The 74

🤖 Did embattled L.A. school chatbot endanger kids' data?

The 74 sent this email to their subscribers on July 10, 2024.

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Good morning!


Did Ed put L.A. students' personal data at risk?

That's the latest question surrounding the $6 million AI chatbot that the district unveiled with great fanfare several months ago — before its parent company imploded, its staffers furloughed and its CEO gone. Now, in an exclusive, Mark Keierleber reports that the day after a top official told The 74 the company's security practices violated both industry standards and the district’s own policies, the district opened an investigation into whether student security had been compromised.

Chris Whiteley, former senior director of software engineering at AllHere, told The 74 that the chatbot put students’ personally identifiable information at risk of getting hacked by including it in all chatbot prompts, whether relevant or not; unnecessarily sharing it with other third-party companies; and using offshore servers in violation of district student privacy rules. Whiteley said he had previously alerted the district, the inspector general’s office and state education officials to the data privacy problems with Ed — but got no response.

School (in)Security

L.A. Schools Probe Charges Hyped, Now-Defunct AI Chatbot Misused Student Data


Independent Los Angeles school district investigators have opened an inquiry into claims that its $6 million AI chatbot — an animated sun celebrated as an unprecedented learning acceleration tool until the company that built it collapsed — put students’ personal information in peril. Investigators with the district’s inspector general’s office conducted a video interview with Chris Whiteley, former senior director of software engineering at AllHere, after he told The 74 the company’s student data security practices violated industry standards and district policies. Read more by The 74’s Mark Keierleber.

 

Go Deeper:

 

Testing


Schools have been testing subjects like math and English for years. But how can they measure life and work skills? A movement to throw out traditional A-F report cards and gauge student progress on skills like teamwork, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and persistence is gaining backers, with five states and creators of a mastery transcript joining the Educational Testing Service and Carnegie Foundation to build and test new measures as early as next year. Patrick O’Donnell has the story.

 

Read More:

 
  • Measuring Skills Differently: Carnegie, ETS Team Up to Develop Competency-Based Assessments
     
  • 'Playful Assessment': Drawing on Video Games, Educators Land on Unlikely Idea
     
  • Future of High School: As Schools Embrace Mastery Learning, and Confront Challenges of GPAs and College Admissions, Consortium Creates New ‘Bridge’ Transcript
     
  • 74 Interview: Time ≠ Learning — Tim Knowles on Scrapping the Carnegie Unit

Commentary

'Brown' Devastated the Black Teaching Force. It's Long Past Time to Fix That

 

Before Brown vs. Board, in the 17 states with segregated schools, up to half the teaching force was Black. But afterward, tens of thousands of Black educators lost their jobs or were forced out of the field. Today, while 55% of students are people of color, just 22% of educators are. Contributors Tequilla Brownie of TNTP and Marc Morial of the National Urban League say it's long past time that all children had the chance to learn from diverse, effective educators — a lesson based in their own life experiences. 

 

Related:

 

  • Fallout from 1954: Commentary — How Black Teachers Lost When Civil Rights Won in Brown v. Board
     
  • Photo History: The Incredible True Story of How Booker T. Washington & the President of Sears Built 5,000 Schools for Generations of Southern Black Students
     
  • Want to Close the Opportunity Gap?: Commentary — Start by Fixing the Diversity Gap Between Students of Color and Their Majority-White Teachers

Literacy

Maryland Could Join Other States Holding Back Third Graders with Low Reading Scores


A new proposal in Maryland could see third graders held back for a year if they don’t reach benchmarks on annual reading tests. If adopted, the state would join more than two dozen that require retention, or allow those decisions at the local level. In our latest partnership with Maryland Matters, William J. Ford reports that the move comes as the state’s board of education is moving forward with aggressive goals to boost student achievement, with the state ranking 40th in recent NAEP scores. 

 

Read More:

 

ICYMI

Is Public Education Really Public? And How Important Is It for Democracy?


Is public education really the foundation of American democracy, asks contributor Chad Aldeman? Not literally. The American experiment long predated any sort of public education. Nor is education "public" in the same way a public park or an FM radio station is free and open to all. And the link between public education and democracy — in terms of voter engagement, civic knowledge or even tolerance — is tenuous at best. Evidence suggests the best path forward is to simply support good schools, regardless of sector.
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Text-only version of this email

. GOOD MORNING! Did Ed put L.A. students' personal data at risk? That's the latest question surrounding the $6 million AI chatbot that the district unveiled with great fanfare several months ago — before its parent company imploded, its staffers furloughed and its CEO gone. Now, in an exclusive, Mark Keierleber reports that the day after a top official told The 74 the company's security practices violated both industry standards and the district’s own policies, the district opened an investigation into whether student security had been compromised. Chris Whiteley, former senior director of software engineering at AllHere, told The 74 that the chatbot put students’ personally identifiable information at risk of getting hacked by including it in all chatbot prompts, whether relevant or not; unnecessarily sharing it with other third-party companies; and using offshore servers in violation of district student privacy rules. Whiteley said he had previously alerted the district, the inspector general’s office and state education officials to the data privacy problems with Ed — but got no response. SCHOOL (IN)SECURITY L.A. SCHOOLS PROBE CHARGES HYPED, NOW-DEFUNCT AI CHATBOT MISUSED STUDENT DATA Independent Los Angeles school district investigators have opened an inquiry into claims that its $6 million AI chatbot — an animated sun celebrated as an unprecedented learning acceleration tool until the company that built it collapsed — put students’ personal information in peril. Investigators with the district’s inspector general’s office conducted a video interview with Chris Whiteley, former senior director of software engineering at AllHere, after he told The 74 the company’s student data security practices violated industry standards and district policies. Read more by The 74’s Mark Keierleber. GO DEEPER: * Whistleblower: L.A. Schools’ Chatbot Misused Student Data as Tech Co. Crumbled * 'Really Not Possible': Was Los Angeles Schools’ $6 Million AI Venture a Disaster Waiting to Happen? * Turmoil Surrounds L.A.’s New AI Student Chatbot: Tech Firm Furloughs Staff Just 3 Months After Launch TESTING REINVENTING REPORT CARDS: PARTNERSHIP LOOKS TO ADD WORK SKILLS Schools have been testing subjects like math and English for years. But how can they measure life and work skills? A movement to throw out traditional A-F report cards and gauge student progress on skills like teamwork, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and persistence is gaining backers, with five states and creators of a mastery transcript joining the Educational Testing Service and Carnegie Foundation to build and test new measures as early as next year. Patrick O’Donnell has the story. READ MORE: * Measuring Skills Differently: Carnegie, ETS Team Up to Develop Competency-Based Assessments * 'Playful Assessment': Drawing on Video Games, Educators Land on Unlikely Idea * Future of High School: As Schools Embrace Mastery Learning, and Confront Challenges of GPAs and College Admissions, Consortium Creates New ‘Bridge’ Transcript * 74 Interview: Time ≠ Learning — Tim Knowles on Scrapping the Carnegie Unit COMMENTARY 'BROWN' DEVASTATED THE BLACK TEACHING FORCE. IT'S LONG PAST TIME TO FIX THAT Before Brown vs. Board, in the 17 states with segregated schools, up to half the teaching force was Black. But afterward, tens of thousands of Black educators lost their jobs or were forced out of the field. Today, while 55% of students are people of color, just 22% of educators are. Contributors Tequilla Brownie of TNTP and Marc Morial of the National Urban League say it's long past time that all children had the chance to learn from diverse, effective educators — a lesson based in their own life experiences.  RELATED: * Fallout from 1954: Commentary — How Black Teachers Lost When Civil Rights Won in Brown v. Board * Photo History: The Incredible True Story of How Booker T. Washington & the President of Sears Built 5,000 Schools for Generations of Southern Black Students * Want to Close the Opportunity Gap?: Commentary — Start by Fixing the Diversity Gap Between Students of Color and Their Majority-White Teachers LITERACY MARYLAND COULD JOIN OTHER STATES HOLDING BACK THIRD GRADERS WITH LOW READING SCORES A new proposal in Maryland could see third graders held back for a year if they don’t reach benchmarks on annual reading tests. If adopted, the state would join more than two dozen that require retention, or allow those decisions at the local level. In our latest partnership with Maryland Matters, William J. Ford reports that the move comes as the state’s board of education is moving forward with aggressive goals to boost student achievement, with the state ranking 40th in recent NAEP scores.  READ MORE: * Former Mississippi Schools Chief: Aims to Repeat Learning ‘Miracle’ in Maryland * Maryland Superintendent: Announces Task Force to Assess Academic Achievement ICYMI IS PUBLIC EDUCATION REALLY PUBLIC? AND HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR DEMOCRACY? Is public education really the foundation of American democracy, asks contributor Chad Aldeman? Not literally. The American experiment long predated any sort of public education. Nor is education "public" in the same way a public park or an FM radio station is free and open to all. And the link between public education and democracy — in terms of voter engagement, civic knowledge or even tolerance — is tenuous at best. Evidence suggests the best path forward is to simply support good schools, regardless of sector. Website Twitter Facebook Instagram Copyright © 2024 The Seventy Four, All rights reserved. You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website www.the74million.org Our mailing address is: The Seventy Four 222 Broadway 19th Floor New York, Ny 10038 Add us to your address book Were you forwarded this email? Sign up here to get it daily. Want to advertise in The 74's newsletter? Email [email protected] Want to change how you receive these emails? You can or . Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp S mailchimp
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