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Texas School District Drops Embattled RFID Student IDs; Opts For Cameras

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the eye-in-the-sky dept.

Education 244

The Northside Independent School District (NISD) of Texas, has decided to drop their controversial student RFID card plans and settle on hundreds of cameras to monitor students. Apparently, the technology wasn't quite the attendance silver bullet administration thought it would be, as Slate's Will Oremus discovered. 'Northside Independent School District spokesman Pascual Gonzalez told me that the microchip-ID program turned out not to be worth the trouble. Its main goal was to increase attendance by allowing staff to locate students who were on campus but didn't show up for roll call. That was supposed to lead to increased revenue. But attendance at the two schools in question a middle school and a high school barely budged in the year that the policy was in place. And school staff found themselves wasting a lot of time trying to physically track down the missing students based on their RFID locators. "We're very confident we can still maintain a safe and secure school because of the 200 cameras that are installed at John Jay High School and the 100 that are installed at Jones Middle School. Plus we are upgrading those surveillance systems to high-definition and more sophisticated cameras. So there will be a surveillance-camera umbrella around both schools," Gonzalez said."'

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Surprise surprise.. (5, Insightful)

andrepd (2932623) | about a year ago | (#44349905)

Surveillance and regulations are innefective, education is the way to go. It fails with drugs, it fails with guns, and of course, it will fail to do anything to increase attendance in a middle school.

Re:Surprise surprise.. (4, Informative)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44349931)

I'm tellin' ya, bring back spanking.

Re:Surprise surprise.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350089)

I'm tellin' ya, bring back spanking.

You mean like this? [youtube.com]

Re:Surprise surprise.. (5, Funny)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#44350113)

It's a good idea, but the teacher's unions would never let their members be spanked.

Re:Surprise surprise.. (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#44350509)

never let their members be spanked.

Never know. Might be the reason they suddenly opted for the cameras.

Re:Surprise surprise.. (4, Funny)

ai4px (1244212) | about a year ago | (#44350545)

There are somethings you really don't appreciate until later in life. Being spanked by an attractive middle aged woman is one of them.

Re:Surprise surprise.. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350865)

Being spanked by an attractive middle aged woman is one of them.

Being beaten with a wooden paddle by a sexually-frustrated middle-aged man is what made me the person I am today:

* Maladjusted
* Hates everyone
* Distrusts authority
* Probably destined to be first up against the wall when the crackdowns begin

Re:Surprise surprise.. (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year ago | (#44350337)

I have a phrase I use when discussing these kinds of issues with our staff (I work at a school District)

"You cannot fix sociological problems with technology. You can only mask them."

Technology doesn't solve the problems people want them to solve. It only offers mitigation. As long as you understand, you're not solving things, you will do fine. If you think you will solve the deeper problems with technology, you're going to be rudely surprised by the ineffective nature of technology.

And that is where the issue lies. Too many PHBs not understanding reality.

Re:Surprise surprise.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350921)

Technology doesn't solve the problems people want them to solve.

The problem is you're saying that to people who have no real inkling about how technology works, how it is applied and its limitations.

That's why the Homermobile [cnet.com] is the perfect metaphor for people suffering from Dunning-Kruger [rationalwiki.org] syndrome.

Get 'em while they're young (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349917)

Make big brother proud.

Re:Get 'em while they're young (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44350399)

The younger you get them used to it, the better.

Well, duh! (5, Insightful)

H3lldr0p (40304) | about a year ago | (#44349943)

You mean, what the entire tech community said was going to happen, happened? Kids found ways around their stupid requirements and made them look like fools while some contractor got away with tons of public money?

It's like we need to establish the "If an average 5 year old can find holes in it" rule from the evil overlord list for public institutions.

Protect the Children! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350043)

Why I have a system that'll work! It's called the Spurious curios child finder [nytimes.com] .

The school system needs to buy these at $15,000 a piece and if they don't, they DON'T care about the Children!!

And if it doesn't seem to work, then you just don't have enough Faith in Jesus!

Re:Well, duh! (5, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year ago | (#44350557)

What we also could use is more accountability. Who greenlit this? Who convinced the administration that it was going to work? People would perhaps be less likely to go out and try fancy expensive crap that's unproven if their job was on the line for it, and I don't mean the little guys who're only following orders. The administrators who take the decision should be held accountable for the money lost over an ineffective system.

Hell, in an ideal world, the contract with the provider would have performance clauses. That'd help with a *lot* of issues we're seeing right now with contractors. Overdue, overbudget? Performance clause means you get penalties for that. Fails to deliver what was agreed upon? Same thing. It'd make the contractors more cautious when promising stuff because what they'd say could be held against them later on. If they say a lot of crap but aren't willing to put their money where their mouth is about it, it should raise all sorts of warnings.

Re:Well, duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350869)

Did you RTFA? Ah, /., so no. The problem was that the students were on campus, not where they were supposed to be, and it was taking too long to track everyone down. This is a put your butt in the chair when the bell rings issue. Seriously, what's wrong with that?

Re:Well, duh! (1)

SilentStaid (1474575) | about a year ago | (#44350939)

Hell, in an ideal world...make the contractors more cautious when promising stuff because what they'd say could be held against them later on.

All I can say is that I have dealt with sales people who are very, very good about carefully wording what they will and won't do. If you think that won't just get more in-house lawyers writing memos about "better" double-speak, well I think you'd be the one rudely surprised.

Re:Well, duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350667)

People are forgetting that the "while some contractor got away with tons of public money" is the key problem and villian in this story.

And for much of what ails our government in general, from civil to military.

"That was supposed to lead to increased revenue." (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349957)

And so if one silver bullet doesn't work, let's try another!

IMO, if students don't show up for roll call too often, you talk to them. Then you talk to their parents. Motivating them (children AND parents) is your job. Treating them like money cows, not so much. Likewise, you don't automate roll call*, as some schools have tried. It's about the children, so treat them like they're human. At least, that's my apparently unAmerican[tm] view of things.

* The roll call administration is something different again. But the actual call is to be done by person, thank you.

Re:"That was supposed to lead to increased revenue (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44350451)

Fortunately, it's Texas, which means that they aren't actually missing out on education by skipping classes.

They might even be learning useful things, rather than the Texas brand of propaganda.

Re:"That was supposed to lead to increased revenue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350851)

That's Rick Perry's philosophy: We need no book lerning, just faster roadways (and more money in his pocket).

Re:"That was supposed to lead to increased revenue (5, Funny)

rullywowr (1831632) | about a year ago | (#44350475)

And so if one silver bullet doesn't work, let's try another!

How is drinking Coors Light one after another a solution to this problem?

Still not sure of the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349959)

I'm still not sure of the problem they are trying to solve.

Re:Still not sure of the problem... (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | about a year ago | (#44350063)

Accounting for more students means higher attendence which means more government money I believe. I'm not sure how the cameras are going to help that, though.

Re:Still not sure of the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350533)

Face recognition will tell where the wanted person was last seen, and the retrieval troops can be sent to capture the target. It might not be perfect, but works well enough.

Re:Still not sure of the problem... (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#44350065)

Public schools are funded by the state
One of the criterion for receiving state money is attendance
The problem is low attendance, which results in less state money
They're trying to improve attendance in order to increase how much state money they get

Of course, the real problem is that state money is based on income rather than students actually learning anything.

Re:Still not sure of the problem... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#44350145)

That last line should say "attendance" rather than "income". I hate Monday mornings.

Re:Still not sure of the problem... (4, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#44350325)

I'd say that tying money to attendance is the problem.
That makes attendance a priority for the schools, which is wrong in itself. In a system without spare resources, prioritizing one thing will always mean de-prioritizing something else.
But also, the measuring of whatever criteria are used adds overhead, which already is way too high in schools.

Split the budget in two. One goes to every school based on the building mass and facilities they have. The other for education, and varies based on number of assigned students. If a large percentage of students don't attend, that leaves more money for those who does, which is good - that makes the school more attractive.

Re:Still not sure of the problem... (2)

ai4px (1244212) | about a year ago | (#44350597)

You are right, money is the reason, but not how you think. Kids showing up at school -> kids answering present in the roll call -> money paid to the school for a student/day of instruction. What if the kids don't show up? The administration marks them present and still gets the money. Since the administration fudges the records, we needed a high tech way to count the kids that the administrators could not tamper with. It was never about making sure the kids were in school... it was about making sure the school wasn't paid for kids who weren't there. PS why do you think they came up with in school suspension? They get paid despite the student not being in class.

Re:Still not sure of the problem... (2, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44350725)

They're trying to improve attendance in order to increase how much state money they get

I've got a totally unoriginal idea: truant officers.

This problem isn't new: students skipping school is a problem that goes back at least 100 years. The solution involves people empowered to arrest and force truant students to school, fining students and/or their parents if the kid fails to show up, and so on. Sure, that can get expensive, but if you've already decided that you're going to legally require kids to be in school, then you need to use the coercive power of the state to enforce that rule, just like we enforce rules against disorderly conduct.

Promotion (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year ago | (#44349963)

Sounds like someone's due for a promotion.

Texas teachers (3, Insightful)

P-niiice (1703362) | about a year ago | (#44349977)

The lens through which we could be seeing this issue is facinating. We on slashdot see "Texas" teachers and we probably think they're retard conservatives. While, generally teachers in conservative southern states are viewed as crazy-ass liberals. It must be hell teaching in Texas, regardless of a teacher's ploitical leanings.

Re:Texas teachers (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#44350093)

It's hell teaching in most states because lawmakers, parents and administrators are competing to see who can prevent kids from learning the most.

Re:Texas teachers (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44350707)

You forgot teachers' unions, who are also doing a fine job of it.

Re:Texas teachers (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44350141)

You have to scrutinize every word in a statement to comprehend it in any case. "Texas" and "Teachers" for example. In this case, "Texas" means "San Antonio" (and part of surroundings) and "Teachers" will cover a lot of ground, too. Some of those people are teaching 'Murican History, and some of those people are teaching Physical Science, and some of those people are teaching Art. You can safely assume that these people will all be fairly different from one another. And yet, you can also safely assume that they will all be fairly different from their counterparts in Austin, and also substantially different from their counterparts in Bumfucknowhere, TX.

My favorite thing about TX is BBQ but my second-favorite thing is that they have signs on the highway that say CHURCH. Is this for the benefit of sunday-morning speeders, or just in case you need to pull over for a quick roadside exorcism?

Re:Texas teachers (2)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44350243)

My recollection is that most teachers are interchangeable until you get to a certain level. As long as you can read the answers from the back of the book, you're golden. The exception is the sports teachers for whom the qualification is the desire to vicariously live out your failed dreams through your more talented students while finding some way to keep the rest out of your hair.

Re:Texas teachers (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44350353)

Well, as one of the outliers, I remember vividly that some teachers were there to teach and some teachers were there to get paid and keep the little fuckers in line, which is not a healthy attitude.

Re:Texas teachers (2)

crakbone (860662) | about a year ago | (#44350319)

While I do agree the majority of teachers I have met have more Liberal leanings I have personally found they truly want to help the children and the ones that mess up the works are the school administration/school board. Out of all the insane and crazy ideas I have seen at schools the amount presented by teachers had been extremely low. You really want to mess up a childs life try to run it based solely on politics.

Re:Texas teachers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350377)

Or it could simply be that the State views public schools as a means of keeping kids off the street, not a means of providing needed education. Where would our colleges be if our public schools provided adequate education for most jobs? There's always a bit more wool to shear from the sheep.

Re:Texas teachers (4, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44350699)

Texas education will surprise you, apparently. I know a choral conductor who recent took a job at a small Texas college. I asked her how many students were there, and she said "Oh, about 600". It's not a dedicated music college, so I expressed my surprise, and asked her if she could form a decent choir out of a student body of 600.

She said "Ah, but they're 600 Texans." Apparently music education is emphasized quite a lot in Texas K-12 schools, and far more students leave school knowing how to sing than in other states.

Re:Texas teachers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350871)

Texas teachers aren't the source of most of the crazy-ass stories about Texas' educational system. It's the State Board of Education which contains the lunatics who keep trying to push creationism in textbooks and all the other stupid shit that everyone makes fun of.

who is going to watch 200 cameras? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44349999)

how many security staff are the school going to need to watch anything near all 200 cameras?

Re:who is going to watch 200 cameras? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350105)

It's called video analytics...

Re:who is going to watch 200 cameras? (2)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44350777)

I worked for a public school years ago for a semester.

They wanted me to use my personal laptop, which was fine with me, so I asked them if I could connect it to their network. They said yes, so I plugged it into the Ethernet jack. There was no DHCP. I went to check one of the other computers, and they had statically-assigned IP addresses. I asked the school IT person if I could have an IP address, and she said "You have to go through central office to get an email account." I said "I don't want email; I want an IP address." She again said something about email, and clearly didn't know what an IP address was.

So I plugged in my laptop and fired up a packet sniffer to find an unassigned one, and noted in passing that I'd have been able to read the principal's email had I chosen to.

These are not the kind of people who are going to get video analytics anywhere close to right.

What's going on in this district? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350003)

1. 1984?
2. Parents in the area didn't want children as much as they thought they did?
3. Lazy parents?
4. No discipline?
5. ?????????

Re:What's going on in this district? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350267)

2. Parents in the area didn't want children as much as they thought they did?

That's what happens when you have an increasingly anti-abortion (and even anti-contraceptive) environment...

Wrong reasons ... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44350021)

That was supposed to lead to increased revenue.

If the schools are focused on increasing revenue, something along the way is horribly broken.

Re:Wrong reasons ... (2)

cruff (171569) | about a year ago | (#44350091)

If the schools are focused on increasing revenue, something along the way is horribly broken.

When I was in elementary school, we were told ahead of time to make sure we were present for certain days because the attendance on those days was used as a base line for certain funding sources. This is not a new thing.

Re:Wrong reasons ... (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year ago | (#44350247)

That was supposed to lead to increased revenue.

If the schools are focused on increasing revenue, something along the way is horribly broken.

If I remember correctly, State(?) funding is based on attendance, so it behooves the school to keep track of their little gravy-trains in order to ensure they get the maximum possible funding.

If you didn't fund schools based on attendance, then how else would you do it? (and this is a serious question)

Re:Wrong reasons ... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44350369)

Doesn't 'No Child Left Behind' fund by test scores?

Of course, that means underperforming school districts get less money, which leads to further under performance.

Re:Wrong reasons ... (1)

ai4px (1244212) | about a year ago | (#44350673)

....and the other way 'round would be to give extra money to schools which don't perform? Talk about a race to the bottom. If you "reward" underperforming schools with more money, you'll soon have all of them in that category.

Re:Wrong reasons ... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44350759)

I didn't suggest the opposite.

How about everyone gets a flat $, with bonuses for better test scores. Or better graduation rates.

Re:Wrong reasons ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350381)

I've been petitioning to use average student height, but nobody listens to me anymore.

Re:Wrong reasons ... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#44350425)

> If I remember correctly, State(?) funding is based on attendance, so it behooves the school to keep track of their little gravy-trains in order to ensure they get the maximum possible funding.

Take roll in class. Use 100 year old technology to do it.

Non-problem solved.

No Big Brother survelliance state required.

Re:Wrong reasons ... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44350453)

If you didn't fund schools based on attendance, then how else would you do it? (and this is a serious question)

I would use a combination of metrics to determine where the funding is needed most, rather than basing a schools fiscal security on a single factor, which in the case of attendance becomes a vicious cycle: funding goes down, so the quality of education goes down, so attendance goes down, so funding goes down, and so on and so forth.

Re:Wrong reasons ... (4, Interesting)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about a year ago | (#44350469)

If you didn't fund schools based on attendance, then how else would you do it? (and this is a serious question)

Granted the system in the UK is so far pro perfect, that a person with good eyesight and excellent binoculars standing on top of the system in the UK could not even see "Perfect" over the horizon... but the funding system there is at least in part based on the academic results of the students.
Why is this not perfect?
1. The schools no longer teach the subject, they teach the way to pass the exam.
2. Schools offer more easy courses (and as a result, fewer math/science/technology options).
3. Students want an easier life, so they pick the easier courses.
4. Governments like to be able to say that their education approach is improving things, and they point to consistently higher grades, which are achieved through the subjects being dumbed-down, sometimes to the point where students going on to the next phase of education have not achieved a basic core competence level in fundamental subject that are the building blocks of education at the next phase.

Granted, as I left University in the mid-90's, this is no longer my problem so I can be the doddering old fart with a shotgun in one hand and my Zimmer frame in the other, shouting "Gerroffmylawn!!!", but the problem really came home to me when I came to try and help my daughter with her math homework, which was "how do you perform multiplication on a calculator?", and "Using your calculator, perform the following calculations...".

Re:Wrong reasons ... (3, Interesting)

pr0t0 (216378) | about a year ago | (#44350271)

I surprised that there is such a disparity between enrollment and attendance that they can't just use the former to determine funding. Are parents enrolling their children but not sending them to school? Are children so disenfranchised and utterly unconcerned about their future that they habitually skip class? What they heck is going on in Texas?

Maybe it was just how I was raised or the ethos of my school environment, but when I was young we all knew: more class time => better college => better income. Even in middle school we knew that! Sure we were still kids. Kids who disliked homework and usually felt bored in class, but damn, we wouldn't skip it more than once or twice a year.

Re:Wrong reasons ... (2)

Necroman (61604) | about a year ago | (#44350625)

It seems like at least a few states us a thing called the "Average Daily Attendance [edsource.org] " to track how many kids are actually going to school. Then this is the number that is actually used when allocating funding to the school. Here's a story [kpbs.org] about how much 1 student being chronically absent costs the school (87 days missed, school lost $2464).

This isn't all the funding a school gets, but it is part of it.

Re:Wrong reasons ... (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about a year ago | (#44350541)

You hit the nail on the head.
Watch the talking heads blather on about safety, it is only about funding.
The us public school system is not about education, it is money and politics, but that is redundant.

Texas for ya (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350059)

If you need cameras to track your students, you don't have a low enough teacher to student ratio, which means the teachers don't know the students well enough to know whats going on with their students.

But teachers are expensive, stupid, and incompetent.

Of course Texas loves teachers to be that way, that gives them even more leverage to cut $ out of the public school systems.

Re:Texas for ya (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#44350125)

Teachers in many subjects are also hard to come by. I know when I was still in high school (almost a decade ago now), we had more English, history and French teachers than we knew what to do with, butcould never find enough science and math teachers (nevermind well qualified ones).

Re:Texas for ya (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44350929)

Then you aren't paying well-qualified science and math teachers enough.

Supply and demand...

Re:Texas for ya (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#44350455)

Well Texas is waging war on the rural poor. So it's very likely that there isn't a good enough student to teacher ratio. Although I think that this is a well-funded suburban district. So teacher ratios may not be a problem after all.

It may be more like someone has too much time on their hands.

Idle hands. There's a religious saying for that...

Is this really a bad thing? (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#44350073)

Why not have cameras? I'd like to have audio recordings too. I see some real benefits besides the attendance issue. Kids should not get the same rights as adults and keeping a closer eye on teachers as well. I imagine it may increase everyone's productivity and civility.

Re:Is this really a bad thing? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44350225)

Why not have cameras? I'd like to have audio recordings too. I see some real benefits besides the attendance issue. Kids should not get the same rights as adults and keeping a closer eye on teachers as well. I imagine it may increase everyone's productivity and civility.

well the cameras you would have thought to have come before the rfid. but what baffles me is that they though they were going to be using the rfid for involuntary locationing of people. that's beyond stupid - what's even more stupid is that it seems their "revenue" wasn't based on people learning or being taught in class but the number of people they can prove to have been in class? is it a prison or a school?

Re:Is this really a bad thing? (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44350481)

is it a prison or a school?

What with the security checkpoints, lockdowns, forced searches of student property without permission...

That's a damn good question.

just make education engaging (2)

RichMan (8097) | about a year ago | (#44350107)

If the school system was doing a proper job and education was engaging and felt worthwhile then attendance would not be a problem.

I would say they are spending the money in the wrong place. Working on the curriculum and staff training would be better, but the system cannot blame itself for the failing so blames the students.

*sigh* if only the education system could actually be intelligent and learn from the past.

Puke (-1, Offtopic)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44350191)

Or vomit for the more sensitive souls.

Sounds like the school is too big (5, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#44350235)

You see this with a lot of schools. They become massive unmanageable compounds.

If the school is so big that you can't find your students in a reasonable amount of time even though they're on campus then your school is just too damn big.

Beyond that, there is a huge issue in our education system with putting the burden of attendance on the school or the teachers. How exactly is it the teacher's responsibility to make sure the students are in the class room? That is either the responsibility of the student or the parent. And if the student fails to show up or the parent fails to deliver the student... Fine. Find another school because you're expelled.

"But But, that will leave exceptionally stupid and disruptive children without even a marginal education."... And? So we should screw up the whole education system and force teachers to go play hide and go seek with various students just to raise an F- student up to a D- student? Not worth it.

Any meaningful test can be failed. If you cannot fail a test then it isn't a test. Life is full of tests. Will you get a job? Will you form some sort of life long relationship with someone else? Will you support yourself? Will you take care of your health? etc. The same is true in your professional career and the same is true in your education. Tests. Which you pass and fail. And not showing up to class is a failing grade.

End of story. Does that mean the school loses money due to poor attendance? Sure. But that's an accounting issue. Calculate things AFTER attendance not before. Then you don't lose anything. Or at least set your attendance projections at something more realistic. Scale back your projections by whatever percentage you over shot last year and you'll probably be closer to the ACTUAL attendance this year. What is the big problem.

You are not going to be able to save every kid. Stupidity is incurable. Get over it.

The American Way (4, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44350253)

Treat students like prisoners.

Re:The American Way (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#44350295)

Treat students like prisoners.

Don't worry I'm sure they'll find a way to treat prisoners worse.

Re:The American Way (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a year ago | (#44350825)

Or, to treat students worse.

Re:The American Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350793)

Treat students like prisoners.

Well, it's preparing them for the future. More of them are going to spend time in prison than in a boardroom.

This is the U.S.A., after all.

It was bound to happen (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#44350283)

Unless they implant the RFID chips, one kid will turn up for class with 30 RFID chips in his pocket!

Re:It was bound to happen (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44350813)

That will be one rich kid. She gets an automatic A in economics.

The real problem (3, Interesting)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44350285)

How has nobody mentioned this yet? Kids will show up for school if the stupid teachers unions wouldn't throw a giant fit every time a school tries to fire a teacher that every student hates because they're a complete asshole. Schools shouldn't even have good and bad teachers. Bad teachers should just be fired. I love how my high school had a "principal reviews the teachers in-class" semi-annually policy. Talk about a stupid waste of time. They know the principal is sitting there watching so they act different and the principal is only looking for teaching quality, not their personality. If they want a real opinion of teachers, ask the students and then fire accordingly.

Re:The real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350461)

Surely you're not suggesting attendance would go up if school was somewhere students wanted to be? Yeah, lots of cameras, that'll do the trick...

Re:The real problem (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#44350495)

This is horrible advice.
Kids are likely to like teachers who are friendly and let them get away with anything. Those who nag until they do their assignments or tell them to pay attention are not liked. But they may be way better pedagogues.
Thinking back to my youth, the teacher who was most universally hated was also the one whose teachings I remember the best today.

Re:The real problem (2)

MerceanCoconut (1145401) | about a year ago | (#44350519)

Well, with the 200 cameras installed on campus, the principal won't need to sit in the class any more. He can just tune in whenever he likes.

Re:The real problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350781)

And there's the "Bad teacher" blowhard, right on schedule.

Give up this narrative. It's far-right propaganda to demonize scapegoat teachers.(Part of their plan to disenfranchise and harm liberal voting united public workers)

You can only get good teachers if you want to pay for them.
Good teachers cost a lot of money. Yes. They do. It's a thankless 80+hour a week job that should require a lot of initial and continuing education and certification. Teachers should earn 100k plus. Period.

There are teachers in my local school district who qualify for food stamps. They babysit your spoiled brats all day, plan their lessons and grade their tests after work, and you limp dick libertarian blowhards don't care if they have trouble feeding their own kids.

Re:The real problem (2)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#44350867)

You're exactly right! Out of the last 20 years I've been in school and the dozen's of teachers I've had, I would maybe keep 5 of them on staff. Teachers have developed a union where they can effectively sit on there asses, do nothing, make a stink and get paid increasingly large amounts of money. If kids are skipping class most of blame should be put on the school and teacher, the teacher needs to make the class inviting and fun and the school needs to offer fun and exciting courses that make kids excited to come to class. If your not inviting the kids naturally in the first place then you'll have to round them up like cattle. How about before you track you think! Fire most of the teachers and start offering interesting classes that kids want to sit in. I fail to see how students aren't involved in class planning process.

Re:The real problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350917)

Teacher gave my precious angel an F, fire him!

FTFY.

wrong hammer for the nail (3, Interesting)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#44350301)

The problem to school attendance is a societal issue. texas' abstinence only education perpetuates a cycle in which unfit or unwilling parents are needlessly encumbered by raising a child. working two jobs and barely making rent, the prosects are low when faced with ensuring your child doesnt starve to death and attends school on a regular basis.
through policical will, we've slashed education funding to the lowest levels in 30 years. We shouldnt get the luxury of complaining about low school attendance figures when evidence suggests there are arent enough teachers let alone truancy officers to ensure attendance.
the increasing police presence in most schools also reinforces a schoolhouse to jailhouse track for kids that need help the most. one or two run-ins with the cops and most kids just quit going entirely assuming the system is rigged against them.
Dont get me wrong, RFID is a glorious technology. We should use it instead to track politicians in the pursuit of determining where they get off neutering a public service that is intrinsic in becoming a functional human being, let alone model citizen. Maybe a few well placed tags can determine at what point our duly elected officials secure kickbacks for more cops in schools. Line their pockets with some and lets try to figure out what tribal leader is pushing them model legislation for doling cash to religious institutions disguised as legitimate schools

Re:wrong hammer for the nail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350711)

As someone from western canada I've always been curious if Truancy Officers are a real thing?

"So there will be a surveillance-camera umbrella" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350329)

Insert 1984 reference here. Looks like it was off by 30 years. 2014 not 1984.

funding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350427)

You could fund based on population within the district. Could even further break it down by # of children in the district. That could get painful as census data gets out of date.

Basing funding on anything except attendance creates a strange conflict where the district wants the fewest students possible.

School = similar to prison, here is why : (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350431)

In both cases, authoritarian idiots are attempting to force
order on a bunch of inherently uncontrollable people.

And those uncontrollable people have all the time in the world
in which to devise methods for circumventing the authorities'
attempts to control them. Because the human being is generally
capable of ingenuity, all such attempts to control are doomed to
failure.

However, if you can give people something interesting to do, and
they enjoy doing it, you don't need to worry about controlling them
because they will control themselves. And this is why many prisons
have things like weights for weight lifting, libraries, and even bocce
courts and pool tables. Those who complain that the prisoner is somehow
"not being punished" because there are such forms of entertainment are
clueless fools who would change their positions quickly if they were themselves
incarcerated.

Now, back to schools :

If the school has good teachers and gives students interesting things to work on,
the students won't tend to misbehave for the most part and there will be no need
for surveillance cameras. The bottom line is that if such things are necessary it
is the school which is failing the students, rather than the students which are
failing in school.

=

No student left ahead (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about a year ago | (#44350479)

They have become a meeting ground between the excesses of left-wing (political correctness, affirmative action,everyone-a-winner) and right-wing (security paranoia, ra-ra patriotism, and anti-science agenda) ideologies, where security contractors are better funded than the teachers. The end result is pabulum for a curriculum where mind-numbing mediocrity is held up as an achievement.

Give me a break. (1)

shemyazaz (1494359) | about a year ago | (#44350521)

What is this obcession with attendance? Who gives a crap if the student is there or not? If a minor misses role call, the faculty calls and tells the registered contact. The parent or guardian deals with it if necessary. If you are learning the material and are capable of passing the tests...stay the fuck home for all I care. This is something that has always bothered me. Oh, you score in the top 1% of the class on the tests....but you missed 10 days....you fail. I have the same problem with homework. Oh, you demonstrate mastery of the subject, but you didn't do this huge mass of pointless homework....you fail. Even in college they pull this crap.

Re:Give me a break. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350587)

Maybe if you had attended school more you would have learned to spell.

Re:Give me a break. (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44350773)

Money. Schools are funded (in many places) based on attendance.

Which raises an interesting point about the motivation behind the RFID system: Should schools be paid for the students that simply show up on campus? Or should they be required to attend class? If some kids want to treat their school as a smoking lounge, I don't want my tax dollars supporting that.

I guess my school was a deathtrap, because... (3, Interesting)

GPS Pilot (3683) | about a year ago | (#44350637)

"we can still maintain a safe and secure school because of the 200 cameras that are installed"

I guess my school was a deathtrap, because it had zero cameras and zero RFID chips.

Re:I guess my school was a deathtrap, because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350883)

Now that funding is linked to test scores and attendance, and enrollment != attendance, school is different.

We had teachers that could throw in a few topics they had some passion about.

Now we have approved curriculum designed to maximize scores on standardized tests.

Apples and Oranges.

Re:I guess my school was a deathtrap, because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350905)

I guess my school was a deathtrap, because it had zero cameras and zero RFID chips.

You could have gotten murdered without the school being any wiser whom to teach about ethics.

They would have been forced to teach everyone. Won't anybody think of the revenue?

Thank God for Private School (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350643)

I'd hate to send my kids to one of these public cattle farms where kids are taught they are simply a commodity - a taxpaying commodity for the government, really.

Re:Thank God for Private School (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350797)

tax paying? more than likely they will be leeches on society

Re:Thank God for Private School (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44350877)

Um...you do realize the irony of that statement, right?

In private school they're still a commodity - there's just competition for that commodity involved. Around me, there are relatively few private schools, and while there are some innovative programs in some places (as there are in some public schools), mostly it's the same stuff. And more drugs as a bonus. See, with Jimmy bored after school, nobody around, and lots of disposable cash drugs is the ideal idle activity. Oh, he's less likely to get knifed over a drug bust like the worst inner city schools, so most people pretend it isn't happening. But you ask the cops in the area and you'll find there are *more* drugs in the private schools than public. It's just that those kids can always come up with the money to pay their pushers, so there's less to kill someone over.

the real real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44350653)

Shitty parents. Good districts have good kids with parents who care. Bad ones don't. Yet we constantly blame bad teachers. Since when is it the teachers primary responsibility to track down truent students? Parents should lay down the law if their child has a bad attendance record. My kids know this and their attendance is near perfect. My dad didn't give shit and I barely made it through school.

Who cares! (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#44350809)

Just leave the kids alone, the kids who want to go to class will go to class and the kids who want to skip will skip almost no matter what. Tracking kids won't inspire them to go to class, what would inspire kids is interactive lessons, engaging teachers, interesting classes and an inviting atmosphere, not tracking them like it's going out of style.

running schools like prisons? (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about a year ago | (#44350823)

Most of the stories I hear about schools is another prison like policy being implemented. Why not just drop the pretense and combine prisons and schools and be done with it.

Cameras (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44350857)

I want the concession for the Guy Fawkes masks in Texas.

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