Call me a hold out, a technophobe, or someone just behind the times, but the idea of student ID cards with transmitters contained within as required accessories to the everyday mundane school outfit is scary. The immediate benefits are clear, of course: a real time description of a student’s whereabouts on campus, an instant picture of school-wide student attendance, attendance patters for particular students without the hassle of manual entry, and a possible expansion into the design and development of a campus that cuts down on the effects that overcrowding has on traditional hallways and transit times between classes.
Unfortunately, the use of such technology, and the abilities of such technology, threaten the individual rights of the student. Call me a harbinger of doom and gloom, but it isn’t such a stretch that devices like these will be required attire to and from school as liability becomes more a focus for school safety boards in this modern hyper-litigious society. For schools to assume that such devices are needed, especially as a mechanism to ensure or increase state funding, is absurd. There are other less intrusive options available that can and should be employed before technology of this kind is leaned on. The reality of systems like these being championed by state legislators, school districts, and school boards gives me the sensation that Big Brother is bearing down, forcing me into the lockstep, conveyor belt rhythm of industrial schooling. The lower and middle classes of this country should not face the prospect of diligently conforming to an “ease of doing business” model that incrementally contributes to the loss of autonomy at such a young age (or ever).
The argument, by one teacher at the bottom of the article, as a positive lesson learned, offers insight into the long-term effect they are hoping to create. While accountability is integral to performance, it can still be achieved by proper oversight and better hiring practices (school and business). The peace and escape one finds while navigating the halls or walking home alone should not be scarified by the intrusion of knowing someone is always watching, or contribute to “learned” practices knowing their movements are being judged. If the school wishes to employ such tactics, and provides a valid reason beyond getting the kids through the lunch line quicker or assuring every last penny finds its way into the school gofers, I might be willing to listen. Until then, take the time to make your current schemes, mechanisms and practices more efficient; before looking for an automated solution, why don’t they take a look at staff policies and practices, and determine if they are up for the challenge?
read the NY Times article here: Student IDs That Track the Students