Should students be tracked by radio ID cards?

Some Texas schools are testing out ID cards that allow administrators to track students. The cards emit a radio frequency that allow administrators to confirm that students are at school. It doesn’t seem like the cards are for class skippers. Administrators say the cards are to help track attendance even if the students are not in homeroom, which allows the school to collect all the state dollars it is entitled to.

From The New York Times:

“In Texas, school finance is a numbers game: schools receive money based on the number of students counted in their homeroom classes each morning. At Anson Jones, as at other schools, many students were in school but not in homeroom, so they were not counted and the district lost money, said Pascual Gonzalez, a spokesman for the district.”

Some have concern about the cards.

“Matthew Simpson, a policy strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said the technology was easy to acquire, meaning people outside a school might be able to monitor a student if they obtained the student’s unique tracking number. “

“Mr. Simpson said the technology was originally designed for shipping goods and for cattle. ‘It was never intended for people,’ he said. “

Some students say they like being able to scan the tag to get through the lunch line. Other school officials say it’s an easy way to find a student in an emergency.

Lots of businesses make employees use ID cards for access, which is in a way tracking the employee. They can tell where they have been.

So what do you think: Would you be upset if your child was asked to wear an ID badge that could track them? Is this a good idea or a bad idea?

43 comments Add your comment

DB

October 8th, 2012
1:06 am

Haha! As if the kids couldn’t figure out, “Hey, Joey, here, take my card to school with you, I’m playing hooky today.” Puh-leeze. My daughter and I laughed at the parents of one of her roommates, who parents gave her a GPS-enabled phone so that they could always keep track of her. They also admonished her that she “must” be in her dorm room by midnight each night. As far as the parents were concerned — she was. At least, her phone was . . .

Jeff

October 8th, 2012
7:31 am

If you aren’t organized and disciplined enough as an administrator to get your kids in homeroom, you don’t deserve extra funding dollars.

Voice of Reason

October 8th, 2012
8:11 am

Until the computer system that tracks these kids becomes self-aware, then attempt to find Sarah Conner…..

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

Mayhem

October 8th, 2012
8:38 am

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! I do not want my kids tracked by the school. I don’t care how much funding they lose, they ain’t tracking my babies.

M.E.

October 8th, 2012
9:09 am

Could we use them for evidence to sue the school systems for not being accountable for our kids at all times?

JOD

October 8th, 2012
9:15 am

Oh how I hate agreeing with the ACLU, but they are right. Kids are not Walmart freight or cattle. If the story didn’t say it was from Texas, I would assume it was dreamed up by GDOT.

@DB – So true!

A

October 8th, 2012
9:25 am

I am a liberal/progressive Democrat but I wouldn’t want my child being tracked through any means that’s out of my control. What’s wrong with good old-fashioned roll call first thing in the morning? Then if kids are tardy for whatever reason, the school office usually checks them in, so they should have accurate counts everyday.

motherjanegoose

October 8th, 2012
9:48 am

If anyone is tracking my kids, it will be me and I do NOT plan on doing it. Is Texas the only state that gets money for children who show up for school?

Perhaps the point is that children are not OBEYING their parents and going to school. I find the word OBEY to be rather obsolete in many families.

When I was a student, and living with my parents, I never dreamed of not going to school. My own kids knew that I expected them to go to school. I am not a parent who believes in perfect attendance AT ALL COSTS. There were times mine went ( with me) to other places besides school…such as California or Alaska.

I DO feel that consistent school attendance falls in line with good grades and perhaps a good work ethic of going to work, even when you would rather do something else ( we have all been there). Maybe more and more parents are throwing up their hands and letting their kids take over. That would not shock me.

OFF topic but interesting…I listened to Ilyce Glink on WSB yesterday on the way home from church. She had a guest on who was talking to parents of current and potential college students ( I cannot remember her name). Ilyce asked about sports scholarships and they both laughed. It was said that less than 2% of HS athletes, nationally, get a college sports scholarship and while sports are good…it may be better to invest that time and $$$$ in academics. I thought it was interesting.

mom2alex&max

October 8th, 2012
9:48 am

What the heck???? If they can’t keep track of the kids, they don’t deserve money and they have bigger problems anyways. No way I would allow this done to my children. It is MY responsibility to make sure my kids are in school and where they are supposed to be on time. NOT anyone else’s.

Techmom

October 8th, 2012
10:17 am

My son’s school uses RFID tags to track visitors but not students. It’s the same technology they use in hospitals with babies if I’m not mistaken. They can’t track the RFIDs outside of the school so quite frankly, I don’t see the huge deal.

camille

October 8th, 2012
10:34 am

Big brother watching.. between cell phones, id cards, gps tracking in the car, credit cards, ip address on
a lap top, facebook, twitter, and everything else in between.. there is no place to hide LOL!!! really….

What happened to the teacher taking role in the morning? Are there to many students in the class for the teacher to take the time and call role? If so, spend the money to add new teachers and reduce the classroom size.

Who is going to pay for the new badges, installation of the equipment, maintenance and monitoring????

Why Not?

October 8th, 2012
11:03 am

I don’t see the problem with this. In fact, if I could have a tracker on me at all times I would. The only reason I would need to be tracked is if something bad happened to me. If I went missing, I would want someone to find me as fast as possible. This is the way technology is going, so we may as well get used to it.
Also- I like the way the technology works. Scout Mob knows where I am and if I walk into a restaurant and there is a discount, I know right away. Not bad. If I walk into Target and there are coupons, of course I want them sent to me.
I am not that important (and neither are any of you) that someone (”Big Brother”) is going to watch my every move. Don’t be narcissistic. No one cares what you are doing. Just stay out of trouble and you’ll be fine.

motherjanegoose

October 8th, 2012
11:06 am

@ camille…WOW you would have THOUSANDS OF TEACHERS running over to give you a hug if we could just: “spend the money to add new teachers and reduce the classroom size.”

In today’s economy…many teachers have lost jobs as class sizes are on the increase. Public school dollars are shrinking. Many Kinders in Gwinnett County GA have lost their parapros. I would rather teach 26 students with a parapro than 20 without (but that is just me). Another set of arms is beyond helpful in Kinder. I believe that many GA parapros ( teacher’s aides for some of you) make $10 -$12 per hour. Not much but a lot of them do it for the school schedule, as they want to be home with their children. I know so many that are wonderful. They are also in it for the health insurance.

catlady

October 8th, 2012
11:12 am

Let’s just microchip them, behind the neck. The Georgia legislature says we cannot do that here, but in Texas I bet it would be fine!

And we can start microchipping each baby when it is born! That way, we can tell the American citizens from the “illegals.” And if a person becomes naturalized, we could microchip them right in front of everyone when they say the pledge!

Misty

October 8th, 2012
11:22 am

I don’t think it’s a good idea, just like the others.

What’s up with the new layout? I don’t like it. I like to be able to see the past articles on the right like the old layout had.

Cynic

October 8th, 2012
11:41 am

When are you parents finally going to realize that government schools are basically just prisons with a night-release program? Indoctrination, following bells like trained dogs, obedience, subservience, and a general dumbing down are all that they are good for anymore.

Get your kids out of these day-prisons. Homeschool them, put them in private schools, and work to get your wasted money back so you can take responsibility for their education as you should.

Cynic

October 8th, 2012
11:42 am

Is this really an “american” institution you wish to continue supporting?

Techmom

October 8th, 2012
11:44 am

@catlady – that’s a REALLY slippery slope you speak of… carrying an ID badge is way different than being implanted with one.

So why do you all think it’s OK to track newborns in a hospital with this technology but not kids in classrooms?

Mayhem

October 8th, 2012
11:46 am

@Cynic – how many kids you got? My guess is NONE. Anyone who starts off a post with “YOU PARENTS” is obviously childless and the authority on child rearing.

Homeschool them. OK, I’ll quit my job to home school my kids. Then who’s going to put food on the table? YOU? great, I’ll email you my address. Or I can apply for unemployment and food stamps. again, YOU will pay for that.

Private schools – who’s gonna pay that $10,000 a year bill? Oh I will, let me go get two more jobs so I can pay for that. Then there won’t be anyone at home to take care of the kids after school. Lose/lose situation.

Your post is ridiculious. Talk to me after you have children.

Cynic

October 8th, 2012
11:51 am

Mayhem – justify your support of government education anyway you see fit. Doesn’t change the reality of what it has become or how much worse it is going to get. You are right. They are your kids.

traci

October 8th, 2012
12:11 pm

Catlady, isn’t that too similiar to the mark of the beast? Everyone getting marked?

Sk8ing Momma

October 8th, 2012
12:21 pm

No, I wouldn’t be upset if my child was tracked. It is no biggie, IMO.

First, there wouldn’t be a need to be tracked if students reported to homeroom as required. Failure to do what is requested has consequences. IMO, the bigger and more important question is why aren’t students reporting to homeroom? Parents need to be concerned that their students are complying with such a simple/mundane task.

Second, I don’t see any harm. What’s the harm in knowing where my student is, given that I already know he is at school? I guess it falls into the no harm, no foul category in my book.

Third, I don’t think this type of tracking will lead to other Big Brother behavior. Besides, who really cares about the whereabouts of a middle school student??? Please don’t answer pedophiles. They have been successful in finding victims without tracking devices and sadly, will continue to be successful.

I’m just not at all concerned about tracking children in this scenario.

Sk8ing Momma

October 8th, 2012
12:22 pm

Oops! Parents need to be concerned why their students *aren’t* reporting to homeroom.

Jeff

October 8th, 2012
1:45 pm

Umm, maybe I was the only one that read catlady’s comments as facetious. Did I spell that right?

A Dad

October 8th, 2012
1:57 pm

If your child is one who misses homeroom, or any part of school for that matter, enough to need a tracking device, you have much larger problems than being late for school. I am sure that the ones who need tracking aren’t straight A or B students, so tracking them is not going to help. It will be a cold day when my child gets tracked by a school, you can count on it.

catlady

October 8th, 2012
3:14 pm

Techmom and traci: My tongue was FIRMLY planted in my cheek! Thanks, Jeff! Guess the sarcasm for our Republican legislature could not be heard.

I remember when my eldest was a student at Cedar Shoals in Athens. There was a group of kids who hung out in the parking lot most all day–even called “the parking lot kids.”

I agree that if a high school student is not where they are SUPPOSED to be, it is up to the parent to “convince” them to be in class! If the school steps in, it will be accused of “stong arming” the kids. Parents, if your child is skipping school, the ball is in YOUR court! The school should call (robo call) every time a kid is not where they are supposed to be. (Of course, kids find ways to intercept these calls, and it doesn’t account for the high incidence of parents with changed numbers, disconnected numbers, or parents unwilling to even give the school an actual number.)

Mayhem

October 8th, 2012
3:21 pm

And when the kid looses the card…….then what?

C from Marietta

October 8th, 2012
3:39 pm

I think this is in a little story called 1984. I say NO WAY!

xxx

October 8th, 2012
3:41 pm

And when the kid looses the card…….then what?

We make them learn the difference between lose and loose.

Mayhem

October 8th, 2012
3:49 pm

loses……my bad

clewis564

October 8th, 2012
6:18 pm

Revelation 13:
16 – And he will cause all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.

mark

October 8th, 2012
7:30 pm

Is it still the schools fault if they don’t show up? No child left uncounted!! Is that Rommeys education plan? Or is it all rich people this way, all making less than 250000 this way?

mark

October 8th, 2012
7:33 pm

cynic- are you or your preacher going to teach chemistry and physics. You can always you the first 5 pages of that 2000 year old book you folks carry around.

Sk8ing Momma

October 8th, 2012
8:31 pm

For all of you that are opposed to such a tracking device, what’s the harm? I haven’t heard one harm articulated. Please don’t say an infringement on liberty or privacy. Neither is applicable in the case, IMO.

Observer

October 8th, 2012
11:12 pm

“Lots of businesses make employees use ID badges for access.” Yes, they have the ability to know when employees are arriving and to keep non-employees out of building. They are not radio activated and not designed to “track” my whereabouts. If I lose my card, $25 of my personal money to replace. Who is funding radio-activated cards for students? Let me guess……taxpayers fund, BUT, the school gets the benefit of government funds. How about this, take old-fashioned roll in homeroom. Call out a name, either present or not. Call mom and dad and report truancy. Taxpayers saved.

Ann

October 9th, 2012
5:19 am

@Why Not – They are plenty that care what you are doing! You are being watched because the corporations want you to spend your money on their product. Creating consumer robots that they can lead to specific purchases is their mission. Marketing is typically now targeted to specific persons based on their past purchases being tracked. Web ads appear on news sites you visit that happen to be something you recently searched for on Amazon. It is not being narcissistic to know these things.

Ann

October 9th, 2012
5:25 am

@ camille – Regarding who is going to pay for the purchase, installation and monitoring, many of these contracts for new equipment are “justified” as being beneficial to the schools or kids, when, in reality, they are avenues for contracts and money to pass to a friend or associate’s private business venture. This is behind many school decisions. The Texas system claims this will help them account for some extra kids so they can get their federal money. Does anyone really believe the extra money from a handful of kids each day is really going to add up to more than the cost to develop, purchase, setup, implement, and track/monitor kids on a daily basis in order to acquire that additional federal money per child? There will be costs for replacement cards, setting up the individual tracking numbers, etc. The costs to actually maintain these systems is often not considered at the outset.

Warrior Woman

October 9th, 2012
10:59 am

NO! No way, no how would I submit my children to this.

Ann

October 9th, 2012
11:40 am

@ Sk8ing Momma – You are saying that you know where your child is, but you don’t see any harm in this type of tracking. I would ask, why are you okay with your child having to “do something” because of the smaller percentage of kids who are not in school? This is similar to a non-drug user having to do a drug urine test at school because of the smaller percentage of students getting into trouble with that issue.

You say that you “don’t think this type of tracking will lead to other Big Brother behavior. Besides, who really cares about the whereabouts of a middle school student?” There is huge interest in tracking that middle school student. They are future consumers of products and companies are much more aggressive about “locking in” brand preferences and loyalty at an early age. Why do you think cell phones are now targeted with designs for five year olds?

This tracking plan will cost taxpayers money and they “no harm, no foul” needs to take cost into consideration. There is a long track record of schools spending money on changes and reforms without giving proper thought to the long-term cost and benefit to the public. Sometimes, these decisions are made because a person “in their job” wants to make some change or “improvement” to justify the need for their job.

Warrior Woman

October 9th, 2012
11:58 am

@Sk8ing Momma – First, your saying that infringement of liberty and privacy is not applicable does not make it so. It is an invasion of liberty and privacy, because there is nothing that prevents the RFID chips from being used outside school hours or by reader other than those belonging to the school.

Second, RFID chips in credit cards have been shown to be notoriously insecure. The chips can be read from a distance and RFID scanners are very portable. This combination means the chips can easily be read by someone with no business doing so. Further, tags can be read from greater distances using a high-gain antenna or if the cards use a battery to boost range, exacerbating this problem.

Third, RFID chips linked to an individual person can easily be used by businesses using RFID technology for marketing purposes. This means that if the RFID reader at the cash register reads your student’s ID chip, they can link every purchase to an individual person. If your student uses your credit card with RFID technology, or if they also carry a card with RFID technology, their purchases are also linked to you (or whatever card they are using).

Fourth, technical issues can cause problems. Because RFID systems use electromagnetic spectrum, they are relatively easy to jam using energy at the right frequency. Also, active RFID tags (those that use a battery to increase the range of the system) can be repeatedly interrogated to wear the battery down, disrupting the system. If reader ranges overlap or there are many RFID tags in an area, reader collision or tag collision can cause data collection problems. What happens when your child is in class, but a system disruption, reader collision, or tag collision causes them to be recorded as absent?

Denise

October 9th, 2012
12:06 pm

What kind of cost-benefit analysis has been done on this? The “we’re losing money” statement is not enough. 1) how many children are missing homeroom roll call that are in class the rest of the day? is there a way to account for them later in the day? 2) is the truancy rate high in the area? that needs to be fixed before you go implementing this on kids that come to school. 3) is the cost of implementing this system reasonable vs the money the school (system?) will get in federal dollars? I’m not talking just financial cost. Cost in parental satisfaction matters. How quickly will this school board be voted out if the parents are dissatisfied? 4) will this system actually satisfy the requirements for getting the federal dollars? 5) what other data is being tracked? I’m sure attendance is not the only thing that will be tracked once this system is put in effect but it will be the only thing parents will be made aware of.

DB

October 9th, 2012
9:53 pm

I wish they were more concerned as to WHY the kids weren’t in school, instead of bemoaning the fact that they are loosing money because they aren’t there.

William Childress

October 14th, 2012
4:19 pm

If the people entrusted with access to the system were perfect, then nothing could possibly go wrong. If their character were beyond reproach then they would never use it for anything sinister. If the world were a perfect place then there would be no need for laws or punishment for breaking those laws. None of us live in that place. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Hitler would have loved such a tracking system. I am sure the final solution would have claimed more lives in a shorter period of time. The index cards really slowed things down.