Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Creepy and intrusive

For the last couple of years National has been muttering about dumping the decile-based school funding system. And now we know what for: spying on everyone:

The Ministry of Education has proposed using Government-wide data on every preschooler and school student, including their mother's qualifications, to give extra funding to those at risk of failing.

​Education Minister Hekia Parata has been on the record for years saying the decile system is too "blunt", and wants a model that targets resources to where they're needed the most.

A preliminary proposal floated the concept of paying schools more for students that met one of four risk factors: a parent who had been to prison; if they or a sibling had suffered child abuse; if their family had relied on a benefit for a prolonged period; or if the child's mother had no formal qualifications.

The obvious question is "how will that data be gathered". And the answer is that it will be pillaged from currently separate databases, to give every child a dossier from birth which labels them as a failure or a success. Which is more than a little creepy and intrusive. The concentration of such data also raises huge privacy problems, while labelling people based not on their own abilities, but on their parents, smacks of the hereditary aristocracy National imagines themselves to be. We should reject this proposal, and we should reject this sort of use of "Big Data". It may be more efficient for the government to label kids from birth, but its simply not the sort of society I want to live in.