Print 48 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Feb 26 at 10:58 AM

  (Source: Flickr)
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: 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
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.

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