Chancellor Banks blames software company in hack of about 820,000 students’ data


Chancellor David Banks blamed software company Illuminate Education for the hack in a statement Friday, urging the state education department to conduct a probe.

“We are outraged that Illuminate represented to us and schools that legally required, industry standard critical safeguards were in place when they were not,” Banks said in a statement Friday.

“We understand how important it is that families can trust that their child’s data is protected, and we are exploring options to hold Illuminate accountable for violating that trust.”

The city Department of Education was not informed students’ data was subject to the hack until Friday, sources said.

Demographic data, academic information and economic profiles were among the data accessed by the hackers, though Illuminate Education had yet to share enough details for the department to determine the breadth of the breach, sources said.

Representatives of the company did not return a request for comment.

Social security numbers, family financial account information and individual education plans were not accessed, sources said.

The city school system plans to send letters to families of current and former students with explanations of what identifiable information was included in the hack, sources said.

The department will review the use of Illuminate Education products following this year, according to sources.

Banks also said Mayor Eric Adams instructed him to contact the NYPD, the FBI and the New York Attorney General’s Office to investigate the hackers.

“The formal notification of a breach of students’ data by Illuminate after two months shows the company has been more concerned with protecting itself than protecting our students. This is completely unacceptable,” Adams said in a statement Friday.

“We will not tolerate bad actors in this city and plan to hold Illuminate fully accountable for not providing our students with the security and the timely notification the company promised.”

Illuminate Education produces software that collects data on students to help educators evaluate their pupils’ progress, according to the company’s website.

The city uses numerous programs offered by the company, including IO Classroom, Skedula, and Pupilpath, sources said.

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