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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review December 4, 2012 / 20 Kislev, 5773

Who's watching the kids? Just about everyone

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Students in America's larger schools sometimes feel like cattle. Now officials are starting to treat them that way.

The other day a Texas judge slapped a temporary restraining on the Northside Independent School District. The district had moved to kick Andrea Hernandez out of her high school, the John Jay Science and Engineering Academy, because she wouldn't wear an RFID tag.

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. The USDA started providing RFID ear tags to cattlemen a few years ago, the better to implement its National Animal Identification System. That program's purpose is to track the movement of sick animals to contain the spread of disease.

This year the Northside district in San Antonio began issuing student ID tags with RFID chips embedded in them as part of a new Student Locator Project. About 4,200 students at John Jay and Anson Jones Middle School were issued such IDs through the pilot program. Each RFID-enabled ID has a bar code tied to the student's Social Security Number.

Some of the students objected, but none of them objected as much as Hernandez did. She handed out fliers and started a petition opposing the RFID tags. For this, and for declining to wear such a tag, she was threatened with expulsion from the school. The district has made it clear that other students had better fall in line, too. According to the Charlottesville, Va.-based Rutherford Institute, which is representing Hernandez, students who don't take part in the ID program will lose access to the cafeteria, the library, and extracurricular activities.

Why is the school taking such a hard line? Not for the sake of student safety — John Jay High already has 200 surveillance cameras. The real reason is money: Public schools receive funding based on a head count known as average daily attendance. The higher the head count, the more money the system gets.

Hence, Houston's Spring school district boasted two years ago that after introducing RFID-enabled student IDs, the system "has recovered $194,000 in Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding that would have been lost if the district had not been able to verify the attendance of students who were at school but not in their classroom when attendance was taken."

Other school systems are following suit. Austin is using GPS technology to keep track of truancy-prone kids; so are Anaheim, Calif., and Baltimore. An Illinois school district is using GPS to monitor children getting on and off the bus. In California, the Brittan Elementary School District spiked an RFID plan only after parents objected. Again, the purpose was fiscal: "The funding of schools is based on attendance," a district official said at the time. "If we are wrong for whatever reason, it means we are getting less money than we should be getting."

Well. School bureaucracies may benefit from bigger budgets, but students often do not. Since 1970 federal education spending per pupil has roughly tripled, even after adjusting for inflation. Scores have barely budged. Anyway, raw cost-benefit calculations leave out the variables that critics of this brave new world find so disturbing: the invasiveness, the creepy authoritarian vibe, and the impersonal, de-personalizing posture of monitoring enthusiasts.

In an education "Trend Report," AT&T, which sells RFID technology, gushes that RFID "helps retailers track merchandise" and "lets libraries manage their book collections. By affixing tags to such high-value assets as laptop computers and overhead projectors, schools can keep the devices secure. . . . By asking teachers to carry or wear (RFID) tags as badges, schools can automatically clock them in and out. . . . (AT&T's solution is) scalable enough to be used to track tens of thousands of assets." Merchandise, projectors, human beings — they're all just assets. Things.

Not all school monitoring programs are so impersonal. Some get very personal indeed. Students across the country have gotten in trouble for disrespectful but non-threatening posts on Twitter and Facebook — even when they made those posts from home and on their own time. One Illinois district paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle a lawsuit filed after parents learned school officials were using webcam-enabled laptop computers — issued by the district — to spy on students at home.

At least those families objected. Others apparently have not in Missouri, where the Parkway district has issued hundreds of fitness monitors to record elementary school pupils' heart rates, sleep patterns, calories burned, and so forth — all in the name of combating obesity. Teachers will be able to see the data to monitor pupils' progress. Two school systems in New York have started similar programs.

Even if Andrea Hernandez wins her case, it probably won't turn back this tide of creeping Big Brother-ism. After all, as Northside School District spokesman Pascual Gonzalez told Wired magazine, "the kids are used to being monitored." The remark, sad but true, lends credence to a sardonic bumper-sticker you may have seen. "School lasts 13 years," it reads, "because that's how long it takes to break a child's spirit."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:




11/29/12: The Real Middle-Class Champion was Mocked and Opposed
11/26/12: It's time to cut a deal on the budget
11/20/12: The case for a carbon tax
11/15/12: Cue the hysterics. Reports of Democracy's Death Greatly Exaggerated
11/07/12: The $4,000 Trash Can: We need regulation, but not this much
10/23/12: The Ballad of Islamist Rage Boy
10/17/12: Undermining the values that enable people in poverty to escape it? Sadly, yes
10/11/12: How Much Is This Tax Cut Gonna Cost Me, Doc?
10/04/12: Warrantless spying skyrockets under Obama
08/20/12: The wrong side absolutely must not win
08/14/12: America was not built on dirt alone
08/02/12: Libs Discover Their Inner Cheney
07/30/12: Feds want to help you --- whether you want help or not
07/23/12: Barack Obama, Storyteller-in-Chief
07/23/12: Nation's worst outsourcer? You
07/19/12: Listen up, America: You need to knuckle under
07/12/12: Obama, Romney: As Different as Two Peas in a Pod
07/05/12: Are teenagers big children --- or little adults?
06/25/12: Minorities treated as mere numbers
06/21/12: Memo to the the Little Guy: Seemingly innocuous activity could bring the federal hammer down out of a clear blue sky
06/19/12: We mustn't let America be buffaloed
05/31/12: Drop and Give Uncle Sam 20
05/15/12: The feds would like to know if you enjoyed that video
05/03/12: Obama inspires: 'America --- Still Not as Bad Off as Venezuela!'
04/26/12: It's everyone's favorite time of year again
03/29/12: GOP disillusionment is a good thing
03/27/12: Just what America needs: more red tape
03/20/12: Nation wondering: what happening to language?
02/21/12: Culture warriors resort to propaganda
02/15/12: Step away from that cookie and grab some air
02/08/12: Lessons in heresy
02/01/12: Do We Really Need Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips?
01/11/12: Shut up, they explained
12/30/11: A Modest Proposal: Let's Ban All Sports!
12/26/11: A Christmas letter from the Obamas
02/24/11: Will the next Watson need us?
12/24/10: Here Are Some Good Gifts for People You Hate
06/15/10: The Presinator
05/26/10: More than equal
04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books
01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2011, A. Barton Hinkle

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