An education technology conference this week in Austin, Texas, will clang with bells and whistles as startups eagerly show off their latest wares, Reuters reports. But the most influential new product may be the least flashy: a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.

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...

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staff and wire services reports