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One California school district volunteered for a six-week program that tracks students with unexcused absences using GPS devices

While riding on a parade float singing "Twist and Shout" sounds like a better time than going to school, students might want to rethink their plans for a Ferris Bueller-like rendezvous now that a California school district is using GPS units to track students with a poor attendance history. 

The Anaheim Union High School District has volunteered to be apart of a six-week program, which aims to reduce the number of unexcused absences by equipping seventh and eighth grade students who have a poor attendance record with handheld GPS devices. Reducing the number of absences a student has saves the school district money. Every time a student misses class, the school loses $35.

The program works by assigning GPS units to students with more than three unexcused absences. After receiving the GPS device, students are sent an automated phone call every school day to remind them to get up and go to school. They must enter a code five times a day in order to activate the device and track their location. They must enter the code on their way to school, once they arrive, during lunch, on their way home from school and at 8 p.m. In addition, a coach is assigned to each student in order to make sure that they are where they're supposed to be doing what they're supposed to do. 

"This is their last chance at an intervention," said Kristen Levitin, principal at Dale Junior High in West Anaheim. "Anything that can help these kids get to class is a good thing."

The district has 75 students participating in the program. Those participating are able to avoid other consequences that the school may have otherwise administered had the students' not volunteered. After the six-week program is over, district officials will make the decision to either expand the program to other high schools and junior highs or dismiss it. 

Some parents are having a hard time accepting the program rules, saying that it seems a bit harsh.

"I feel like they come at us too hard, and making kids carry around something that tracks them seems extreme," said Raphael Garcia, who has a sixth grade student in the district with six unexcused absences. 

The GPS units cost $300-$400 each, and parents must replace them if they are lost or broken. The total cost of the program is about $18,000, which is funded by a state grant. 



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Parental discipline, anyone?
By RamsayGetLost on 2/21/2011 10:09:03 PM , Rating: 5
Can we not just go back to the good old days when parents were allowed to physically discipline their children for being out of line?

It bothers me that parents who physically discipline their children these days run the risk of being reported for "child abuse".

I don't condone beating a child, by any means. I'm referring to structured disciplinary action whose scope is mutually understood by both parent and child.

A society in which the government regulates a parent's ability raise their child frightens me.




RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By omnicronx on 2/21/2011 10:38:01 PM , Rating: 1
Kids have long skipped school long before it was 'socially unacceptable' to hit your child.

Not too sure about you, but I was disciplined as a child anytime I skipped school. They both worked during the day like most parents these days, and its not exactly easy to keep tabs on your kid 24/7, regardless of your parenting skills.

Not exactly sure what the GPS is going to do though, many schools already employ automated phoning systems when your child misses school. If you are not all school and you don't have any kind of excuse (on more than one occasion), you don't need a GPS to know they are skipping.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By someguy123 on 2/21/2011 10:45:37 PM , Rating: 5
I'm assuming the idea is to eventually have some drones seek out your children via GPS and drag them back to class.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By YashBudini on 2/21/2011 10:57:47 PM , Rating: 3
Can you hear me now? Oh crap, you can!

Can I switch to Sprint? Fewer bars.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By Zingam on 2/26/2011 3:17:52 AM , Rating: 2
Better shoot them...


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By someguy123 on 2/21/2011 10:43:31 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I'd be for this if it wasn't for the fact that we're in already in massive debt and this would just add to it if instituted nationally.

I mean, it's law to attend school until a varying age (dependent on state), so it's not like truancy is a right being stripped. Parental discipline is something that many neglect, but even with good discipline your children are not free from peer pressure. At least with this they'll have an excuse for the cool kiddies who're trying to cut class.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By lolmuly on 2/22/2011 12:19:48 AM , Rating: 2
while i agree that cost is certainly an issue, I would say that a tablet computer to replace textbooks that also had this gps functionality would likely reduce costs over all.


By ShaolinSoccer on 2/22/2011 3:11:09 AM , Rating: 2
Dropping a book is one thing. Dropping a tablet, well, that's quite expensive. At least for now...


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By Parhel on 2/21/2011 10:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know of anywhere in the US where spanking is illegal, nor am I aware of any case where ordinary spanking was successfully prosecuted as child abuse. Clearly, laws need to exist to punish child abusers, and I'm sure children have reported ordinary spanking to the authorities, but it's hardly new and not exactly an epidemic.

I do think that some of this new age "naughty-mat" psychological bullshit is like torture for toddlers. Long, drawn out, and cruel. If that's what you're getting at, then I agree completely. But I've only spanked once or twice, and it's been for the big stuff where they knew it was wrong before they did it. Most of the time, I only have to yell, and that's the end of it. Spanking should really be a last resort, and only for very young children.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By mindless1 on 2/23/2011 12:20:57 AM , Rating: 2
It's a bit beside the point, spanking delinquent 7th and 8th graders isn't going to keep them from skipping school.. They are a bit too old for that to be effective.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By wordsworm on 2/22/2011 6:59:12 AM , Rating: 2
How about going back to the days when teachers and principals could beat children as well? My mom told me stories about how they'd beat the tar out of her for speaking French (she was a French orphan put into an English system). That taught her quickly to stop speaking French. If we did the same thing with everyone who doesn't speak English, you'd quickly see English make a come back in the US. And if we could beat children for saying words like 'Ain't' or foul language, that would be cool, too.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By Zingam on 2/26/2011 3:20:23 AM , Rating: 2
Or you might as well introduce Nazism :)


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By gmyx on 2/22/11, Rating: 0
RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By LRonaldHubbs on 2/22/2011 10:25:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
parent and child." Tell me how the child understands that? They don't - it just aggravates the situation. I know with my kids it would never work.

What's not to understand? You do what you're told or you get spanked. It's not exactly a complicated system.

According to my parents I was the only 2-year-old in my extended family that understood the word 'no'. That's because they actually disciplined me instead of giving in to tantrums. If it doesn't work on your kids then you waited to long to start disciplining them.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By mindless1 on 2/23/2011 12:25:58 AM , Rating: 2
There is no such thing as waiting too long, the failure happens if a punishment is threatened but then not carried out. It has to be consistent and it has to be made understood exactly what was done to *deserve* the punishment.

I'm not implying that spanking is the universal answer, different things work with different children like no allowance, grounding, no phone calls or internet access except for school work, no TV or video games, etc.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By bah12 on 2/22/2011 11:23:28 AM , Rating: 2
Let's say you broke a "law", stole something whatever it doesn't matter. Would you rather have 5 lashings with a whip, very painful but no irreparable damage. OR would you rather spend 6 weeks in jail?

Get off your high horse. Time-out IS ABSOLUTELY punitive, just a different type of punitive and both work to teach the concept of consequences for your action. To a child just like an adult the result is the same a quick physically painful punishment, or a long drawn out torture via loss of rights.

The catch is BOTH require escalation. That swat on the bottom that worked as a 4 year old will get laughed at by a 7 year old. On the same hand the 2 min time-out that worked at a younger age becomes 5-10 at an older age, and eventually YOU'RE GROUNDED FOR A MONTH MISTER!!

Personally I use a mix of both, sometimes even giving the child the choice. Time out of x min or a swat. My point is putative methods change, but your argument that one is some how superior is flawed. Water board torture is not physically painful, but torture nonetheless. Time-out is the same concept, and although you may not see it as such, it IS torture similar to jail.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By mikeyD95125 on 2/22/2011 6:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
So where would approximate the line between physical discipline and beating a child?

Your language is very vague. Where does physical violence fit into structured discipline?


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By mindless1 on 2/23/2011 12:30:15 AM , Rating: 2
Generally if you hear bones crunch you've gone too far. ;)

Seriously though, physical discipline should not cause bruising, blood, unconsciousness, etc. ONLY pain. Some people can't gauge their own strength or are anger-prone and do things in excess in such an emotional state, so either of these factors would be a reason not to attempt physical discipline at all.


RE: Parental discipline, anyone?
By hsew on 2/22/2011 11:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A society in which the government regulates a parent's ability raise their child frightens me.


Even scarier is the fact that that same government is in complete control of the aforementioned child's education. And there's nothing we can do about it.


It is about money
By Shining Arcanine on 2/22/2011 12:53:26 AM , Rating: 2
"Reducing the number of absences a student has saves the school district money. Every time a student misses class, the school loses $35."

They care more about money than they care about students. If they did care about the students, things never would have reached the point where students are committing suicide. Anyone familiar with the film "Race to Nowhere" knows that the K-12 system is is very good at driving people to the brink. Truancy, self mutilation, suicide, school shootings, etcetera only exist because people are driven to it, much like how one would be driven to alcohol, and it is all in the name of money on the part of the school system. Whether the next generation gets anywhere in life is inconsequential.




RE: It is about money
By raumkrieger on 2/22/2011 6:46:55 AM , Rating: 2
The lengths they'll go to to save $35...

Hey public school system: Stop treating the symptoms and start treating the illness, you'll have better results.


RE: It is about money
By nafhan on 2/22/2011 7:48:51 AM , Rating: 1
Our society is not a product of the K-12 school system. The school system is more a product and a reflection of our society.


RE: It is about money
By mindless1 on 2/23/2011 12:36:09 AM , Rating: 2
I'd have to disagree with that, the school system is a child's first exposure to _a_lot_ of kids, during a very impressionable period in their lives they are exposed to quite a lot that determines their later social skills, career choices (making goals), etc.

The only other influence that is potentially as great would be television... and today looking forward, the internet, but the typical K-12 yo student spends more time at school than at either of the latter activities.


RE: It is about money
By omnicronx on 2/22/2011 10:41:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"Reducing the number of absences a student has saves the school district money. Every time a student misses class, the school loses $35."

They care more about money than they care about students.
Seems like the entire point of your post was just to rant about something that is completely off topic.

Just assume a kid skips an entire day of 5 classes, thats $175 that could have been put back into the school system.

Multiply that by how many students skip each day and you can see how this could easily impact EVERY student. So to say this is not about the kids makes me laugh as it surely is. You can't have a good learning environment without proper funding period, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

If there is anything to complain about it is the system itself. Poor areas with low attendance in cash strapped areas are being punished the point where there schools are crap and learning is nearly impossible. How exactly can you dig yourself out of a hole when the learning environment continues to degrade as a result of a lack of funding?

And you wonder why inter city schools struggle in the way they do..


RE: It is about money
By joex444 on 2/22/2011 10:48:57 AM , Rating: 2
I would really love to know how they figure it costs $35 to *not* teach someone.

It can't be an expense -- teachers, administration, bus drivers, janitors and cafe workers are all on salary or at least hourly and wouldn't pick up any hours now that little Johnny isn't there today. Furthermore, it doesn't cost more in utilities or in diesel (if anything, this is slightly reduced, on the order of cents).

So... it would seem to me that what they mean is that
a) There is some kind of subsidy based on attendance. This is silly in principle alone.
b) The total cost is constant but divided up by fewer students so the marginal cost is higher. This is simply poorly phrased and being an attention whore. They actually don't lose any money.


RE: It is about money
By bah12 on 2/22/2011 11:52:14 AM , Rating: 2
It is A on your list. This is a real $35 of state funding lost. It is a flawed system maybe, but how would you suggest we change it?

State has $X of budget for 2011. If you spit it by anything other than attendance you run the risk of harming poorer areas. Say you give more to "smarter" schools, or maybe take the give it to "dumber" schools because they need it more (then the "smarter" schools lose incentive to be good).

Attendance is the fair way. Of that $X total your district gets $Y per student per day. Why should another district loose funding because you want a fixed amount and have a high percentage of students not show up?

As a tax payer I want to fund the kids that come to school, if you don't come you should not get my money.


RE: It is about money
By HrilL on 2/22/2011 2:29:03 PM , Rating: 2
From what I have heard from School administrators and teachers is that they get so much money for each student that attends class each day. They too used the $35 per student loss if they miss a class. The state gives each school money based on the students attendance records. So having everyone go to class allows the school to have more money for educating the children.


I dont think so
By saganhill on 2/22/2011 8:32:59 AM , Rating: 2
This wouldnt fly in my household. I would tell the school district to get out of my home and take their tracking GPS with them. I teach my kids to always question authority and this is a prime example of "to much authority gone awry".




RE: I dont think so
By userengel on 2/22/2011 10:40:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I teach my kids to always question authority

Always? Perhaps my understanding of what you just wrote is far too literal, but are you really teaching them to question authority even when they are clearly in the wrong? For example when they are breaking the law? That seems very irresponsible of you.


RE: I dont think so
By The Raven on 2/22/2011 11:11:17 AM , Rating: 2
I agree to question authority though always may be a bit of hyperbole. I don't question the authority of those I trust (e.g. parents, wife) or must trust (e.g. competent military superior) when time is of the essence. But some gov't program for education? Yeah question it. If it is clearly wrong, then that will become apparent and you will personally know (not just take someone's word for it) that it is wrong. It really helps you feel more confidant in what is right.


RE: I dont think so
By mindless1 on 2/23/2011 12:41:12 AM , Rating: 2
There is a difference between questioning authority, as-in contemplating what is fair and right and if there is any way to have a desirable outcome, and between rebelling against it without a desirable outcome.

As for what saganhill wrote if s/he told the school district to get out of their home, the school board would essentially acknowledge that they heard what was said, and then ignore it, explaining why they are doing it and that they are going to do it, or else the child can be removed from the school and schooled elsewhere (at great inconvenience and expense to the parent, or else that parent probably would've already picked a private school instead).


RE: I dont think so
By The Raven on 2/24/2011 10:39:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is a difference between questioning authority, as-in contemplating what is fair and right and if there is any way to have a desirable outcome, and between rebelling against it without a desirable outcome.

Umm... the desirable outcome is that the school isn't tracking your kid. I am missing your point.

That is like saying that you must let British soldiers shack up with your wife while you are away, or you will have to overthrow the gov't and claim independance. Where is the desirable outcome there? You see it as not having any hardship I guess. There is no free lunch, even in a free country. You have to fight against the grain of convenience if you wish to keep your freedom.


RE: I dont think so
By mindless1 on 2/26/2011 10:55:05 AM , Rating: 2
You mean you'd hope, or intend, for that to be the outcome but it wouldn't be the outcome. I'm not suggesting it's ok to track the kids, only that they certainly expected some parents to disagree with it but went ahead planning it anyway.

You aren't questioning authority in any useful way because the outcome of that supposed questioning is the same whether you did it or just skipped to picking a new school.


Lessons being learned here?
By The Raven on 2/22/2011 11:04:40 AM , Rating: 2
So we are teaching kids that you can do whatever you feel like as long as nobody is looking?

Wow I can't wait until that pent up curiosity and lack of perceived freedom is teamed up with reaching the legal age to use drugs.

If your kid does not value their education it is important that the parents /teachers make sure that the kids understand why they should go. If we leave it up to tracking systems then when they don't have them, they will behave badly because they don't understand why they shouldn't until it is too late.




RE: Lessons being learned here?
By mindless1 on 2/23/2011 12:48:02 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree. Let the kids decide if they want to go. If they don't want to... well somebody has to end up being the manager at fast food restaurants, work in factories, paint houses, mow lawns, do road work, etc.

I don't mean to be insulting to any people doing this kind of work, it is simply that these are jobs where you don't necessarily need a quality education but society NEEDS these jobs done, the jobs need to be filled by somebody. However I do feel everyone should be required to attend school until the age they are allowed to drop out, and it is in society's best interests if everyone at least has a GED.


RE: Lessons being learned here?
By The Raven on 2/24/2011 10:30:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I disagree. Let the kids decide if they want to go. If they don't want to.

How do you disagree? That is exactly what I said. I said that it should be up to the parents to teach their kids why they should go to school and the actual decision should be up to the kids. Because when they are 18 the decision will BY LAW up to the 'kids'.

Of course if you think your kid is a little slow, then you may want to force them to go to school until they catch on lol.


RE: Lessons being learned here?
By mindless1 on 2/26/2011 10:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree that the parents should NOT teach their kids why, that the kid should make the choice on their own.

Yes some will make poor choices. That's life.



RE: Lessons being learned here?
By eskimospy on 2/24/2011 12:59:48 PM , Rating: 2
Oh come on guys.

Kids who are 14 and 15 CONSTANTLY make dumb decisions in life, you probably included. (me definitely included) The idea that we should leave these children to rot because of their poor life choices before they are adults abrogates the duty of parenting and schooling. If we let children who don't know better ruin their lives while we stand by and do nothing that not only makes their parents horrible parents, but their teachers/principals horrible educators.

Not only that, but if you have kids who stop going to school at 14 or whatever, you might get a lot of house painters out of that, but what you're also going to get is a considerable number of criminals. Helping these kids do the responsible thing not only helps them, it helps us.


RE: Lessons being learned here?
By Zingam on 2/26/2011 3:26:37 AM , Rating: 2
You are right. My sister was very poor student upto the 8th grade. Then my father managed somehow to discipline her and later send her to a private school. She now works at a good position in a bank and has the best income from the whole family. She takes vacations in faraway lands and does whatever she wants and is totally independent.
If she was left to her childish decisions back then, she would have ended in some MacDonald's.

I've seen many people who as grown up could completely change and improve their lives. Everybody should have a chance to change their poor decisions and everybody makes them.


ugh
By LumbergTech on 2/21/2011 10:35:24 PM , Rating: 3
if you could provide any proof whatsoever that the problem is lack of hitting children then maybe you would have a point, but you can't and you don't




RE: ugh
By YashBudini on 2/21/2011 10:55:43 PM , Rating: 2
IE kids learn by example as well. Which is why we're doomed.


an opportunity
By Shadowmaster625 on 2/22/2011 8:11:04 AM , Rating: 2
Yet another waste of taxpayer money. This is an opportunity to tell those stupid schools with their 4 dozen overpaid administrators and their 100k union teachers to GO SCREW THEMSELVES. Get out of their system and go get a real education from a source that actually provides an education and not a prison camp indoctrination.




RE: an opportunity
By maven81 on 2/22/2011 1:58:35 PM , Rating: 2
"their 100k union teachers"

Which planet are you from again? You might want to talk to some actual teachers and ask how much they make.


what a waste of money.
By chick0n on 2/22/2011 12:01:37 PM , Rating: 1
It does not matter what they put on the student.

ok give them a GPS device, how about the student just leave it at home and go out to party ?

People came up with the GPS idea is just plain retarded, Which is what went wrong with our Educational system.

When I was a high school student like 15-16 years ago, I start skipping school, in fact I didn't even go more than 100 days out of the 3-4 yrs I stay in there. Sure they did come and get me, threaten to sue my parents, they even test my IQ and see if Im retarded ... rofl.

and finally I got to 17, which is a legal "reason" to kick me out. I still remember the day they kick me out, in the Dean's office that asshole there gave me the look and said I am a failure.

guess what fuck tard, first thing I got out of school was I went to get my diploma, and I got it in 3 months. Then I got into college at the age of 17. I really wonder what they taught people in high school.

the problem is not the student, its the teachers/administrators. One of the reasons why I did not go to school was because they were all a bunch of arrogant fags, who treat us with totally no respect. so why should I respect them? some kids might suck it up and accept it, not me. Im a failure huh? maybe, at Age of 31 now I have 3 cars, house, some money, hmm. I saw one of the bitch in my old high school still driving her pos oldsmobile ... rofl.




RE: what a waste of money.
By mindless1 on 2/23/2011 12:52:37 AM , Rating: 1
I suspect your defiant attitude was why they hassled you. Generally speaking if a child tries to get along they don't encounter teachers acting like arrogant fags (whatever that is supposed to mean?) or without respect.

As for driving an old Oldsmobile, you may find that when you get older you hang onto the same car for longer too, particularly if you're earning peanuts for a salary as a teacher. There's nothing to be ashamed of choosing a career that doesn't make a *lot* of money if it is something you enjoy doing, especially if it helps others.


RE: what a waste of money.
By smackababy on 2/24/2011 11:18:41 AM , Rating: 2
Average teacher salary is 43k at high school levels. That isn't peanuts. You can afford more than a 20 year old car.


Student Interaction?
By Fancarolina on 2/22/2011 12:58:36 AM , Rating: 2
Why does this device require them to interact with it so many times a day? Once they are at school what's the point I really don't understand it tracking them on the way home much less at 8pm.

Why not just check it once a day if they aren't there, call the parent. This seems excessive and expensive.




so what
By Murloc on 2/22/2011 6:46:01 AM , Rating: 2
so they already know you're not in school.
What now?
they come and get you at the cinema?




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