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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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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.


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