Tag Archives: Delaware

Jeffco Schools: Unanimous vote uproots inBloom

Source: Vic Vela, Our Colorado News, November 8, 2013

For months, the Jeffco school board has heard concerns from parents regarding the plans to partner with an out-of-state entity for the purposes of storing student data. Now, after receiving an enormous amount of negative feedback from Jeffco parents, the board on Nov. 7 voted to pull the plug on inBloom, a company that has received resistance from other school districts nationwide. … The board voted unanimously to sever ties with inBloom, a $100 million company, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that provides data gathering technology to classroom dashboards. The district still hopes to create a “virtual classroom dashboard” — a system that would hold students’ academic records in a singular database, something that supporters say would better personalize instruction. But those plans no longer include inBloom. …

…The company’s data gathering capabilities has generated controversy nationwide, primarily having to do with privacy and security concerns on the part of critics. inBloom’s technology is capable of storing thousands of data points on students, including academic information like reading and math scores. But it can also hold personal data, such as a student’s health information or disciplinary records. Jeffco officials have long-said that the district would decide what information is provided to inBloom, and not the other way around. And the district has insisted that the dashboard — which will be provided by a separate software company called LoudCloud — will only collect pertinent academic information that is already being gathered through existing databases, such as grades, enrollment information and student demographics. With Jeffco serving ties with inBloom, it leaves only two states that are currently partnering with the company or that will be doing so in the near future — New York and Illinois. Prior to the school board’s decision, inBloom has seen other school districts in other states back away from their partnership plans….
Parents sue NY over student data-sharing system
Source: Associated Press, November 13, 2013

A group of New York City public school parents filed a lawsuit Wednesday to block state education officials from sharing student information with the data-storage firm inBloom. The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Albany, is based on the claim that disclosing identifiable student data without parental consent violates state privacy laws. … New York has signed up with Atlanta-based inBloom, which has received $100 million in grant money to create a system to store student data on servers accessed through the Internet. Parents in New York and elsewhere have raised privacy concerns about the company. …

Student education data collecting initiative inBloom puts sensitive information at risk
Source: Leonie Haimson, New York Daily News, March 14, 2013

The proposal to store complete sensitive personal information along with grades, test scores, health records and disciplinary records on a cloud comes from the officials who dreamt up ARIS supercomputer boondoggle….The most sensitive confidential data is being shared, including children’s names, emails, phone numbers, photos, which will be stored along with grades, test scores, health conditions, disabilities and detailed disciplinary records….
Gathering Student Information at Grade Schools Across America
Source: Occupy.com, April 24, 2013

…InBloom, a three-month-old database, is funded primarily by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. built the infrastructure for the new electronic portal. The state spent $50 million in federal grants to partner with inBloom and finalized its agreement in October to share data with the fledgling company. … Other states that have already signed on to release student data to inBloom are Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Louisiana….

K-12 student database jazzes tech startups, spooks parents
Source: Stephanie Simon, Reuters, March 3, 2013

An education technology conference this week in Austin, Texas, will clang with bells and whistles as startups eagerly show off their latest wares.

But the most influential new product may be the least flashy: a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.

In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.

Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services.

State monitors flunk Pencader, revoke school’s charter / Loss of charter will force troubled school to close

Source: Nichole Dobo, Delawareonline.com, February 22, 2013

Although parents and students had urged state officials to give them one more chance, the state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to close Pencader Business and Finance Charter School…. Murphy said Pencader’s team did not submit a plan that addressed concerns communicated to them by the state, including improving student performance, strong governance of the school, and a plan for recruitment of more students and a new school leader….

…Problems have dogged Pencader for years. The school was most recently placed on probation in 2011 after state officials flagged governance and financial issues. The school remained on probation for those issues when the state board voted to revoke its charter Thursday.

When the school was on probation, the school faced continued hardships, including:
• The Pension Board ruled that three teachers had illegally double dipped despite a warning to the school leader.
• A student captured the school leader’s husband on tape using the word “bitch” while admonishing a female student.
• The school leader’s doctoral degree was questioned and at one point the school board dropped to just two members…

…For instance, Pencader’s leaders reported that the school outperformed the state average on student achievement tests, Carwell said. In reality, the school was below the state average on math and reading assessments, he said….

New York announces $2.4 million settlement in overcharging scheme / Company will reimburse hundreds of state and local government entities

Source: Larry Conley, American City and County, January 18, 2013

Nearly 1,000 New York government entities will receive a check for overcharges as part of a $2.4 million settlement with one of the nation’s largest medical waste disposal companies. Under the agreement, Stericycle, Inc., will fully reimburse New York police and fire departments, schools, hospitals, prisons and other entities for a scheme to charge automated price increases without notice and in violation of contract terms. … Government entities affected by the overcharges are located throughout New York. Some entities receiving the largest compensation include the WF Bruen Rescue Squad, Rensselaer, $26, 671.16; Albany Sheriff’s Correctional, $22,160.28; Broome Community College, Binghamton, $13,966.86; Clinton Correctional Facility, Dannemora, $21,094.35; and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, $9,409.46. …
Lawsuit: Stericycle systematically overcharged governmental agencies
Source: Jeremy Carroll, Waste & Recycling News, January 8, 2013

Stericycle Inc. systematically overcharged governmental agencies throughout the country, including the federal government, a whistleblower lawsuit alleges. The suit, first filed in 2008 in Illinois, was unsealed Jan. 8. Former employee Jennifer Perez is named as a plaintiff, along with 14 states, the federal government and the District of Columbia. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alluded to the lawsuit after he announced a $2.4 million settlement against the Lake Forest, Ill.-based medical waste giant Jan. 8. …

From the lawsuit:
Stericycle is a company that collects and disposes of medical waste throughout the United States. Stericycle has defrauded federal, state and local governments by knowingly or recklessly overcharging its governmental customers and by withholding accurate pricing data from its customers when it agrees to pick up medical waste. Stericycle tails to inform its customers that despite the contract price it has agreed to, Stericycle intends to and adds unallowable surcharges to each bill, in addition to an undisclosed 18% across the board increase every 9 months. Stericycle conceals its intent to add these increases to each bill because it knows governmental customers would never agree to them if disclosed in advance.

Discussion of port deal resurfacing / Update expected soon on potential privatization

Source: Jeff Montgomery, News Journal, November 23, 2012

After months with little public movement, talks on privatizing part or all of the state-owned Port of Wilmington are moving back toward the surface, with stakes running into the hundreds of millions. Officials closest to the issue are expected to update the Diamond State Port Corporation, the port’s governing body, on the issue Dec. 7…Two potential investors made the reported short list, following a solicitation that pegged Wilmington’s future cargo potential as high as 1.7 million containers annually by the year 2040….The port directly accounts for about 2,200 jobs, including about 250 employees of the corporation itself and hundreds more in transportation, port operations, cargo handling and other activities….At last report, two prospects are under review: one advanced by Kinder/Morgan, north America’s largest independent cargo terminal operator, and another from Delaware Terminal Operating Co., a venture formed last year by the owners of Penn Warehousing & Distribution, Murphy Marine Services and Port Contractors Inc…..

Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead

Source: Travis Madsen, Phineas Baxandall, Maryland PIRG Foundation, October 2011

From the press release:
A new research report released today outlines problems with the growing trend among cities to outsource traffic enforcement to red-light and speed camera vendors….The report, titled “Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead; The Risks of Privatizing Traffic Law Enforcement and How to Protect the Public” finds that approximately half of states have enabled the use of automated traffic law enforcement. Municipalities in these states contract with private companies to provide cameras and issue citations to traffic violators. Citizens have often objected to privatized forms of traffic enforcement and many municipalities have found themselves in legal trouble when they attempt to change or update these contracts. Traffic engineering alternatives, such as lengthening yellow lights, are often the best way to reduce injuries from red-light running. However, those solutions too often get ignored because contractors and sometimes municipalities are more focused on increasing revenue from tickets….
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Report: Prison health care still lags / Monitor says unstable medical vendor harming DOC efforts

Source: By LEE WILLIAMS and ESTEBAN PARRA, The News Journal (DE) July 30, 2008

Continued poor performance by the Department of Correction’s medical vendor is harming the department’s efforts to get out from under supervision by the U.S. Justice Department, according to the third report by the independent monitor overseeing the state prison system.

Correctional Medical Services, a private company Delaware is paying $39 million this year to provide medical care to inmates, suffers from a “lack of stable and effective leadership,” independent monitor Joshua W. Martin III wrote in a 221-page report released Tuesday.

Prison health care lagging / Monitor's report cites continuing problems

Source: By LEE WILLIAMS and ESTEBAN PARRA, The News Journal (DE), Friday, February 1, 2008

Continued poor performance by the Department of Correction’s medical vendor could hamper the department’s efforts to get out from under supervision by the U.S. Justice Department, according to a new report by an independent monitor overseeing the state prison system.

Correctional Medical Services, a private company Delaware pays millions of dollars a year to provide medical care to inmates, suffers from a “lack of stable and effective leadership,” independent monitor Joshua W. Martin III wrote in a 229-page report released Thursday.