Eye Contact

It is truly amazing what some school districts will try, all under the auspices of “It’s for the children”. Much like a congressional hearing on the use of steroids in sports(or to change the name of the Washington Redskins because it is offensive to some native Americans, yeah, they are still at it) all in a weak attempt to divert attention from their failures with a ,”Look over here!”, school boards would rather parents not focus on their union benefits or their dreadful record in educating their kids. A go to the well sure fire winner is doing something, then slapping a “Kid safety” label on it, see, they do care:

The school year may be over for most American students, but parents must remain as vigilant as ever when it comes to protecting their children’s privacy. Look no further than the shocking, invasive conduct of the Polk County, Fla., educational district last week. It’s a surveillance-state sign of the times.

Two days before their Memorial Day weekend break, kids from at least three different public schools — Bethune Academy (K-5), Davenport School of the Arts (K-5, middle and high school), and Daniel Jenkins Academy (6-12) — were subjected to iris scans without their parents’ knowledge or consent. The scans are essentially optical fingerprints, which the school intended to collect to create a database of biometric information for school bus security.

WFLA-TV News Channel 8

Much of this is reminiscent of what the Batavia High School pulled in the other thread, try something really intrusive, but warn the parents first, those actually paying attention of course. But in this case, even the warning got botched and parents found out about it after the dirty dead was done.

“I’m waiting to see how this is going to pan out as far as my child’s personal information floating out there some where”. Here is a mom that believes the Reagan axiom “Trust, but verify”, good for her. Taking the word of the school, “Don’t worry, we have your child’s best interest at heart, no need to concern yourself with what we will do with this information” is what they would like you to do, but not very wise.

We have seen this tactic play out all to often. Try something truly out of box, alert parents of the new procedure (even though those alerts are woefully inadequate), then, if not too much of a stink is raised, it is full speed ahead (parents must like it since they didn’t tell us to stop, there is our out).

I thought that schools are all underfunded, isn’t that what teachers keep telling us? Where is this money coming from to implement this program? All this James Bond techno shit has got to be expensive.

All kids growing up are taught “Don’t talk to strangers”, the implications are obvious, adults are ready made authority figures and children do not have the wherewithal to process that line between friend or foe. Teachers have even more power over kids and not all power wielders use it responsibly. Youngsters in this age group will do pretty much anything the teacher tells them, whatever any school official tells them. That is why there is a continual fight between parents and the school boards wrt what is actually taught in class. If a teacher says it, it must be true. Keeping all school officials on a very short leash seems only prudent.

For the police, another authority figure, it would be much easier for them to do their job if they could do whatever they wanted. Search and seizure laws? Miranda? reasonable cause? maintaining a chain of custody? innocent until proven guilty? Pshaww, an impediment to getting the bad guys off the streets, right? Civil liberties (and parental privacy) trumps any inconveniences placed on them, if it makes their job harder, too bad, they must operate within the confines society has placed on them. Equal scrutiny must be placed on educators. No, they don’t carry a gun, but they do shape young skulls full of mush, a pretty powerful tool.

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  1. Thrill

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  2. Mississippi Yankee

    Wouldn’t a numerical tattoo on the forearm be cheaper and more practical?

    BTW, I’m only half joking here…

    I don’t really see a major problem with this. My employer uses biometrics for certain access control areas and information systems. You’re going to start seeing more and more of this in the future.

    Thrill if that’s the case you work with classified info/product. You are not in K-5 (in two cases) public school. Why, do you feel, does any part of this government “need” an optical finger print of children 6-18?

    A candid honest answer would be preferable to an ego feeding diatribe.

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  3. hist_ed

    I thought that schools are all underfunded, isn’t that what teachers keep telling us? Where is this money coming from to implement this program? All this James Bond techno shit has got to be expensive

    Amen brother, the shit we spend money on. My district pisses money away on crap you wouldn’t believe.

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  4. Thrill

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  5. Seattle Outcast

    This reminds me of an attempt to fingerprint all kids my school district when I was about 10 – the school “invited” police officers to talk to all the students one class at a time one day. Even then I recognized the “talk” as a pretext for a fishing expedition being performed by the police to gather as much hearsay dirt on parents as possible, as well as trying to get the kids to ID the “troublemakers” amongst them. And yeah, the cops were taking notes, right there in front of us.

    Then they got to the part about how “fingerprints were cool” and they rolled out all the gear and they dusted a few pieces of homework for prints, and it was all really fun, right up to the point where they started asking for “volunteers” to have their fingerprints put on record at the cop shop “in case something bad happened.” Parents were unaware of this until the kids went home and started talking, and the teachers were pushing for kids to “volunteer” – oddly enough only a few of the kids did it, and supposedly all of the fingerprint records were destroyed anyway a few days later after the parents raised a complete shitstorm over it.

    This is just business as usual for cops and teachers. The only thing that has changed is the technology.

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  6. Mississippi Yankee

    This is just business as usual for cops and teachers. The only thing that has changed is the technology.

    How very true. And now back-up copies are a lot less bulky.

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  7. salinger

    So this is bad – but collecting masses of data then selling it to business is okay?

    I’ve brought this up three time here and had it poo pooed – nothing to see here each time. What makes this new different – is it just the messenger? Do yo think business leaders are going to have any more scruples with the info than Government (that is if you still believe there is separation between government and business).

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  8. Section8

    I’ve brought this up three time here and had it poo pooed – nothing to see here each time.

    No what you brought up here was the illusion that schools invested 100 million into a database for private companies which they didn’t. The 100 mil was privately funded and the option for schools to use the database. As far as this being distributed. We’ll have to wait and see if the parents get an option for their kid to be in said database and to opt out of having the information distributed. If not that is indeed a problem, otherwise I think it’s not bad for a parent to be able to go online and see their kid’s progress daily.

    Also, the most alarming thing is you seem to believe that profit is so evil that it trumps police state (unless it’s you making the money). Private enterprise does not have a police force, army, or any other means to coerce those who don’t follow along or buy their product. I know this is irrelevant to you and that’s what scares the shit out of me. For people who call themselves “progressive” you all seem to have faith in the government should control all mentality because no “profit” is involved, even though they have the power to seize all your assets if no one is willing to bother keeping them in check. I thought that became uncool centuries ago.

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  9. Section8

    Salinger,

    Here is a more detailed link which I believe you posted earlier.

    Link

    Federal officials say the database project complies with privacy laws. Schools do not need parental consent to share student records with any “school official” who has a “legitimate educational interest,” according to the Department of Education. The department defines “school official” to include private companies hired by the school, so long as they use the data only for the purposes spelled out in their contracts.

    The database also gives school administrators full control over student files, so they could choose to share test scores with a vendor but withhold social security numbers or disability records.

    I did not see this part at the time focusing more on the monetary argument.. So yes, indeed this would be a problem for me. Parents should be notified and have to give consent whenever their child’s info might be shared. At least that’s my opinion anyhow. If the scores are sent as an average of all students in the school, that might not be so bad, but individual stuff is a problem to me.

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  10. salinger

    No what you brought up here was the illusion that schools invested 100 million into a database for private companies which they didn’t.

    Nope – never did. I was responding to someone here talking about how much money is spent on students. And I sad the amount didn’t matter as much as what it was spent on. This is true for both public and private money – (you thnk this database is being compiled out of the good of these guys hearts?) even so, this will segue nicely into your next misconstruing of what I’ve said:

    Also, the most alarming thing is you seem to believe that profit is so evil that it trumps police state

    Nope – never said that either – I said I was opposed to spending on programs that do not work – and I have listed examples of these many times. Most of which have been foisted upon school systems by the government through sweetheart deals with private sector companies run by folks with unfair access and influence to government.

    (unless it’s you making the money).

    Yep – I make a profit – as my own boss with nothing propping me up except my good work. Just got back from a week in Bali. (Second one this year) so I must be doing something right. Because as you note:

    Private enterprise does not have a police force, army, or any other means to coerce those who don’t follow along or buy their product.

    Unless of course you run a business called Reading First and your brother happens to be the POTUS and federal funding is tied to schools implementing your untried program. Then again you could also be simultaneously on the commission responsible for implementing NCLB and a board member of text book and testing companies that just happen to get the inside track on government contracts. I know I have linked to numerous reports that have bore this out – here’s another instance just in case you would like to look it over.

    For people who call themselves “progressive” you all seem to have faith in the government

    You really don’t listen well. I have said over and over that government is not the answer – neither are corporations. Schools should be run locally – teachers should be allowed to teach, and curriculum should be left up to educators, not bureaucrats or businessmen. The only involvement by government should be the collection of taxes to fund the schools.

    government should control all mentality

    I don’t know what this is supposed to mean.

    Oh and just to clarify my position – Obama isn’t doing a hell of a lot better with education than Bush.

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  11. Mississippi Yankee

    Sal, from your article

    The database was funded by the Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation and created by Wireless Generation, which is part of Joel Klein’s Amplify, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

    I’m beginning to see what’s stuck in your craw.

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  12. Mississippi Yankee

    How about using iris scans to confirm voter eligibility?

    These scans were used on kids K-5 in two cases and 6-12 in one case. How many eligible voter do you suppose fell in those groups

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  13. TxAg94

    I think it is telling of their state of mind when the only place I’ve seen this in widespread use, maybe outside private businesses and such, is to track potential Taliban in Afghanistan. Our troops use the same technology to gather data on people there.

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  14. Mississippi Yankee

    You don’t want to answer that question? I wonder why.

    Maybe I’m an alien… a real f*ckin’ alien. One that has escaped assimilation into the Borg Collective and one who finds your propensity toward that lifestyle ,especially in regard to children, creepy if not completely diabolical.
    [is that a ray gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?]

    Voter ID = good
    Optical scan = data mining, lists and step one to becoming a Cyber Man.

    /sorry to mix metaphor my SF/

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  15. Thrill

    Optical scan = data mining, lists and step one to becoming a Cyber Man.

    Damn. You have disarmed me with your shrewd application of the impossibly awesome pop culture references.

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  16. Mississippi Yankee

    Damn. You have disarmed me with your shrewd application of the impossibly awesome pop culture references.

    As long as you know, ray gun beats sonic screwdriver Every Time in the ‘real’ world.

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  17. Thrill

    And that is why the Doctor is such a great hero. The real non-violent heroes tend to get killed by the people with guns and they don’t regenerate. Well, Jesus I guess, but he didn’t have a screwdriver and one of his Companions turned out to be a dick.

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  18. CM

    An important distinction. When will people stop playing the ‘you hate private enterprise card’? It’s the equivalent of calling people racist for criticising Obama…..

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