Join us next month in Indy to discuss privacy & online learning!

Next month in Indianapolis, the Network for Public Education will be holding our annual conference on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20-21.  More info and how to register here.

I will be participating in two amazing panels focused on how protect students and teachers from the growing threat to data privacy and resist the  the expansion of online learning which is undermining the quality of public education.

The first workshop, to be held on Saturday Oct. 20 morning at 10:50 AM is entitled Outsourcing the classroom to ed tech & machine-learning: why parents & teachers should resist .  Presenting with me are two brilliant bloggers and thinkers whose work I never fail to learn from, Audrey Watters and Peter Greene. 

Audrey has single-handedly and fiercely taken on the ed tech industry for many years and  critiques their claims on her essential blog,  Hack Education.  If you haven’t subscribed to her newsletter, you absolutely should do so.  She is currently writing a book to be published by MIT Press called Teaching Machines.

Peter is a Pennsylvania teacher who retired last year, but even while teaching was among the most prolific and incisive education bloggers at Curmudjucation. He also now writes a regular column for Forbes.    In his writings, he deconstructs and eviscerates the agenda of the corporate reformers and faux philanthropists, whether it be the promotion of online education, Common Core, high-stakes testing or any of the other snake oil  disseminated by private interests bent on disrupting public education.  He shows how they are based neither on research, common sense, or the experience of teachers or parents.

During the second workshop, held later the same day, our panel will present A Teacher Data Privacy Toolkit: How to protect your students’ privacy and your own.  Marla Kilfoyle and Melissa Tomlinson of the Badass Teachers Association, Rachael Stickland co-chair of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy and I will offer some of the highlights and practical tips of our yet-to-be released Toolkit, the product of  a year-long collaboration between the PCSP and the BATs, with support from the Rose Foundation, the NEA and the AFT.

From responses to an online survey and focus groups of teachers, administrators and other school staff, we heard loud and strong how educators were deeply frustrated by the lack of training and knowledge they had about how to minimize and safeguard the increasing amount of personal data being collected by schools and vendors, and how they can work to ensure it isn’t breached or improperly used.  This toolkit, like the Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy we along with Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood released in 2017, represents an attempt to provide the support and information that teachers need to act as responsible guardians of their students’ privacy — and their own.

Please join us in Indianapolis – more amazing speakers and panels are described here. — Leonie Haimson