Big Data Money: Digital Classroom Management Raises Concerns In North Carolina, You May Be Next

Three unrelated, concerned Moms in North Carolina alerted me to suspicious resources they found in their child’s online digital classroom portal, where offensive pornography is distributed outside of the scope of approved reading requirements, where data for strange surveys is collected without the consent of parents, and where students are directed to watch CNN News and get other highly political materials.

“I discovered that the name of the company that feeds these materials into my kid’s portal is called Destiny Discover,” Mom #1 told me. This is a screenshot of what she sees on the portal’s dashboard and where she found some books recommended by teachers.

“You can find out a lot about a teacher when you see what is on their recommended reading list. Remember that this is my kid’s portal so they do not go through the parents when suggesting kids get books about sexuality,” Mom #2 told me. “I don’t even know what LGBTQIA means.”

“I looked at the surveys and I want to know where the information from them is going about my kid. He is being asked things that could be embarrassing to him later. The surveys are given with his student number, so someone has to know who took the survey,” Mom #3 told me. “The teachers I asked don’t even know when the surveys are put into the portals, or what questions are asked.”

DIGITAL CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT TOOL- WHAT HAPPENED TO TEACHERS?

According to the website for Destiny Discovery at Hollygrove Middle School, data from the student’s portals is maintained on a company website for Follett Software.

According to BusinessWire, Follett software was purchased by an “equity investment group” called Francisco Partners on Sept 1, 2021.

Francisco Partners  describes itself as “a leading global investment firm that specializes in partnering with technology and technology-enabled businesses.” But there is no listing of who they are partnered with in public schools.

It is also has a name very similar to a marketer of data, called First San Franciso Partners. Is that one of their technology partners?

“First San Francisco Partners (FSFP) is a data consulting firm. All we do is data — all data, all the time.

Our senior consultants have an average of 20 years experience to guide you along the data journey as your organization builds, strengthens and operationalizes key capabilities to leverage data as a competitive advantage.”

WHAT IS FOLLETT SERVICES (FSS) DOING WITH FRANCISCO PARTNERS? ARE THEY COLLECTING DATA FOR FIRST SAN FRANCISO PARTNERS (FSFP) FROM CHILDREN?

Let’s investigate what Destiny Discover does. Thes following information comes from those three different parents from the same school, Hollygrove Middle School in Wake Co. North Carolina.

According to Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) Destiny Discover is described as:

Destiny is the leading school library management system for K-12 schools worldwide. This resource allows students to search for books available in the library.

Students will not need to log in at school.

BUT IT IS NOT JUST A LIBRARY

Yet, according to concerned parents, “destiny” is far more than that. And what they may have discovered is that the digital classroom management software, according to the Businesswire article, Follett and Francisco Partners consider themselves an “Education eco-system.”

THEY CALL THEMSELVES AN EDUCATION ECO-SYSTEM- WHAT IS THAT?

As seen in the following set of photos, the Destiny platform connects to Webcams, a voters guide, and links to con and links to other questionable online resources.

These are the recommended books and resources for her student:

The above screenshot is Tech tools for all learners, Copyright Digital Citizenship, and Creative Fun.

Seen below are links to collections of books in Wake Co. recommended for her child by teachers, on  LGBTQIA Fiction, And Still, I Rise Stories of Resilience, Classic Top Picks, Printz Winners in the MPMS Collection.

More LGBTQIA links:

Students are asked numerous questions about matters of sexuality, and parents are told that teachers are not teaching about sexuality. This screenshot shows differently.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and/or Questioning, and Asexual and/or Ally. Queer – Queer is often used as an umbrella term referring to anyone who is not straight and not cisgender.”

Mom is concerned about the narratives that the suggested reads are forcing kids and that children are being compelled to choose a sexuality label, one that they may or may not understand that may stick with them.

Also, Mom has a question about where does the data go when children open up links and answer questions.

A sticking point for numerous parents is that students must use the school-supplied laptops, which they were issued after COVID.  Students are not allowed to use their own computers or devices.

And students must be digital.

According to Wake Co Schools: 

“Students are expected to use technology and digital resources under their teacher’s direction for educational purposes only in accordance with Board Policy 3225 and 3225 R&P.

  • You may grant permission for your student to access technology and digital resources. You should select this option if you want your student to use computers, tablets, etc. and be allowed to access web-based curriculum tools. Your permission grants WCPSS the right to create a WakeID necessary to access web-based instructional tools. The WakeID is visible in various applications to teachers and students across the school system.
  • Parents may deny permission for their student to access technology and digital resources. You should select this option if you do not want your student to use a computer or other physical device or to access web-based curriculum tools.
  • Several mandatory state and federal student assessments are solely available over the Internet. These tests and assessments will be administered to ALL students. Temporary technology access for these tests will be granted for students who do not have a signed opt-in on file.”

From Mom #3, in the tweet below is the story of unwanted surveys, given to her student on a classroom portal of Destiny Discover.

Mom says that it is required for students to supply inappropriate and private information about themselves and their families.

This survey was done on Monkey Survey, another private company; this was part one of my series on Surveys.

IT’S JUST BUSINESS- PARENTS NOT WELCOME TO JOIN THEIR DISCUSSIONS

Concerned parents are growing in at least one school district, Hollygrove Middle, where there is a growing sense of alarm and betryal at the lack of transparency from school officials.

Discovering an opt-out process has been long, confusing, and frustrating.

Stories are coming in that students feel bullied to take the surveys because they will be separated and mocked by their peers if their parents do opt them out.

Numerous- are the stories of parents, who feel paralyzed to advocate for their children, and have their children isolated in front of their peers, so people anonymously drop me pleas for help.

But who can I ask to help them? No one in Wake country Schools will answer even the most politely framed question, with an honest answer. Not even in the interest of serving the public good.

WHAT IS EVERYONE SO AFRAID OF?

Businesswire reported on the partnership of the digital school library system with the Investment firm:

“FSS has played a pivotal leadership role in the development of content and technology solutions for schools everywhere, and as a result of this transition to Francisco Partners, we expect the business to significantly expand its reach across education,” said Todd Litzsinger, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Follett Corporation. “On behalf of the Follett family and shareholders, I would like to thank the FSS employees, publishing partners, librarians, teachers, schools and school districts for the long and rich partnership we have enjoyed. Our family-owned company has long and deep ties to this business and a strong interest in its ongoing success, which is why we are pleased Francisco Partners will be leading and growing FSS in the years to come.”

“FSS has amassed an impressive customer base over its long and accomplished history,” said Jason Brein, Partner at Francisco Partners. “We thank the Follett family for their trust in us, and we look forward to working with Britten Follett and her team to accelerate this investment in FSS’ market leading software and content solutions.”

CAN YOU SEE WHERE PARENTS WOULD DEVELOP LOGICAL QUESTIONS?

So- is First SanFranciso Partners, the data sellers, affiliated with Fransisco Partners, the Data influencers, and resource suppliers? That is unknown, however First SanFranciso Partners is but one firm that sells data.

We can not find a direct link between the two with a simple Google search, as of yet, but it seems worthy of a question.

CEO of FFSP Kelle O’Neal, attended Duke University in NC. Here she is with a partner of hers called Alation. It is not a stretch to believe she may have some contacts in North Carolina schools.

According to the Alation, website, the prepared ‘data catalogs’, and they are:

“The partnership between Alation and First San Francisco Partners represents a commitment to providing data and analytics leaders, including CDOs, with field-tested best practices that incorporate data cataloging into holistic data governance practices. The first generally available methodology from the two companies will focus on building governed practices for agile data acquisition in the enterprise, followed by a second offering focusing on data stewardship for the optimized use of data.”

GOING DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

This data mining, collection, and selling- to influence politics and medicine and education- a multi-Billion dollar business backed by such megastars as Goldman Sacs.  Who is comfortable going up against them and asking questions no one seems to want to answer?

THE QUESTION IS: WHERE DOES THE DATA FROM THE SCHOOL SURVEYS GO?

There are numerous places that might be interested in your child’s data. One of the many places is a group that supplies data to the media, called Challenge Sucess. Are they in partnership? We don’t know.

All of this information, from very simple Google searches, is enough to for parents to be concerned and ask questions, but when the schools do not trust the parents to raise their own children, and school employees are trained to be defensive and hide transparency- where do parents go?

Who do they ask?

ARE THE PRINCIPALS IN CHARGE? HAVE THEY BEEN PROPERLY PREPARED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS FROM CONCERNED PARENTS?

My investigation shows the answer is no. No. Principals in North Carolina have not been prepared to adequately support Parents or educate them about the mysterious surveys.

Soon I will uncover my discussions with anonymous concerned parents, and their attempts to get answers from principals from around North Carolina, about surveys and portals.

The purpose of this investigation is to simply show lawmakers and anyone concerned for the authentic education of North Carolina’s children an opportunity to see the process.

If my investigation doesn’t disturb you a little bit- about how American parents in North Carolina are being treated, and about the potentially unfair position school staff are being placed to cover up for these major companies- then I would guess you never understood what it meant to be an America.

Perhaps teachers and principals have been given an unfair burden of being on the frontline, facing angry and frustrated parents and media.

Perhaps they choose to be there, and do not care about the disrespect toward parents.

That is not for me to decide; either way, parents must protect their, and Wake Co North Carolina is not assisting parents.

This is Part 2 of a 3 Part series on surveys.

For more reading:

Here is Wake County school officials, including the director of the Equity department talk about how to go around the parents, to the children and get materials out of the school libraries to get resources for children to choose their gender:

Undercover Video Shows School Officials In Wake Co. North Carolina Say ‘Go Around’ Parents, To Affirm Even Elementary Kid’s Gender Choice

Here is a discussion by a parent about pornography that was found in a graphic textbook, found in the school library:

When a lot of changes happened in Wake Co. and when many of the technology management tools were introduced: