$14M gift horse from Mark Zuckerberg to CPS? Email your reps about student privacy!

HB1295, the Student Information Transparency Act, a bill that RYH Action helped draft. We'll be meeting with the opponents of this bill again next week for further negotiations. You can help us by writing a quick note to your legislators about why action on student privacy is more urgent than ever.


You can use this Action Network link to quickly send your state rep and state senator a letter asking them to vote for this bill and to hold subject-matter hearings on student privacy. 

The need for HB1295 became even clearer and more urgent this week. On Tuesday, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) announced they were giving $14 million to CPS and LEAP Innovations, a Chicago-based ed tech incubator that uses CPS students to test ed tech software. The grant money is to be used to implement "personalized learning" in CPS schools with $10 million going to LEAP and $4 million to CPS. 

CZI is a for-profit LLC owned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife; CZI controls the Summit Personalized Learning Platform already in use in more than a dozen CPS schools, and it has millions invested in venture capital in ed tech companies. There have been huge pedagogical and privacy issues with Summit across the country, including here in Chicago. 

There was already cause for grave concern about threats to student data protection, but this grant announcement, just weeks after Zuckerberg appeared in front of Congress to testify about Facebook's treatment of personal information in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, highlights the need for the IL General Assembly to act.

It's important for our state legislators to hear from their constituents on this issue. Getting HB1295 passed would be the first step towards adequately protecting the privacy and security of public school students' personal data. RYH Action has drafted a policy statement on the full set of changes to state law needed to protect student privacy, in addition to this transparency piece. You can share the link to the letter with others concerned about personal privacy.


[Image used via Creative Commons]