We wrote about radio frequency tags used for high school student attendance tracking when the plan was announced for couple of Texas school districts. It’s a fairly simple solution where a custom id card fitted with radio transmitter allows for localizing card holder while on the campus or school bus.
The idea sparked some controversies upon announcement as well as during implementation. Concerns were mainly focused on civil liberty issues and the purpose of the program in general. While there are no objections that school attendance should improve the means leading to that goal don’t get such unanimous support.
Student attendance record is among the top factors when it comes to funds distribution from the state and federal governments. No wonder school district administration is looking into attendance boosting ideas. Parents and students have a different perspective on the topics. School is not all about attendance but education process which requires attendance but just student presence is not sufficient for success. Some students complain that schools districts should rather focus on classes quality and attractiveness rather than just dry records of who was present. Basically it’s not about bringing the horse to the water, it’s about making it drink. Subject is old and played to the bone yet getting anything useful from school during test taking strategies classes remains a concern for all involved, students, parents and teachers.
No story would be complete without media input. Tabloid media looking for drama are on constant hunt for anything than can be sold and person struggle against the system always sells well. This case is not different. We have a case of girl being expelled from the school for refusing to wear the id badge for religious reasons. She feels the tag is a “Mark of the Beast”. I admit I have not investigated the story by myself but it just sounds phony or blown out of proportion.
If the devil sign story is the only issue about RFID program then I see no issues but I feel it is not and any real debate is being overran with mediocre emotional spam.