California Pre-Schoolers Getting Tracking Devices

from the let-the-computer-watch-'em dept

Apparently pre-schoolers in Contra Costa County are going to learn from an early age to get used to the idea that their every move will be tracked relentlessly. They’re all going to get special jerseys to wear that contain an RFID tag, which will track the kids whereabouts at all times. The claim is it will even track “whether they’ve eaten or not,” though I’m not quite sure how that works. The idea is that this will “free up teachers and administrators who previously had to note on paper files when a child was absent or had eaten.” While I’m generally all for technology that makes processes more efficient, I’m not quite sure it makes sense to go full-on Big Brother here. Aren’t there better technological solutions for tracking attendance and food intake. What about having the kid (or their parents) sign them in via a computer check-in (which is what I do with my kid)? As a parent, frankly, I don’t think I’d be comfortable with a preschool tagging my kid with a tracking device.

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Comments on “California Pre-Schoolers Getting Tracking Devices”

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47 Comments
Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Huh?

“What about having the kid (or their parents) sign them in via a computer check-in (which is what I do with my kid)?”

Perhaps this is because I’m not yet a parent (that I know of….), but what are you doing this for? Is he logging in when he gets home and signing in to make sure he/she’s back by curfew? Or are we talking about the Facebook check in thingy so when he/she says their going to the theatre you know they aren’t actually going to the liquor store?

Dark Helmet confused….

Jon B. says:

RFID ain’t GPS. At best, I imagine that they’re tracking when the child moves from one room to another with a scanner in the doorway. And even then I bet there are misses where the tag goes through the scanner and just doesn’t get scanned. I don’t think I’d like the system either. Also, I just don’t think it would be that useful. I would hope there’s a human with an eye on the child that can tell you where he is, and if there’s not, then RFID probably isn’t going to help much.

Jessica says:

I live in Contra Costa County...

but my child isn’t quite preschool age yet. I think this is appalling. You are too busy to check to see if my child has eaten? Don’t they sit at a table together and eat?

There is a ratio for childcare facilities in each state and for preschool age (3 – 4) in CA its 12 kids per 1 teacher, although with an aide, you can have 18:2. That is so the children are adequately monitored at all times. So if my child is being adequately monitored, you’ll know if they ate.

Grey Ferret says:

Don't need a computer

You don’t need technology to tell you if they’ve eaten or not. These are preschoolers we’re talking about here. Just look for the food stains on their clothes and around their mouth.

Seriously though, this sounds like someone just trying to find a use for technology where it isn’t needed. Then they can brag about having a “high tech tracking system” and charge parents more money.

Anonymous Coward says:

How to increase revenue.

Create a demand for something and force others to buy it.

I bet the manufacture of the jersey’s have a sharing relationship with the school and that sometime in the future old jersey’s will not be allowed for some reason like “the chip gets old and stop functioning correctly so you need to buy new ones”.

Besides the “think of the children” never gets old apparently.

Michial Thompson (user link) says:

Are you commentors REALLY that STUPID???

I’m amazed by the number of morons that comment here… First off the idea of the chip is to INCREASE the teachers time to WATCH the kids.

The chip is being used to TRACK EVENTS that are currently being done by the teacher manually. It is not to WATCH your brat, or track his whereabouts, it is to take free up the time the teacher spends covering their asses for lawsuits from parents that claim their kid didnt eat or their brat didnt get to the bathroom or whatever other bogus complaint.

Anonymous Coward says:

Since no one else will do it.

*cues the Contra title theme as Arnold slides into the picture with his speech bubble of “Run for the Choppa” , explosion*

Why do kids need tracking devices again? It’s not like any of them are going to get lost. I mean, I read a story of a 3 year old that walked to a fire station, 2 blocks from her home to get help for her dad all by herself.

Kent says:

It's due to the relentless cost-cutting in education

No one in the education business wants to track kids with RFID. We would much rather use human beings to watch over and guide them all day, in the classroom and on the grounds of the school.

The relentless budget-cutting that has gone on for decades has long past the point of cutting fat. We are cutting meat and bone and this is what it gets you. There is no one to watch the children when they are between classrooms. Teachers are struggling to teach 40 to 50 children at a time, even in the lower grades. Junior high is much more difficult, as this is a time when kids break the rules as a natural part of growing up.

When you read about how a school district is experimenting with using Roombas to teach social studies, you’ll know we’ve reached a new stage in cost cutting. Thank you for your support for your local schools. You get what you don’t pay for.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: It's due to the relentless cost-cutting in education

We’re talking about a preschool, not a junior high or even elementary school. The kids aren’t wandering through the halls between social studies and math classes. Kids of that age must be under supervision at all times. So what money does it save to use these RFID tags? Does it change the required student to teacher ratio? Does it alleviate some other expense?

I’m not saying what you describe isn’t a problem, but I don’t see how that problem results in this “solution”.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

What I really would like to see would be kids switching their Jerseys to confuse everyone… Have a single jersey enter and leave the cafeteria a dozen times during lunch. Swap the Jersey with a kid in a different grade… Toss your RFID chip out the door and watch as everyone wonders where you’ve gone! The possibilities are endless!

Thomas (profile) says:

Re: switching jerseys

I doubt preschoolers would be that smart, but it would certainly be very funny if they managed to figure it out. Also kids could simply bring a friend’s jersey to school in a backpack and then the system would register that the kid was there when in fact he/she was at home playing video games. They could even extend it by cutting out the rfid chips and putting a bunch of them in one jacket then half the class could skip school with no one noticing.

Christopher (profile) says:

Agreed on being leery of this tracking thing

If some malefactor hacks into it, they can know where their ‘target’ for forcible rape or kidnapping is at all times and wait for the ONE MOMENT they are alone and….. WHAM!

That is why I tell people that these things are a parents dream when ONLY the parent can get into them, but a parents nightmare when anyone can get into them.

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