What are your opinions about electronic chips for students?What are your opinions on the new electronic RFID tracking chips assigned now to students in two San Antonio, Texas, schools? The school...

What are your opinions about electronic chips for students?

What are your opinions on the new electronic RFID tracking chips assigned now to students in two San Antonio, Texas, schools? The school district's argument is that tracking students is important for receiving full daily funding as some "absent" students may be elsewhere in the buildings for legitimate purposes. Some parents and the American Civil Liberties Union object. Thoughts?

One of the many links to the story:


Expert Answers
jovip18 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think when you use the term “bottom line” it implies that the school district is making money or attempting to turn a profit.  This is obviously not the case.  It is important to remember that when a school district is attempting to ensure that they receive maximum funding, they are doing it so that they can offer maximum services to their student body.


Now yes, the means to the end in this case are a bit alarming, but there is no nefarious motivation behind the idea.  The superintendent doesn’t receive a performance bonus for maintaining a certain level of attendance.  One of the consequences of a pragmatic approach to management, whether in the private sector or in education, is that sometimes you end up with some really whacky ideas.


Hopefully, the district will realize this particular idea has some fundamental flaws and attempt to modify the program accordingly.  However, if they just keep trying out new ideas, they should eventually land on something that is acceptable to all parties involved.  Something which may be applicable and repeatable in other districts also struggling to accurately track student attendance.         

belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is one of those Big Brother issues that I actually don't have a problem with. I agree with #4; the fact that it is being considered speaks more to the failure of the system rather than a desire for more control over the citizenry; however, I also agree with #8 that these sorts of things are barely being debated before being pushed through.

The important thing here is that students are not adults; they are children with children's minds and so are not as responsible and smart as adults should be. That is why they are in school to begin with. Today, it is easier than ever to avoid the personal responsibility of schooling and never get a basic education; this program will make it easier to hold students accountable for participating in their own education. I would much rather that we track our students for their own good than we start tracking adults by force because nobody got an education and the system switched to 1984 without anyone noticing.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When it comes to minors, the Constitution does not always apply.  It is a murky area.  Children have some rights, but not the same ones as adults.  At least the chips are not being installed into children.  They will be implanted on IDs.  I can actually see some benefits.  If a child goes missing, they could track him or her with the ID badge.

The Student ID will provide access to the library and cafeteria, serve as a photo ID, and allow for the purchase of tickets to schools’ extracurricular activities. Other uses will be rolled out during the pilot program. (Constitution school article, see third link)

I find it a little disturbing that schools are finding it so hard to track where students are for attendance purposes though.  Schools should be able to create rules that have the same effect, such as: check in when you come to school, even if you are not in class!  How hard is that?

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that if the government-funded programs that are dedicated to public schools are being misused then there is a social need to keep tabs on where the money, services, and resources are going. Hence, I definitely agree on keeping tabs on attendance, use of libraries, consumption of government-funded meals, and other things. Now, we have to make sure that we limit the government. Keep tracking at that; merely for seeing if the money is being well-spent. What I am trying to say is, watch out for using these tracking devices to watch things that are personal, or based on free choice. That is the part that scares me a bit. Like post number 1 says, it is scary to think that someone has lost control of these numbers in the first place. Where has everything been going, then?

Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to keep things easy. I agree with the plan and I hope that it is used responsibly.


Michael Ugulini eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's all about money in this cash-strapped 21st Century. With limited, capped, or declining budgets, schools and other entities must be creative when it comes to receiving funding. Looking at that aspect, I have no problem with the new electronic Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking chips assigned to students in two San Antonio, Texas schools.

From a privacy standpoint, I can see people being concerned with monitoring by authorities. Many believe that their freedom and privacy is being eroded each year, with new policies and laws put in place, in organizations and society respectively. However, if students are doing nothing wrong in the school, they shouldn't be overly concerned that those in authority want to know their whereabouts on the property and in facilities, as their financial health as an educational institution depends on it.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don’t really have a problem with this.  Sure, maybe schools should be able to have rules about what kids should do in terms of checking in.  But I would hate to have the funding for my school by dependent on teens (or pre-teens in middle school) always doing what they are supposed to do.  With middle schoolers in particular, we really want to know where they are all the time.  We monitor it as best we can so it’s not as if we’re really worried about their right to privacy.  Therefore, having some new device that can monitor the kids more effectively seems like a good thing.  I know I’d like it if the school could know where my middle school child is at every point in the day.

One last thought – it would be a great help if a real emergency ever happened.  No more worrying if any kids are still in the building during a fire or other emergency.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with posts #4 and #6. Imagine if someone like Ms. Pelosi--just pass the Health care bill and read it later person--was in charge of this placement of computer chips in student IDs: "Oh, I'll just load these, then you can figure out later what all is in them."

All sarcasm aside, where are we going here? Is there not enough government intrusion that now we want our children subjected to it?  Why not

  1. Set/Resurrect the standards.
  2. Follow these standards regardless of political or other reasons.
  3. Identify the underlying problems.

The San Antonio system needs to adhere to standards, probably and return to good, common sense.  Or is having border conflicts? What is the real problem here? 

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many issues involved in this subject. One issue concerns the school district's concern for full funding. Obviously, schools need funds to pay for supplies and to cover payroll. However, importantly, schools are not businesses. 

The fact that a school district is interested in taking such drastic (and controversial) steps to protect the bottom line indicates a real problem. This problem is not simply a funding problem, but a problem with the paradigm within which our education considerations are discussed. 

Education requires money, yes. But schools should not be "about" money and should be neither required nor, in my opinion, willing to go so far to get it. 

Money, in the end, can become a distraction from more important issues. 

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I must say that I am alarmed. I understand the state of fear many schools have been placed in because of lack of funding, but an electronic chip for students in order to track attendance? This, to me, is ridiculous. No school should be having problems finding students. Attendance is normally taken at the beginning of every hour. If a student is marked absent, and was present prior to that hour, someone should be looking for them. One question I have: if the student is on school grounds, is that not considered in attendance? How would money from the state be taken away of the student was on school grounds? Guess I am missing the point.

Regardless, no student should be chipped because of school funding.