Category Archives: Connections

College Students Question the “Safety” of SafeConnect

SafeConnect 0

College Students Question the “Safety” of SafeConnect

SafeConnect, owned by Impulse Point, LLC is a university network system utilized across the nation and in Minnesota.  In order for students to connect to the internet while on campus, students log on to the SafeConnect system.   So what’s the problem?

In working with SafeConnect, students are reporting that the system gives full administrative control over a student’s personal computer to software developed by a company called Impulse Point.  This means that Impulse Point, if prompted by government, could covertly and remotely turn on a student’s webcam, access all documents and files on a student’s computer, and modify or delete any piece of information on the student’s computer.  Although Impulse Point claims not to be used for these purposes, the fact that it has the capability to take these actions should be concerning, particularly in light of published Snowden documents.

Impulse Point runs additional programs like Identity Connect.  http://www.impulse.com/identityconnect/  Impulse Point appears as a “TierOne Partner” with VistaOne.  https://www.vistaone.com/amx/impulse-point-safeconnect/  VistaOne has a number of partner companies including Riverbed, Palo Alto, Procera,  and Synergy.  https://www.vistaone.com/amx/tierone-partners/

Students and professors across the US are beginning to look into programs, such as Cisco Clean Access, SafeConnect and others.   These companies are employed by universities to satisfy the legislative mandates of securing a private network for their college.

In 2004, all universities in the United States were required to maintain a private Internet network under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.   Additionally, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 set forth guidelines making it necessary for all schools to “combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials via illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property,” as a condition of obtaining Federal Pell Grants for students and participating in other federal financial aid programs.  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html

To understand the scope of colleges and universities using SafeConnect within the last three years, the following schools came up on a simple search within that time frame:  Inver Grove Heights Community College, MN; Augsburg College, Minneapolis; Coastal California University, Yeshiva University, NYC; Sacramento State; University of New Haven; University of Nebraska-Lincoln, La Salle University, University of California – San Diego and Santa Cruz; University of Missouri – Kansas City; Presbyterian College, SC; University of North Florida, American University, Georgetown University, University of North Dakota, and Boston University are using SafeConnect to secure private network and fulfill legislative mandates.  No doubt there are many other colleges who employ SafeConnect.

According to the SafeConnect site, “SafeConnect acts as a gatekeeper to the university’s Internet network.  Any user who tries to access the New School network must first pass a security check — a log-in page asking for the user’s New School ID.   Network access controls allow large networks that serve many users and devices to set rules about who can and cannot log on. Before SafeConnect green-lights a user onto the information super-highway, the program runs a check to see if his or her device has installed current anti-virus software or up-to-date security patches.”

The New School Network, New York City.  http://www.newschool.edu/information-technology/wireless-network/

Recently, students at Augsburg College in Minneapolis authored a petition against SafeConnect, a university internet network system utilized in universities across the nation and in Minnesota.

SafeConnect Petition

Students of Augsburg Against SafeConnect  state that SafeConnect is a program that runs at full administrative privileges, under the SYSTEM account, meaning it can do anything the operating system can do.  Students and faculty have signed the petition.

SafeConnect 1

SafeConnect 2

SafeConnect 3

SafeConnect 4In In In       “Safe”Connect Part II:  We’ll take a look a closer look at how the program actually works and remotely takes over one’s computer.

SafeConnect appears to be a program designed for covert remote access to a student’s personal computer.  Should universities and colleges be able to install spyware/remote access tools on a student’s personal computer?   Students have a right to privacy regarding their own personal property and particularly in a university setting where many students live on campus.  
Students, Take Note!

 

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White House Announces Transition to Openly Licensed Education Resources for Schools

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White House Announces Transition to Openly Licensed Education Resources for Schools
 The White House announces the Federal Government is to *begin to model the transition to openly licensed educational materials at scale in U.S. K-12 schools. We look forward to engaging with the national and global community to identify opportunities for open licensing to accelerate educational equity for all learners regardless of their financial situations or geographic locations.* This is aligned to Article 26 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
Is this the move toward a national and/or international curriculum?  What could go wrong?
Reposted from Missouri Education Watchdog

Openly Licensed Educational Resources: Providing Equitable Access to Education for All Learners

by Gretchen Logue

Summary:  The Federal government is supporting the use of open educational resources to provide equitable access to quality education.

Everyone has the right to education…Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. —Article 26 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

Access to quality education is an essential component of addressing many of our biggest global and societal challenges. Last year, the United Nations surveyed youth around the world about their priorities—what opportunities they want to be offered. More than improvements in electricity and infrastructure, healthcare, and better jobs, what young people asked for was a good education. It’s no surprise that young people value education. World Bank economists estimate that for every year of study, individual income increases by 10-15 percent. These increases don’t just affect individuals; they often generate a “ripple effect” of benefits to families and entire communities. Openly licensed learning resources, also known as open educational resources (OER), can increase access to high-quality education opportunities and reduce the cost of education around the world.

On September 28, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of State co-hosted an International Open Education Workshop, bringing together 40 civil society and foreign government participants from eight countries to examine existing open education efforts and identify opportunities for future collaboration between government and civil society. This workshop is one of several open education commitments made as part of the second U.S. Open Government Partnership National Action Plan.

At the workshop, participants shared examples of ways that openly licensed educational materials are being used to solve local education challenges around the world. For example, one participant shared open-source tools that enable offline access to openly licensed educational videos — technology that has supported education for Syrian refugees, inmates in U.S. correctional facilities, and over 2 million other learners from around the world. Open licenses grant anyone the rights to revise, remix, and redistribute these educational materials, so investments in content or tools made by one organization or government can be leveraged by other institutions and used in new ways.

Another participant, drawing on her recent experience serving as a Foreign Service Officer in the Balkans, noted the potential for openly licensed educational materials to honor local knowledge and information needs. In particular, she described how an open-source model could empower educators to collaborate on and adapt textbooks across local and international borders, retaining fundamental content while tailoring certain features, like names in math word problems, to reflect students’ ethnic diversity and culture.  Empowering local communities to adapt, translate, and create collections of learning materials that meet their information, learning, or language needs helps side-step assumptions and honor learners’ lived experiences.

Open education advances key national priorities, including supporting shared economic prosperity, strengthening civil society, and investing in human development. Over the next year, the U.S. Government will continue efforts to expand and accelerate the use and availability of openly licensed educational materials worldwide. In addition, we will begin to model the transition to openly licensed educational materials at scale in U.S. K-12 schools.  We look forward to engaging with the national and global community to identify opportunities for open licensing to accelerate educational equity for all learners regardless of their financial situations or geographic locations.

Richard Culatta is Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education.

Sunshine Ison is Director of the ECA Collaboratory at the U.S. Department of State.

Nancy Weiss is Senior Advisor to the Chief Technology Officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Cradle to Grave Data System Includes Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on Children and Adults; Data Shared with National Data System

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Cradle to Grave Data System Includes Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on Children and Adults; Data Shared with National Data System

By:  Linda Bell

This is part 4 in our series on data, career pathways and workforce tracking in Minnesota informed by audio testimony given before the Minnesota Data Practices Commission hearing of December 2014.

As cited in the previous article, (https://commoncoremn.com/2015/09/14/minnesotas-data-practices-commission-meets-our-state-dystopian-data-system-novel-in-the-making/) the Hollywood movie, The Giver, foreshadows the current state of career pathways and necessity for data collection.  Art imitates life, as the edict goes, and Hollywood does a good job of that.  Much like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which was about the communist Red Scare of the 1950s, The Giver, Divergent / Insurgent and The Hunger Games are windows into our current trajectory.  Overreaching governments and corporations are attempting, and succeeding, at controlling the lives and destinies of their citizens.

We introduced you last time to the Minnesota SLEDS (State Longitudinal Education Data System).  Here we’ll examine how the data is obtained and populated into the SLEDS as well as important testimony given before the Minnesota Data Practices Commission.

First, how are the data points obtained for the Minnesota SLEDS?

SLEDS student data originates at each public school and is sent to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) traveling on to Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).  All three agencies jointly manage the SLEDS and receive student data from the schools or colleges in compliance with state mandates. http://sleds.mn.gov/  Private Schools may request to have their student data populated into the SLEDS.  Data is entered into the system by teachers and parents.   Parents enter their children’s data through MDE-approved vendors, like Infinite Campus and Skyward.  These vendors send the information to the SLEDS.  This is a list of vendors certified by the Minnesota Department of Education to receive your child’s data in order to configure to a common format before reaching the SLEDS.  http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/SchSup/SchFin/MARSSStuAcc/Vendors/058135

The Minnesota SLEDS Charter, set up on April, 2010 states:

“In the 2008 Minnesota legislative session, lawmakers passed statutory language allowing the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education to share data elements each currently collects for purposes of conducting research to answer questions in the vision for the Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System.” Here our Minnesota legislature compliantly followed federal law allowing state agencies to openly share data.   And to what purpose?

Chapter 298: Sec.2. M.S. 2006, section 13.32 Subd.11. was amended to provide for:

Data Sharing; improving instruction. The following educational data may be shared between the Department of Education and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as authorized by the Code of Federal Regulations, title 34, section 99.31 (a)(6), to analyze instruction in school districts for purposes of improvement: (1)attendance data, including name of school or institution, school district, year or team of attendance, and term type: (2)student demographic and enrollment data; (3) academic performance and testing data; and (4) special academic services received by a student. Any analysis of or report on the data must contain only summary data.”  http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/pdf/MNEdSLEDSCharterApril2010.pdf

Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), aka our Department of Labor, receives student data.   Alessia Leibert, labor market analysist at DEED stated:  Minnesota has two systems. A SLEDS longitudinal system and a Local Database hosted at the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Workforce program participant data are included in both systems, with the exception of Vocational Rehabilitation.  The DEED database is built on SQL Server 2012 and has a staging area and reporting capabilities.”  National Listening Session of the US Dept of Labor, WIOA Initiative. http://www.doleta.gov/performance/pdf/WDQIWIOA_ListeningSession_chatresponses.pdf

Ms. Leibert, in her own words, frames student data as “workforce program participant data”.

What is the process of populating the data points in the SLEDS?

Each student (Early Learning Three and Four Year Olds – 12) in a public school, private school that has signed up to submit student data or homeschooler who is openly enrolled in a public school course or public school online, like K-12 Connections, is issued a State Student Identification (SSID) Number.

The Student ID Validation System was initially created with error-free MARSS enrollment records that had been reported since Fiscal Year 1997The state student identifiers are then sent to the MARSS system.  http://education.state.mn.us/mdeprod/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dDocName=060426&RevisionSelectionMethod=latestReleased&Rendition=primary

All children receiving early learning scholarships must be assigned a statewide student identification number. The statewide student identification number is the mechanism for identifying children participating in Early Childhood Family Education, School Readiness and Early Learning Scholarships and is critical to the discussion around the alignment of preschool programs and funding to K-12 data.” These are three and four year olds.  ELSA SSID User Guide. http://education.state.mn.us/mdeprod/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dDocName=060426&RevisionSelectionMethod=latestReleased&Rendition=primary

 SSID data is sent to the Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System.

“The Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS) collects student data required by more than one area of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) via one system. Minnesota Automated Reporting Student Web Edit System (MWES) is the system used to gather Minnesota districts information.”

This crucial data is the primary data Minnesota Department of Education uses to make payment of funds to local school districts. Data collected by MARSS are used for a variety of purposes, including state aid and levy calculations, federal grant allocations, federal and state civil rights reporting, unduplicated child count, and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).”  Student ID Validation User Guide for Minnesota. http://education.state.mn.us/mdeprod/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dDocName=022337&RevisionSelectionMethod=latestReleased&Rendition=primary

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a federal database, also receives our children’s data.  This now proves that Minnesota children have data collected on them within district, sent to a state data warehouse as well as a federal data warehouse.  Was this information ever disclosed to you?  As a parent, were you ever asked to have your children’s data taken and sent far, far away?  Where else is the data sent?

What is “the vision of the SLEDS” and the very reason for their existence?

According to testimony given by Meredith Fergus, administrative lead for the SLEDS, of the SLEDS/Office of Higher Education, before the Data Practices Commission,

The vision of the SLEDS is to assist in identifying viable pathways for individuals in achieving success for education and work.  Four measurements are used:

  1. Predictors of long term individual success
  2. Designing targeted improvement strategies
  3. Improving data-driving decision making
  4. Meeting our federal funding requirements

When we accepted federal funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus Bill, 2009), we also had federal funding requirements to fulfill.”  Testimony from the Office of Higher Education is linked at the end of the article.

TRANSLATION: The SLEDS exist to ASSIST young people with identifying “viable” career pathways, utilizing targeted improvement strategies (testing and survey credentials) for their “long term individual success”!  This is the meaning of data-driven decision making.  Whether we realize it or not, no longer are 8th graders in consultation with their parents, in the decision making role.  A student’s “data” is informing the decision and there will be plenty of it! And lastly, the SLEDS management must first and foremost meet federal funding requirements (read “policies”).  In other words, compliancy to federal policies is much more important than transparency with the people of Minnesota.

Once a teen/pre-teen’s career pathway is confirmed, will their high school curriculum be amended to a narrow academic path?  Will the student be enrolled on an academic path or a skills-only path?  Middle schoolers and parents know themselves so much better than 3rd party tests and surveys recommended and sometimes mandated by schools and homeschool co-ops with the backing of the state/federal government.

What else is collected for the SLEDS?  Ms. Meredith Fergus, administrative lead for the SLEDS, Office of Higher Education, a cabinet-level state agency, remarks in her testimony before the Minnesota Data Practices Commission on December 2014:

Of course as always with any state agency reports, public information is summary data (only contains summary data).  This is the data that’s currently included in the SLEDS.  So from the Minnesota Department of Education, we do include information that they already have on K-12 enrollment assessments.  We purchase results of the ACT exam, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams.  We do include information for adult basic education students.  We do include information from the Kindergarten readiness sample as well as early childhood education for those programs affiliated with Minnesota Department of Education, Career and Technical Education information and staffing information.”

             “From the Minnesota Office of Higher Education we include post-secondary enrollments and completions from all public and private institutions in the state of Minnesota.  And that is mandated data collection affiliated with state received financial aid.  We also include form the US Department of Education, OHE office, institutional characteristics that is information about colleges in Minnesota.  From the Department of Economic Development, we do include the unemployment insurance detail records, a limited set of employer details and workforce training participant data.  In addition from Pearson we purchase results of those who pass the GED and those who are Minnesota residents as well as Minnesota public high school graduates who enroll out of state.  Their enrollments and completion information is from the National Student Clearinghouse.

Ms. Fergus states that data collected by the SLEDS is collected in the form of summary data.  However, Data Practices Commission chair, Representative Mary Liz Holberg, delves a bit deeper to find the personally identifiable information in the SLEDS.  A link at the conclusion of the article will take you to the hearing itself.

Mary Liz Holberg: Question:  “Are you linking individual unemployment figures with social security numbers with unemployment?  What data are you getting from DEEDS specifically?”

Meredith Fergus, “We get the unemployment insurance detail records which does include the employees’ first name, last name, and social security numbers. ”

Mary Liz Holberg: “And so you hold social security numbers in your SLEDS data as well?”

Meredith Fergus: “Correct!  Social security numbers are also a part of the OHE data collection.”

28:58 – Mary Liz Holberg: “So help me out here! Going back to… You list all these… We’re talking about pre-school programs etc. – Are we moving toward a position where an individual’s entire educational history ends up in some government database? Umm . . . I was a little surprised by the pre-school stuff, so help a non-education person understand why we would want to, in my vernacular, track students?”

29:38 –  Meredith Fergus:  Madam Chair:” We do!  SLEDS data will contain the entire educational history of an individual to the extent that we can link that information across the system.”

30:32 – Mary Liz Holberg: “So, how do you stay out of the system if you are a parent and you don’t want your child’s information?  How would you even know that the state is?  Again using my term, tracking your student for research purposes?”

30:51 – Meredith Fergus:   “Madam Chair, this is probably one of the areas we’ve struggled with the most. Most of the data that’s collected at MDE and OHE is state mandated data collection, so we do not allow the opt-out for students and parents. . . . So, for a student who opts out at even the college level to share their data it is still transmitted to the OHE.”

38:57 –  Mary Liz Holberg: “I’m still struggling with some components of this. If somebody goes in and files for unemployment, do you – how – does DEED push that data to you or do you request it only on a limited set of individuals or how is the?   I mean, education data is one thing. Where you’re working?  How much you’re being paid?  If you’re on unemployment? I mean, that just seems – you know, it’s a big step!!!  So, how does the data subject know? Or even do they?  Do you only collect those that you tag or are you getting all of the unemployment and wage data from DEED and then sorting it?”

39:47  Meredith Fergus: Madam Chair:  “We actually receive the quarterly wage detail records, so we don’t receive information on unemployment insurance benefit recipients. That is the one thing. We do receive the quarterly wage records which is the data on all employees in all companies subject to unemployment insurance. The entire data file is loaded into SLEDS. There’s no filtering done. So it is all workers in Minnesota subject to UI. And that is under the new statutory authority that was granted two years ago.”

40:20 – Mary Liz Holbert: “See, I missed that!  So you’re telling me that every single worker in the state of Minnesota that works for a company that is subject to unemployment insurance, their social security numbers and names are in the SLEDS data?”

40:36 –   Meredith Fergus: “Correct, Madam Chair.”

40:38 – Mary Liz Holberg: “Wow! That doesn’t make me feel very good. I don’t know about you across this table.”

 Thanks to the many researchers who helped with the testimony transcript.  Find the testimony in its entirety here.  http://www.lcc.leg.mn/lcdp/audio/20141217.MP3

In conclusion, it should be noted that NO Minnesotan asked to have their children’s data stolen.  Not one parent!  This has been first and foremost a measure of coercive grants by the federal government in their “well-meaning way” to know what each and every citizen is doing at each and every moment.  This ideology translates into “education” tracking and career steering children, from prenatal to the workforce, and then beyond throughout their entire lives.  Can this really be happening in America, a country based on the principles of freedom?  We see that it is!

If you are concerned about this lack of transparency and failure to properly disclose to parents concerning the removal children’s data, please join us at MACC .  Our school districts and school boards, MDE approved vendors and the MDE itself have failed parents and citizens by not securing parental permissions for these data programs.   MACC works at the grassroot and legislative levels.   We need YOUR help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our friends at MACC!  We thank you for your continued support as we enter this period prior to the legislative session and then the session itself.  If you haven’t received your personal “action letter”, feel free to read the letter below. Please do not forget to update your information where the letter states, “Sign up for important updates”.  Due to the growth of MACC, we are unable to contact you personally via facebook other than this intial communication.Wishing you blessings this Season!!!Linda, Kirsten, Chris, Ron, Lisa, Ellen, Jennifer, Anne, Kerstin, Viktoriya, AJ, Gary, Anne, Patrice, Michael, AmberJoy and all of our MACC County Administrators and Support Volunteers

THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW!

OUR GOAL: INFORM, EQUIP, EMPOWER and REPEAL!!!

Whether you joined yesterday, months ago, or attended one of our presentations, we welcome you to Minnesotans Against Common Core! Please take the time to read this note as there is important information below.

YOU, the members, are the most important part of MACC.

MACC is non-partisan. Our mission is simple, to inform Minnesotans about Common Core State Standards and to work with our legislature to repeal.

We are appreciative of all the moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, parent/teachers, etc. who are joining as each day goes by. In fact, anyone who has a child in their heart whom they want to protect, should be aware of what is happening within our state and nation.

In 2010, Minnesota adopted the ELA Common Core Standard through the Race to the Top competition, even though no federal funds were received. In 2012, Minnesota further adopted College and Career Ready Standards K-12, which are aligned to Common Core Standards in every subject. In 2011, our state received the Prenatal – 5 Year old Common Core Standards from the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant. Through the acceptance of federal funds, the Standards have been tied to restrictive policies regarding:

  1. Standards implementation
  2. High-stakes testing
  3. Data collection and data mining
  4. Teacher and principal evaluations tied to their implementation of Common Core.

The repeal of Common Core can happen in individual school districts and at the state level. We can repeal statutes and laws which tie our children into Common Core as well as repeal the data collection, constant testing and surveys and teacher/principals evaluations meant to lock-down Common Core. The more parents are aware, the better and the more effective our group will become.

Our children are NOT common!

Our CHILDREN are NOT test subjects nor should they be cloaked in dollar signs only to be used as a commodity for profit. If you would really like to get involved, send your name, e-mail, city and county to Minnesota Against Common Core (on facebook), or our website, commoncoremn@gmail.com with a note stating you would like to help.

We have many jobs all over the state… lots of them that need to get done! We will help connect you to someone in your own county or school district. Hopefully, you can go on to make your own team and create your own action team/plan locally. How can you help? You might answer, “I haven’t researched and don’t understand all of the specifics.” That does not matter. The ACTION ITEMS that are detailed below are simple, easy, and effective.

Let’s Stop Common Core in Minnesota!
These are ACTION ITEMS that you can do right now to help Stop Common Core.

**ACTION ITEM #1**

For new members, please take the time to visit:

Bookmark these and pass it on to others. There is a considerable amount of information on the website. Be sure to read the goals and mission of this group; it keeps us in sync, clear and focused. We also have test/survey/lesson opt-out forms and all of the grant information under the Minnesota Specific tab on the MACC website.

**ACTION #2**

One of the MOST important things that you should do first is to WATCH THE FIVE PART VIDEO SERIES BY JANE ROBBINS. You can find it in the “Videos” section on our website www.commoncoremn.com.

Everyone can gain a good overview with this introductory video, if you are going to join in this war to fight CC. The videos take less than thirty minutes to view. “Stop the Common Core” will give you a well-rounded understanding of what transpired under the radar without our knowledge or consent. Please watch them so you can inform yourself and pass the knowledge on to others — THAT is the key to this mission!! AWARENESS turns into EMPOWERMENT which creates
ACTION!

**ACTION ITEM #3**

SIGN UP & Stay Connected!

  1. Sign up for important updates as well as important events – Rally at the Capitol Day, etc. as we move to put either a pause or enact legislation. MACC will not share your information.
  2. Please make sure to sign our petition to support the repeal of Common Core State Standards and the No Child Left Behind reforms. Please remember to record your e-mail, address and phone number for our future reference when people are needed at the Capitol. This information will not be shared and will remain on one computer within our organization.

**ACTION ITEM #4**

If you would like to connect and work with others in your respective county and/or school district, please email us at commoncoremn@gmail.com and we will put you in touch with like-minded individuals.

We will begin a “Files” section for the Closed Group. You will see all county files and see who is part of your county – names only. Emails are NOT distributed to other members without **prior approval via email from you**. The purpose of these county lists is to give you the ability to network with others in your area and create an action plan of your own. The more you know as a parent, the better empowered you will be for yourself and for your child.

We stand with you!!!

Linda, Kirsten and the whole MACC Team