Government Schools Now Tagging and Tracking Pupils – Are there no limits?
The Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, is testing a half-million dollar RFID tracking and surveillance technology on 6,290 kids at two of their schools. They are not the first government school district to do this, which makes this a creeping trend taking root at the local level and could lead to bigger government.
“The potential benefits of this technology are so great that a lot of school districts will eventually embrace it… The challenges, like training schools how to use them and creating RFID tags that kids won’t lose or destroy, can be solved, and once they are, adoption rates should take off,” according to an AT&T sales brochure selling this equipment.
If this trend spreads unhindered, it could indoctrinate generations of children and their families to accept federal surveillance without question. The sorry part is this scheme has nothing to do with improving education or safety, even though Northside attempted to throw those out as red herrings initially.
Back in May, when the story trickled into the mainstream press, Northside attempted to use the “security” angle as one reason the community should accept this experiment without complaint.
“We want to harness the power of (the) technology to make schools safer,” said district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez. “And this technology will help us do that.”
In a My San Antonio report, National School Safety and Security Services consulting firm president, Kenneth Trump said, “Northside has to walk a tightrope in selling the idea to parents, some of whom could be turned off by the revenue incentive.”
No surprise to liberty-loving, small-government proponents like us, by the time the school year opened this fall, Northside district tossed out any pretext and admitted they’re doing this for the money. Their website says:
“Through more efficient attendance management, schools can generate additional revenues by identifying students who are not in their seats during roll call but who are in the school and locate them.”
Follow the Tax Money
They’re coughing up $525,065 to test this at two schools, and spending another $136,000 per year to maintain and run it. In return, they think the RFID tracking and surveillance scheme can bring them 1.7 million in extra tax dollars through better attendance records and Medicaid reimbursements for busing special education students, admits Northside assistant superintendent for budget and finance, Steve Bassett.
As long as a child is on school property during roll call, they can legally count her present, which translates into pocketing additional tax dollars. The rub is she could be on school property, but not in her seat actually learning, or she could be daydreaming; yet they still collect extra tax dollars just because she crossed an invisible perimeter.
The real pot of gold at the end of the tax rainbow is if they roll this out to all 112-district schools, and burden 100,000 students and their families with this tracking ploy.
How the Technology Works To Control the Population (Student or Otherwise)…
According to PC World, “Unlike passive chips that transmit data only when scanned by a reader, these chips have batteries and broadcast a constant signal so they can track students’ exact locations on school property, down to where they’re sitting – whether it’s at a desk, in a counselor’s office, or on the toilet.” [Experts have also brought up health concerns related to the radiation these IDs emit.]
“The program went live on October 1… students now must wear the new badges in a lanyard around their necks. Without the badge, a student can’t access the library and cafeteria or buy tickets to extracurricular activities. The school district has threatened to suspend, fine, or involuntarily transfer students who refuse to wear them.”
One student, Andrea Hernandez, who’s family opposes this scheme on religious grounds, says in a WND report, “About two weeks ago when I went to cast my vote for homecoming king and queen, I had a teacher tell me I would not be allowed to vote…. I had my old student ID card which they originally told us would be good for the entire four years we were in school. He said I needed the new ID with the chip in order to vote.”
AT&T is one major vendor for this technology, a sales brochure says: “… keep track of visitors around the campus and send automatic alerts if anyone should wander into an unauthorized area or overstay a scheduled departure time. RFID vendors refer to this last set of capabilities as ‘choke-point technology’…. This instantly alerts school authorities when a tagged asset or person passes through a gate, doorway, or other tightly defined area… schools can even monitor when and where each student gets on or off a school bus.”
This all sounds like, “We’re from the local school district and we’re here to help.” Controlling “choke points” is an accurate word to describe what the growing surveillance society is about.
What Apologists Say…
Here are the excuses that you may hear from defenders of these police state tactics:
With the extra money they can afford additional programs. Well, that’s the least they can do. Unfortunately, positive correlations between money spent on education and stellar student achievement does not exist. As a nation, we’ve spent more and more money on elementary and secondary education since the 1960s. And we spend the second most on education out of all countries studied by the OECD, but have some of the lowest achievement records internationally. Like most government deeds, its “investments” aren’t paying off.
Their humanity is not violated because treating children as assets is the same as treating employees as assets. Wrong. First, employer-employee relationships are voluntary, but school age education is compulsory. An educational draft of sorts. Second, the employer-employee work together to create a product for sale to the customer. Your child or grandchild is not the product; she is the customer (except in the eyes of government school bureaucrats). Education should be the product, not surveillance, or movement control, or better managed choke points.
Consider These Four Alternatives to an Overbearing Government School
Don’t give up hope! There are indeed options to consider if your family or friends are dealing with a government-run school that does not reflect your values:
1) Public Charter Schools – They often have much autonomy from the school district in which they reside. In most cases, the school administration and teaching staff are accountable to the parents and the community, not an aloof school board.
2) Private Schools – To generate revenue, private schools can’t be lazy and just have students step across an electric perimeter. They have to earn it the hard way, and deliver a quality service (education) to the families who hire them.
3) Move to a New Government School District – Perhaps the neighboring district is run by more enlightened people, or the community itself stands on the principles of liberty and isn’t pushed around easily.
4) Self-Directed Education/Homeschool – The Well-Trained Mind author, Susan Wise Bauer writes, “Home school parents believe that one-on-one attention and individualized study produce the best education possible; most also think that peer groups are NOT the best ‘socializing agent’ for their children. Home schooling is legal in all fifty states, and home schooled children consistently score very highly on standardized tests and other measures of academic performance. Home schooling is no longer a fringe movement; recent surveys suggest that over a million American children are currently taught at home, and the number grows every year. Although many home school families are two-parent households with one breadwinner and one stay-at-home parent, many other families arrange home schooling around dual careers, single-parent schedules, and other less traditional arrangements.”
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