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.
I wish this was a joke.
This is one of the greatest threats to your kids that has ever arisen, and I'm willing to bet that not one parent in a thousand even knows it exists, say much less has a clue as to the damage it can (and will) cause their children.
This is nothing less than formal abuse and ought to be felonious. Concentrating this data on a national basis without the parents having control over its dissemination and use is an outrage and the utter lack of accountability when (not if) it is stolen or misused makes this something that is worthy of life prison and death penalty sentences.
You have no idea how valuable data like this is to people who would abuse it, from scammers to employers to medical providers to insurance companies to the government itself.
Worse, there is no guarantee the information in your kid's school file is accurate -- or reflects reality.
Witness the kid who was just suspended for disarming another kid who was about to SHOOT a third student in the head. That suspension is in his permanent school record and may be used against him in the future irrespective of the fact that he stopped a forcible felony and is a hero, not a bad guy.
Years ago I did my part in putting a stop to a tiny little piece of this proliferation when I thwarted an attempt to collect and link shopping behavior to people and then sell it to anyone who wanted it without disclosure and the ability to opt out by the shopper in question. The people who intended to do it at the time were well-aware that health insurers, for example, would find the number of cigarette packages -- or beer six packs -- that you purchased would be quite-valuable to those companies.
I won that battle but all it did was slow down things a little bit. Today, of course, the "affinity cards" are linked to you and that great gasoline discount from your grocer isn't "free" -- it's given in exchange to data that is almost-certainly going to be used to screw you out of far more than the gas discount you allegedly receive.
We all have the right to consent to our data being used and even sold in exchange for something. Today you consent to a lot of that, even though you may not be paying attention to your granting of that consent.
But children are not of age. They thus cannot consent. And it is a long-standing principle that a bargain must include something of at least putative value to both parties as consideration, or it's no contract at all.
There is no benefit to the kids in this paradigm -- only costs that are intentionally hidden from them but which, mark my words, will screw them in the future.
Mark this post and wait 10 years.
Those kids who are being "tracked" now will find that they've been violated repeatedly by this data collection and sharing.
If your state is involved in this, and there are a lot that are, you need to get every last one of your state legislators out of office and all of the local school board members must be instantly ejected and shunned to the point of literal starvation.
If you're in a state that is not participating, make damn sure they don't now or in the future.
If you're a parent and don't do those two things then prepare for your kids to throw you into the wood chipper feet-first when they figure out how badly you allowed them to be screwed.
I utterly guarantee that you will deserve it.
Disclosure: Long boiled rope futures.
This is utter and complete crap. There is utterly no reason for these damned things to be part of the official curriculum -- period. It is utterly stupid to have these things issued to school kids.
Now I think I've seen it all.
Let's cut the crap -- colleges market themselves to young men and women on the premise that their educational services will provide you a means to get a better job than you would otherwise obtain. That's the entire purpose of a career-focused education and the only justification for the outrageous tuition charges they assess.
Well, as it turns out if you fail to benefit from the alleged "education" that these people sold you, and in the process you borrowed money using Perkins loans, the college is very likely to come after you, including in court!
Oh, and lest you think they'll just sue to the principal and accrued interest, nope.
As I've pointed out to a number of High Schoolers contemplating going to college and taking out loans, there are statutory penalties that apply if you default. In the case of Perkins loans these amount to an additional 30% of the principal, increasing to 40% on a second collection attempt and another 40% on top of that if they sue.
That basically doubles the amount you owe.
Of course colleges don't talk about this before you matriculate. After all, "education" as offered in these edifices is only partial, and the representations, both expressed and implied are many -- but the warranties few.
My advice to young adults stands: DO NOT BORROW MONEY TO GO TO COLLEGE.
My advice to parents stands: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR NOW-ADULT KIDS BEING BAMBOOZLED BY THESE FINANCIAL TRAINWRECKS KNOWN AS "UNIVERSITIES" AND "COLLEGES."
Delinquency rates on student loans made in the past two years stand at 15 percent in the U.S. as recent graduates struggle to find jobs, Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO) said.
“This situation is simply unsustainable and we’re already suffering the consequences,” Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer of Fair Issac, said in the statement. “When wage growth is slow and jobs are not as plentiful as they once were, it is impossible for individuals to continue taking out ever-larger student loans without greatly increasing the risk of default.”
WE are suffering the consequences? How about all the young adults who have gotten screwed?
Look, there's no argument that education is good in the general sense. But all good things can become priced at a level that makes no economic sense, irrespective of how good they are.
That's the case for most college educations today.
Sure, there are exceptions left, particularly in certain STEM areas of study. But for many areas of study there is no cost:benefit ratio that works.
That is the problem, in short. You have to look at the total cost including the foregone income and advancement during the time you were in college, along with the cost of repayment if you take on debt. And once you do there is little if any argument for college education outside of certain STEM fields -- and those areas of benefit are narrowing rapidly.
There's only one way to stop this, and that's to shut off the "free money" machine. That will in turn force colleges to lower prices or go out of business -- and many of them will in fact go under, as they have spent ridiculous amounts of money on things that have little relevance to actual education.
Young adults are, in fact adults. If they choose to do foolish things they have the right to do so. But if you're the parent of one of these young adults you have an obligation not to aid an abet these institutions in their financial abuse of your offspring.
I don't know whether the laugh, cry, or wish for (another) hurricane or other natural disaster to destroy the clown-car brigade involved in this intentional, rabid and outrageous assault on our young people.
Payments on 11% of student-loan balances were 90 or more days behind at the end of September, up from 8.9% at the end of June, a rate that now exceeds that for credit cards. Delinquency rates for all other consumer-debt categories fell or were flat.
Nearly all student loans—93% of them last year—are made directly by the government, which asks little or nothing about borrowers’ ability to repay, or about what sort of education they intend to pursue.
The government doesn't care if you can pay. All they care about is making sure that the banks and colleges get to screw you, and if they can manage to get you to "volunteer" for that screwing, so much the better.
I've been writing about this for several years; you can find examples all through the Ticker, and have been breaking out student loans from the consumer credit report since the federal government shifted nearly all student lending to themselves a couple of years ago.
This is the next bubble to pop and the worst part of it is that it was targeted directly and intentionally at inexperienced people barely of legal age and has intentionally screwed our young adult population both through exploitive terms (e.g. no ability to discharge said debt in bankruptcy) and the intentional feedback mechanism into college pricing.
Were the federal government not directly involved in this and in fact the designer of this scheme someone would probably craft a racketeering complaint and go after the colleges and lenders involved.
When the federal government does it, however, we call it "public policy."
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
The content on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied. All opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and may contain errors or omissions.
NO MATERIAL HERE CONSTITUTES "INVESTMENT ADVICE" NOR IS IT A RECOMMENDATION TO BUY OR SELL ANY FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO STOCKS, OPTIONS, BONDS OR FUTURES.
The author may have a position in any company or security mentioned herein. Actions you undertake as a consequence of any analysis, opinion or advertisement on this site are your sole responsibility.
Looking for "The Best of Market Ticker"? Check out Ticker Classics.
Market charts, when present, used with permission of TD Ameritrade/ThinkOrSwim Inc. Neither TD Ameritrade or ThinkOrSwim have reviewed, approved or disapproved any content herein.
Market Ticker content may be reproduced or excerpted online provided full attribution is given and the original article source is linked to. Please contact Karl Denninger for reprint permission in other media.
Submissions may be sent "over the transom" to The Editor at any time. To be considered for publication your submission must include full and correct contact information and be related to an economic or political matter of the day. All submissions become the property of The Market Ticker.
Leads on stories of current economic and political interest are always welcome. Our fax tip line is 850-897-9364; please include contact information with your transmission.