Print 25 comment(s) - last by superstition.. on Jun 1 at 6:17 PM

Some parents are worried about the privacy of their children

A school district in San Antonio, Texas is looking to track some of its students using Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) tags next year.

Northside Independent School District hopes to use RFID tags in two of its schools in order to help protect its students and also increase revenue.

RFID tags are ID cards that track the location of the holder. Northside Independent School District wants to take part in a trial next year where John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School students will carry the RFID tags at all times. This is about 6,290 students total.

"We want to harness the power of the technology to make schools safer, know where our students are all the time in school, and increase revenues," said Pascual Gonzalez, district spokesman. "Parents expect that we always know where their children are, and this technology will help us do that."

Parents in the school district have had varied reactions to the news. Some have been supportive while others question the need for such invasive technology.

"I would hope teachers can help motivate students to be in their seats instead of the district having to do this," said Margaret Luna, a parent in the district. "But I guess this is what happens when you don't have enough money."

RFID tags could help the school district offset cuts in state funding because attendance plays a huge role in determining revenue. With a more exact attendance count via RFID tags, Northside could receive a total of $1.7 million next year from higher attendance and Medicaid reimbursements for busing special education students. If the trial proves successful, RFID tags could go districtwide and bring in a much larger payoff.

The district will pay $525,065 to deploy the trial next year, then another $136,005 annually to run it. Each RFID tag is $15, which students will have to pay if they lose it.

While the payoff could be great for the district, privacy is the main concern of parents. The district says students will only be tracked while they are physically in the school, and only authorized administrative officials will have access to RFID information. However, there are concerns regarding kidnapping if someone were to hack into the system.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) battled a California school in 2005 for using such technology, citing worries over identity theft and kidnapping.

The Northside school board approved the RFID program last Tuesday after a long debate over privacy and potential revenue increases.

Source: My San Antonio

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Say what?!
By NullSubroutine on 5/28/2012 12:32:46 PM , Rating: 4
"We want to harness the power of the technology to make schools safer, know where our students are all the time in school, and increase revenues,

Say what? High schools are operating on the principle of increasing revenues and not education? This has to be a joke.

Besides that, school is not meant to be a prison. It is meant to be a place to learn and a place for you to prepare for your adult life. It is up to each student to attend school and develop the work ethic to attend school and not school's responsibility to play big brother nanny state.

It really sounds like they just want to desensitize young people to 24/7 monitoring so in 20 years when the government forces it on everyone they will have less resistance. But hey, I'm probably just paranoid right?

RE: Say what?!
By foolsgambit11 on 5/28/2012 5:09:50 PM , Rating: 3
They're operating on the principle that education costs money. All government agencies are concerned with ensuring they are adequately funded to achieve their aims. There may not be a 1:1 correspondence between expenses and the quality of education, but we can leave that aside for the moment, because there's even more wrong with their logic here. A school receives funding from the State based on attendance. The school district here is assuming one of two things - either that their current attendance numbers are marking kids as absent who are in fact present in class, or that students will be more likely to attend classes with an RFID attendance system. Neither of those assumptions make much sense.

Students already assume they will be marked absent if they aren't in class. A RFID isn't going to change that. Perhaps it would be harder to hide out on campus, but kids who are skipping class don't need to keep their ID on them. While teachers are prone to errors in keeping attendance, my experience has been that it is almost entirely a matter of marking students as present who are in fact absent, and not the other way around. So it would seem the school district will be losing money, not just in implementing a RFID system, but also from a reduction in reported attendance.

When a new, more accurate map of France was completed in the 18th Century, Louis XV is said to have remarked that the cartographers, through their accuracy, had lost him more territory than he had gained in conquest (France was discovered to be something like 15% smaller than older maps suggested). I have a feeling this new, more accurate data, is going to leave the school district similarly disappointed.

RE: Say what?!
By joex444 on 5/28/2012 6:46:11 PM , Rating: 2
This makes much more sense. The district would only consider these things (well, hopefully) if they thought that knowing you are being monitored would keep kids in school. But that physical attendance only gets money for the district if there is an actual improvement in attendance.

But attendance is a baffling statistic to use. It shows physical presence, that's it. The kid is free to sleep through class, or do anything else non-distracting so far as the teacher feels like doing something about it. My point here is that attendance and education are not necessarily related. We live in a world of compulsory education. Beyond high school it is optional, and you generally find students want to be in class in college and especially graduate school. In high school, kids want nothing to do with it.

Especially the claim that they could get $1.7M from the state. Relative to what? Do they get nothing right now because they can't "prove" their claims on attendance? If they get something, then this $1.7M is an absolute value, what is important is the gain they would get with RFID.

(The more cynical take on this is that one of the district board members is also an insider of the RFID company.)

RE: Say what?!
By MechanicalTechie on 5/28/2012 6:20:05 PM , Rating: 3
The real question is why are you surprised?

Welcome to the 21st century where educational institutions are pushed to make a profit normally at the expensive of the students, governments aren't happy unless your permanently being monitored, a place where if you have enough $$$ you can buy legislation to serve your own needs and where the vast majority of the population are dumb fuks more interested in what's cool/fashionable than improving their minds or protecting their own goddamn rights!

Look around the evidence is everywhere...

RE: Say what?!
By superstition on 5/29/12, Rating: 0
RE: Say what?!
By johnsmith9875 on 5/29/2012 10:44:29 AM , Rating: 2
Just put the RFID tag in their cellphones. If they want privacy they can leave their phone at home.

RE: Say what?!
By geddarkstorm on 5/29/2012 2:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
Well, actually... Cell phones already have a GPS, and if they are iPhones, then Apple already monitors where everyone is. The school could just issue iPhones to all students and call up Apple. Problem solved!

RE: Say what?!
By frobizzle on 5/29/12, Rating: 0
RE: Say what?!
By kattanna on 5/29/2012 11:31:36 AM , Rating: 2
and increase revenues

isnt it heart warming to know that that school district thinks of the kids as stock that needs to be tracked??

RE: Say what?!
By superstition on 6/1/2012 6:17:23 PM , Rating: 2
"It really sounds like they just want to desensitize young people to 24/7 monitoring so in 20 years when the government forces it on everyone they will have less resistance. But hey, I'm probably just paranoid right?"

No. Domestic surveillance, security theater, cameras... It's all happening now. Take a look at cameras in the UK. Not only is London becoming camera city, but there is actually a policy to put cameras into people's homes if their kids don't get good grades.

The Supreme Court recently put a damper on our government surreptitiously putting GPS devices into people's cars, but that's only a small leak that has been patched in what is becoming a deluge of anti-privacy machinations.

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