives follow, and they are paid a flat hourly rate for their work ($16 per hour, according to FastPath’s ad).

For those of you not wishing to do the math, to earn 75,000 dollars in 6 months at 16 dollars an hour you would have to work 180 hours a week. However based on the most state of the art calculations to date most 7 day weeks only contain 168 hours. At the very least, this would require significant regular time travel. However, let’s assume these Craigslist recruited employees have developed reliable time travel and rather than use it to kill Hitler or win all the lottery’s under assumed names, they’ve chosen to go door to door at all hours of the day and night recruiting kids into online courses. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where someone can earn a rate of 150,000 dollars a year without showing any results – unless you are a John White appointed LDOE employee. So it doesn’t take a great math wiz to figure out these guys have to enroll great quantities of students to remain employed and justify the absurd amounts they are getting paid. Also keep in mind that many of the courses these guys offer are in math.

Some of the courses for students allegedly signed up for in Webster included math courses entitled Single Variable Equations, Two Variable Equations, Number Line Inequalities, Applied Linear Equations 1 and 2, Quadratic Formula, Quadratic X-Intercepts, Trinomial Factoring and Graphs to Linear Inequalities.

They expect us to “trust” them with our children and to be respectful of their privacy and their data when they recruit their own employees with lies from Craigslist, a website used by prostitutes and pimps to recruit Johns and for serial murders and rapists to recruit victims. That actually sounds just about right for John White, but we should expect better for our children. Is it any wonder this happened?

One of those registering for courses in Webster Parish was a parent and “at least one was a Severe Profound child,” said a spokesperson for the Webster School Board. “The recruiters went down the street knocking on doors,” he said.

In response to the claims that over 1100 students are enrolled in classes without their knowledge in just three northern parishes (Webster, Caddo and Bossier) alone, the legislature and LDOE has been strangely silent, except to continue to defend the program. In response to criticism that he failed to properly monitor or vet the program, Superintendent John White responded thusly:

However, state Superintendent of Education John White strongly denies that any fraudulent students have been enrolled for courses. Checks and balances — designed to catch errors or suspect enrollments — in the Course Choice program are working, White said.

In other words, John White is claiming the rejection of fraudulent enrollments by local school district personnel is proof his genius plan is working. John White is putting the responsibility for whether a student gets enrolled illegally or not all in the local school districts laps. If a student gets enrolled for the wrong class, or Mickey Mouse or Clint Eastwood gets enrolled, that’s Bossier’s fault. John White does not believe the state DOE bears any burden for filtering fraudulent providers, or investigating fraudulent enrollments, nor that there should be any sanctions for providers turning in enrollments that are inappropriate or fraudulent 100% of the time – as happened in this case!

I suppose he does make a good point, though.  Given John White’s record on supervising data collections its much safer to have the school districts do this.  However, we’re only a few months in and with only 3 of 69 city/parishes reporting.  Do any of you feel comfortable calling this election to use fraud and trickery to enroll unqualified student’s over?  Personally, I’d find it pretty hard to believe this bogus enrollment story stops here. Fortunately for the Course Choice providers this legislative session will end in June 6th or sooner, and John White will be long gone to DC by the end of June, leaving this hefty check with us. But John White wasn’t content to leave the situation there, he is insisting that the School districts are up to no good, by doing their job and verifying data.

“When you see school systems like Bossier where 100 percent of the kids are not approved for the program, and in Caddo where it’s 95 percent and so on, it seems odd to have numbers that high and leads me to believe the school system is using the oversight they have to keep students out of the program,” White said.

To be fair, verifying data is something Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera recently expressed the opinion that John White knows nothing about. John White later confirmed complying with state law on charter schools was not something he felt he should commit any resources to do.

But to get back to White’s point, sure, I suppose what he is suggesting is one possibility.  Here are some more likely possibilities though:

  • Paying thugs you recruit off the street to enroll as many people, pets, and cartoon characters is as unsound as it sounds.
  • Perhaps hiring Course Choice pimps to push courses and free iPads for enrolling gets a lot of kids interested in signing up for as many courses as they can, regardless of what they are, is unwise and wasteful?
  • Perhaps using people without education backgrounds to discuss enrolling course work with kids of all ages, without any educational background or history is just plain stupid?
  • Perhaps allowing LDOE to approve every single vendor and course without any formal evaluation process in place, and zero certification requirements is the stuff dumb people’s dreams are made of?
  • Perhaps a meteor struck the earth and created  a focused electrical surge that scrambled the vendor’s good data with the bad data they turned in?

All more likely scenario’s than John White’s.

But what really happened? This is one of the reports of how this “recruitment drive” worked.

As in Caddo and Webster parishes, representatives of FastPath Learning reportedly drove into certain neighborhoods in Homer and Haynesville, disembarked from a “green van” and began handing out fliers to children offering a free laptop for signing up for Course Choice programs.

“They are not talking to the parents,” said [Claiborne schools Superintendent Janice] Williams, who personally contacted some of them to learn how their children were enrolled. “It’s malicious and deceptive on their behalf, the Course Choice providers, working in this area. It’s upsetting to me as a superintendent. They are going behind my back and gathering students and not letting me know they are in the district.”

So just what kinds of problems are being found by the folks that are actually reviewing these applications? (John White, since this is not you, you don’t have a right to answer.)

Jody Kaiser, who oversees Course Choice for Bossier, said the school system saw a recent influx of students signed up for the statewide program whose parents were unaware their child was enrolled for Course Choice. The district also saw students signed up for the program who were not enrolled in Bossier Parish schools, Kaiser said.

“We’ve tried in many cases and have seen the students are listed in Bossier but actually attend a school in Caddo or we can’t find any record of them at all,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser said he is personally investigating each Course Choice application that comes to the district to determine whether the classes are the right fit for students. He has yet to find one offered by an outside vendor that would be appropriate for the student in question, Kaiser said.

There really is no point trying to make a case for what Course Choice could be in the “Ideal World” John White and LDOE tries to paint in the media. My previous link points to an article at the Pelican Post, which is total BS and has been debunked from top to bottom by me, other local bloggers like Tom Aswell at Louisiana Voice, Mike Deshotels at Louisiana Educator, and Dr. Mercedes Schneider at Deutsch29 as well as even more mainstream publications like the ShrevePort Times. Let me be blunt here. The real world of Course Choice recruiters is in all likelihood sexual predators who have eluded detection to date, drug addicts, and felons without a conviction in the last 5 years roaming your streets while you’re at work, offering iPads to your kids if they open the door and chat a while, perhaps provide a little personal information.

“Don’t worry,” they’ll say, “we work for the Louisiana Department of Education, and we’re legit. . . just let us in. . . that’s some nice jewelry your mom’s wearing in that picture. . . is that your bedroom?”

You may think this is alarmist, but with a 100% rejection rate, they guys can’t be discussing education that much, now can they?

'nuff said
’nuff said

To end this on a more amusing note I will debunk a new claim I saw made by the Pelican Post. (I couldn’t resist)

In order to assist schools with the process of enrollment, the Louisiana Department Of Education has set up a robust assistance center on the Course Choice website.

Welcome below to what greets you at the robust assistance center. You’d think it would be a little more “robust” what with all the confusion out there about Course Choice, wouldn’t you?

I actually kind of reminds me of the Louisiana Department of Education website. It’s just as functional but more direct. I recommend John White consider replacing his louisianabelieves website with a “robust” one like this one.

Can these guys be for real? Am I on one giant, overly elaborate and really unfunny Punk’d episode, or is John White’s PR team really this inept?

Lefty's first time using Craigslist
Lefty’s first time using Craigslist
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Louisiana Educator: The Course Choice Cancer (promotional posting)

Louisiana Educator: The Course Choice Cancer (promotional posting)

You need to read this post by Mike Deshotels.  One of the reasons John White is handing student data over to private, unaccountable vendors is to make it easy for them to enroll you kids in terrible virtual courses, taught by uncertified teachers, on the state’s/your dime.  Not only are these often classes taught by uncertified “teachers” recruited from Craigslist, but school districts have no choice in the matter of awarding students credit for these courses.

This is especially bad for the following reasons:

  • Student performance is tied to teacher performance.  If a student takes a Course Choice class in Algebra I and passes, but without learning anything, and then reports to another real teacher’s class for a higher math class, that teacher will get a horrible score and face possible termination.
  • School and district closures and takeovers are tied to student performance.  If a significant number of students take these crap courses to get easy credits, then take the tests used to determine SPS scores (School Performance Scores) they will do terrible.  That’s a guarantee.  This will mean school districts will be taken over and away from those parents and kids that did not participate in “Course Choice” and handed over to for profit companies, without any accountability or oversight.  Course Choice is a way to accelerate school takeovers by trashing school performance.
  • If significant numbers of students take these substandard courses, you can forget about students from Louisiana getting fair treatment when it comes to applying for colleges or jobs after high school.  Once the ill prepared kids reach the job market Louisiana’s reputation, such that it is already, will plummet even more.  A diploma from Louisiana will be little better than a piece of used toilet paper.  We might as well just start awarding diploma’s online for a 99 dollar fee when kids are born.  They will carry as much weight as the actual ones.

buy a degree

Course Choice: What a steal.  Get Yours Today!!!!!

Has John White lied to BESE and the State of Louisiana, or is inBloom lying?

Has John White lied to BESE and the State of Louisiana, or is inBloom lying?

Regular readers of this blog may be aware that I am fighting the unlawful sharing of private student data to unsupervised private unaccountable vendors. I’ve even started a petition to support this effort. Friday morning I got some good news, or at least I thought I had. John White seemed to come to his senses and agreed to withdraw the student data he supplied to inBloom.

For those not in the know, inBloom is a privately operated data cloud that advertises its ability to host all personal student data, from Social Security Numbers, to names, dates of birth, pictures, medical information, discipline records and history, test scores, etc. John White tried to simply spin his inBloom “partnership” (his word not mine) as a data garage housing “cars” he likened to our students. White claimed like all garages, once the cars are parked there, no one can get the keys so our cars (kids) are perfectly safe.

inBloom cannot see or use any information regarding students or schools in Louisiana. This is like renting space in a parking garage. The garage company may house the car for a while, but it may not touch or use the cars in the garage. While inBloom stores information, inBloom does not have access to the information

At first I thought this was an overly simplistic, condescending analogy, perhaps something thought up by a small child, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized he may actually be on to something. So let’s go with it.

Virtual garages, like real garages in real life, can have cars stolen from them all the time at any moment. Putting a car in a garage does not magically make it safe, and actually makes it less safe by virtue of placing it into someone else’s custody who does not have as much vested interest in taking care of your car as you do. What’s more, the “garage” inBloom and similar vendors are proposing will eventually hold all the cars. They want to hold everyone’s data, all their data, in one place. While it’s true cars can be stolen from personal garages, thieves have to go to each garage and steal each car. . . one at a time.  In the virtual garage scenario all thieves have to do is get access to one garage, (the garage) and they can steal everyone’s car (actually all their cars, and any car they’ve ever owned.)

What’s worse is while a car thief might have to go physically to your home or to a real garage and steal a car in the flesh, drive it away manually, and find a buyer one at a time. . .well most hackers actually live in countries outside of the United States like Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, etc. They don’t have to travel to the car (the student data) to steal it. They can steal it from the privacy of their home or “professional” hacking corporation composed of career and sometimes government sponsored and supported hackers.  Their “jobs” are to find vulnerabilities to exploit an steal data and trade secrets. Many foreign governments like China, Iran, and North Korea actually support these efforts.  These foreign “car” thieves can steal all the cars in the blink of an eye and sell them to millions of other criminals just as fast.

So yeah, a virtual garage is a horrible idea, for us. It’s a great idea for criminals and whatever companies like inBloom would like us to believe they are.

Every public garage I’ve parked in has a big disclaimer on the wall when you drive in that the owner of the garage cannot be liable for thefts, damage or stolen property left in the automobiles. When you give the keys to a valet to park your “car” they can damage your car, take it for a joy ride, forget to lock the doors, any number of unpleasant things. . .  And cars have been hot-wired at least since episodes of Starsky and Hutch originally ran on television.

MyParkingSign.com

. . .inBloom has a disclaimer too.

“[inBloom] cannot guarantee the security of the information stored in inBloom or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted.”

Pretty familiar, eh? Would you trust a car for permanent storage under such an agreement? Would you trust your child to an establishment that made you sign such an agreement. . . that they are not responsible if your child gets kidnapped, or injured. . .  but they will take “reasonable precautions

Yeah, you’re not taking my kids, you freaks, and I’m not trusting you with their future either, inBloom.  But I digress.

A number of parents, students and legislators have been alerted to this violation of our privacy and an emergency item was placed on the BESE agenda by BESE member Lottie Beebe.  This meeting was held Wednesday the 17th.

Shortly after what has been reported as a “lively” BESE meeting (who knew they had those?) John White promised to release all MOUs and contracts related to data sharing agreements like inBloom or Agilix (another vendor that was uncovered from internal e-mails.)  White then sent out this letter (I mentioned above) to Superintendents and school districts to try and spin and sell his garage idea.  It did not seem to work because the next day he informed BESE members he was withdrawing the state’s data from inBloom.  White implied he was cancelling the contract until he was able to alleviate fears and run such agreements by BESE. He issues this letter to BESE to that effect.

Update
04/18/2013 06:16 PM

Subject

Members:

At Wednesday’s meeting we heard some compelling testimony regarding the state’s and school districts’ data storage practices. It’s an issue worth continued discussion with the board.

The data storage agreement with the inBloom database was undertaken with caution and a sense of responsibility. However, because of the concerns expressed by some parents, and because we have not yet had an in-depth discussion with the board and public about data storage at the agency or district level, I think that it is best for now that we withdraw student information from the inBloom database. I have told our staff to do so and have informed inBloom of our decision.

We have protected student information for decades and take security very seriously. Given the concerns expressed by our most important constituents — students and families — I’d like a chance to discuss our policies and procedures with you before we enter into new relationships with partners providing this service.

Thanks as always for your time. Have a great weekend.

John

John White

Louisiana Department of Education
Twitter @LouisianaSupe

Barbara Leader, with the Monroe News Star, has been investigating this story for the last week and calling folks all over the state (including yours truly) and had interviewed White earlier in the week about inBloom and Louisiana’s role/partnership with this private company. As Barbara was preparing to run a story on Friday, John White contacted her out of the blue to announce his decision to “seemingly” rescind his agreement.

Louisiana Department of Education Superintendent John White says he is withdrawing Louisiana student information from a non-profit database, just two days after he assured Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members that the data was safe and could not be distributed without DOE approval.

This seemed like good news and I was grateful to Barbara for covering this story that was so dear to so many parents and children. While I was unable to make the Wednesday meeting I heard there was a robust turnout and even some brave students from Mandeville High School showed up to testify against this unlawful data sharing. I can’t speak for these students, but many of our students are 18 or older and had no say and no knowledge of the inBloom agreement and did not give permission to share their details with private vendors. The only folks who seemed aware of these agreements of questionable legality were White’s inner circle but not BESE which is supposed to review and approve such contracts by law.

However just when I thought things might be going well I was forwarded this tweet from inBloom’s official twitter account that got me to thinking. . .

inBloom@inBloomEdu

.@frankcatalano
@audreywatters Louisiana still part of inBloom community. Many inaccuracies in coverage

I asked inBloom to explain this cryptic tweet that they sent to other education reporters, but so far they have not elaborated. Nevertheless it brought to mind a question. I never did see what John White actually sent to inBloom to cancel his legal agreement with them – to withdraw “student information from the inBloom database.”  Did you?

Did he withdraw it all?

Did he simply tell inBloom to lay low while he “handles” those yokels in Louisiana?

Did John White make a jaded calculation that if he placated us on a Friday release, he could take advantage of the Boston Bombing coverage and people would simply forget about this come Monday? Later he could go back to BESE and get them to rubberstamp his agreement while no one was watching?

I wonder who is lying?

Did John White actually lie to BESE, to the Monroe News Star, to our legislators, to all the citizens of Louisiana?

Is this inBloom’s desperate attempt to stop other states from pulling out of the inBloom project? Perhaps. . . but if they are shown to be lying that will only further damage their credibility. Would inBloom risk lying about something that is easily disproved with the simple production of the John White cancellation notification?

I would ask that John White clears this up right away. He still has not produced the MOU that he promised to produce at the April 17th BESE meeting. Surely to cancel such a contract (which by law he would have been required to create to share student data like name, Date of Birth and Social Security number) he would have had to review it to determine how exactly to go around cancelling that agreement? White could not have shared the data in the first place (even under the weakened FERPA laws) without this legal document, a contract or MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) describing duties, uses, what data was to be shared, and under which circumstances the agreement could be cancelled.

I strongly encourage John White to produce the MOU with inBloom that he promised to punctually produce at Wednesday’s meeting and to produce the subsequent cancellation notification this contract would have required that he sent to inBloom. That’s all it will take to demonstrate that inBloom is lying, or at least in error, and they he did not lie to all of us, over and over.

However it occurred to me that maybe John White is lying, if not about this, maybe something else.  So just to be on the safe side, I felt this warranted me looking into John White’s other claims at this point. I contacted Barbara Leader, who produced the article for the Monroe News Star that announced John White was withdrawing from his inBloom agreement to ask for something she mentioned in her article. . .the file layout John White provided to back up his claim he only provided:

In an email to The News-Star, White said that “the only student info we are storing in this garage: local student ID, first name, last name, gender, date of birth, ethnicity and race.”

You see, I know a little bit about data, especially Louisiana Department of Education data, having worked in that area for almost 9 years, so there was something that bothered me about this statement. You see, local student ID is optional, and most school districts don’t send it. State ID is required, and is about 98% of the time the student’s Social Security Number. The local ID field did not seem like it could possibly be correct since most of them are blank.. Then when I looked at the rest of the fields, and looked at this description of who John White said would be using this or a similar database (if a similar database it’s one he did not cancel yet) in this statement:

John White, Superintendent of Louisiana Schools, says, “By connecting to IBDS, Agilix opens a lot of doors for our Course Choice product not only for registration but also for detailed analysis of student performance. We expect this will assist greatly in tracking and reporting results of Course Choice adoption to state authorities.”

Did you catch it? J Probably not, but let me explain. White said this would be used for registration. This information would have to be sent to school districts and registration through school districts to keep track of student performance and what their kids have register for unless LDE plans to handle all that in-house. Even then you would need to know a few more basic things, like grade level, where the child is enrolled, if they are still enrolled, etc. You can’t get all that from those 7 elements. You’d need more. The News Star Reported John White provided documentation that only those 7 elements were shared, so I figured I’d just check myself. I asked Barbara to forward the file John White sent to her to me. This is it, and I’ll explain what I found.


<?xml version=”1.0″ ?>

<InterchangeStudentParent xmlns:xsi=”http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance” xmlns=”http://ed-fi.org/0100” xsi:schemaLocation=”http://ed-fi.org/0100 ../../../../../../domain/src/main/resources/edfiXsd/Interchange-StudentParent.xsd“>

<Student>

<StudentUniqueStateId>999999999</StudentUniqueStateId>

<Name>

<FirstName>JANE</FirstName>

<LastSurname>DOE</LastSurname>

</Name>

<Sex>Female</Sex>

<BirthData>

<BirthDate>2005-05-19</BirthDate>

</BirthData>

<Address>

<StreetNumberName>No Data Exists</StreetNumberName>

<City>No Data Exists</City>

<StateAbbreviation>LA</StateAbbreviation>

<PostalCode>0000000</PostalCode>

</Address>

<Telephone>

<TelephoneNumber>0</TelephoneNumber>

</Telephone>

<ElectronicMail>

<EmailAddress>No Data Exists</EmailAddress>

</ElectronicMail>

<ProfileThumbnail>No Data Exists</ProfileThumbnail>

<HispanicLatinoEthnicity>false</HispanicLatinoEthnicity>

<Race>

<RacialCategory>White</RacialCategory>

</Race>

</Student>


<StudentSchoolAssociation>

<StudentReference>

<StudentIdentity>

<StudentUniqueStateId>999999999</StudentUniqueStateId>

</StudentIdentity>

</StudentReference>

<SchoolReference>

<EducationalOrgIdentity>

<StateOrganizationId>032023</StateOrganizationId>

</EducationalOrgIdentity>

</SchoolReference>

<EntryDate>2012-08-09</EntryDate>

<EntryGradeLevel>Twelfth grade</EntryGradeLevel>

</StudentSchoolAssociation>

John White unwittingly sent us a file for yet another (third?) data aggregator he shared student data with and did not run by BESE. You see, these xml files look like they came from and/or go to Ed-Fi if you read the header for this file. Ed-Fi is yet another data aggregation company owned by a different set of billionaires, Michael and Susan Dell. inBloom is a company created by another pair of billionaires, Bill and Melinda Gates. A third company, Amplify, which partnering with inBloom was set up by yet another billionaire named Rupert Murdoch of News Corp and child phone hacking fame.

This is how Ed-Fi describes itself.

The Ed-Fi Solution

The Ed-Fi solution is an educational data standard and tool suite (unifying data model, data exchange framework, application framework, and sample dashboard source code) that enables vital academic information on K-12 students to be consolidated from the different data systems of school districts while leaving the management and governance of data within those districts and states. Ed-Fi components act as a translator of academic data, integrating and organizing information so that educators can start addressing the individual needs of each student from day one, and can measure progress and refine action plans throughout the school year.

This Ed-Fi tidbit reminded me of some internal e-mails I’d obtained some time ago but had not figured out how to connect to anything, until now.  These are correspondence from John White, and Ed-Fi where he was exploring a relationship with Ed-Fi.  This was done either before or while simultaneously working with inBloom.

Here’s some of the correspondence from over a year ago with Ed-Fi. (DOE apparently provides their FOIA requests as a sideways oriented image files to make use very difficult. You will have to orient them image one rotation clockwise to view.)

To summarize this set of emails: it appears the Louisiana Department of Education was sending data to Ed-Fi too, long before inBloom. I wonder how many other groups like this John White has been sharing with? Agilix seems like another one as well as the Course Choice providers. Did White simply sacrifice inBloom to save all these other relationships, perhaps 4 that we know of at this point?

It seems quite likely we’ve been duped and inBloom was offered up as a sacrificial lamb.

Now to get back to the Ed-Fi file John White has characterized as the inBloom file. Let’s assume these are the same elements that were actually provided to inBloom. . . too. I notice that Grade level is included, site code is included of which the first three characters are the school district ID, entry date is include, and State ID (the student’s SSN) not the local ID was sent to Ed-Fi and or inBloom. That’s a shame, EdFi was only asking for a unique ID, not SSN, but John White decided to send a less accurate number for tracking unique students but more dangerous for students. I can tell we sent the SSN because they DOE shows they are sending a 9 character number and our unique internal state ID is 10 characters to make differentiation readily apparent. SSN is a totally unnecessary bit of info that can be used for identity theft especially with the date of birth and name John White is also helpfully (for criminals) providing.

What I find intriguing is that there are empty spots for the student’s address, their picture, their phone number and e-mail address. I can’t think of a reason to leave those in the file unless you’re leaving them as placeholders to fill later.

To summarize:

  • John White can prove he did not falsely inform BESE and the state of Louisiana about cancelling a contract with inBloom he has no intention of cancelling by production of the cancellation agreement.
  • John White can prove he did not lie to BESE that he would produce the inBloom MOU and all other sharing/partnership agreements by doing so quickly and in good faith.
  • We need to know how many vendors has John White shared date with already and not recalled . . . but it appears to be at least 3 more. . . (Ed-Fi, Course Choice, Agilix)
  • John White may not have cancelled the inBloom contract as he claimed. InBloom has publicly claimed otherwise.
  • John White sent more than the 7 data elements he claimed to BESE and the Monroe News Star that he sent. It also looks like he plans to send much more sensitive data at a later date.
  • John White has definitely already sent private student data to Ed-Fi, an inBloom like operation, as much as a year ago, based on the internal e-mail trail and file spec. He did not notify school districts or BESE about this agreement to my knowledge.  (I will be happy to amend this statement if somone can show me that I’m wrong.)

Now, what are we going to do about this?