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letters | challenges facing schools

Tread carefully, if at all, in sharing student data

State education officials should not permit personally identifiable information about students, such as name, address, race, special needs status, test scores, and disciplinary records, to be part of a store of data maintained by a private corporation, inBloom, for use by educational software developers and other commercial users (“Alerts raised over pilot plan to manage student data,” Business, May 14). Public schools should not share confidential information about students with private corporations, particularly under the terms of this arrangement. InBloom’s privacy policy states that the company cannot ensure that our children’s data will remain secure or that it will not be intercepted when transmitted.

School districts and the state must establish clear security obligations and rules to govern how personal student information may be used by private companies, if at all. Once these rules and protections are made public, parents should be given a chance to opt in to data-sharing programs that implicate their children’s futures. Until then, Massachusetts should not participate.

Lynne Soutter

The writer is a Boston public school parent and a member of the board of the ACLU of Massachusetts.