RFID For Students?

Hello loyal fans. As I was perusing the online news today I came across an interesting article about tracking students with RFID chips. Frankly, I have to agree with both the leaders of “Leave Them Kids Alone” the security expert in the article: this is a totally ludicrous idea. And, I do not agree simply because of the glorious Pink Floyd reference…although, all in all, it is all just another brick in the wall. The wall, of course, being “the man” taking away our personal freedoms. Sure, kids can often be wacky weirdos doing some incredibly stupid things…but it is, at the same time, an incredible disservice to fail to allow them the opportunity to learn from these bad decisions. This is really one of my pet peeves about the way children are raised today. Today’s children are ridiculously over monitored. I think this began towards the end of my childhood and has progressed in an incredibly rapid fashion ever since. The aspects of this “big brother” style of parenting can be divided into three distinct areas: health, recreation, and education.


The “modern” parent strives to protect his/her child from the scary bad infections and diseases which, according to television, are just waiting to infect and kill millions of babies every year. Simply take a walk down the aisle of cleaning products at the local Target and you will find dozens of different products, all promising to kill 99.9% of bacteria present on any given surface. Parents have been led to believe that this will, in fact, save their children. In effect, all it does is leave them unprepared to enter the real world. Eating dirt, licking the floor, drinking out of the toilet, rolling around in the mud, sharing ice cream with the dog…all of these things help develop immunities. Killing off any possibly harmful organisms living in/around the home only leave the child open to future infection by significantly more insidious organisms.


My concern here is, to a degree, less centered around the type of recreation to which children are exposed as it is directed at the structure superficially imposed thereon. Certainly, I believe too many kids spend too much time in front of the television and video games. That point is not worth discussing. What is worth discussing is the over scheduled nature of todays’ kids recreational activities. It seems that every moment is scripted: a play date here, 13 minutes of coloring there, soccer practice then, followed by 23 minutes of scripted Lego time. I yearn for the days when parents said “go outside and play” and left it at that. I do not see how parents really have the time in the day to so carefully manage their kids play, but beyond that I think it is so restricting that it creates a bunch of rigid automatons who have lost all their ability to think creatively.


Education may, in fact, be the realm of existence in which this “super-parenting” has its most powerful, and perhaps, most overbearing impact. I consider myself lucky to not have to deal with the vast majority of the Mommy-Nazis at the high school level. I could not imagine being an elementary school teacher dealing with the daily grind of over involved parents. Let me say that I am all for parent involvement, but the line of appropriate involvement seems to be crossed by today’s parents increasingly regularly. This problem is two-fold: 1) parents who refuse to acknowledge the necessity of their students’ personal accountability and 2) the over abundance of college prep activities. Both issues are the result of parents’ desire for their children to succeed. Issue one leads to parents blaming teachers for their kids’ failure to do homework, study for tests, and positively contribute to class. I can say, with confidence, that my parents would never, and I mean never, have called a teacher and blamed them for my failing grade, no matter how “bad” I claimed a teacher to be (granted, I never had this issue). Rather, I would have been held fully accountable. The second issue is evidenced by the glut of spending thrown at SAT prep classes and tutors for bright kids. Too many AP/Honors caliber students spend hours with tutors and in these classes hoping to boost their SAT scores a few points. These activities do little more than burn out the students. Sure, little Jimmy might end up at Cal, Stanford, or insert school of choice…but the student will also be totally burnt out on school and learning. What is the point? Ultimately, the difference between a degree from Cal and a degree from Wichita State is nonexistent. A degree is a degree. Beyond that, if a student has (in my opinion at least) artificially gained admission to a more rigorous university through these prep classes and tutors, their chance of success at that level must be diminished. The student will be thrust into an environment where that support is suddenly absent and will suffer greatly as a result. I can think of at least a half dozen people I met at UCLA who had that exact same experience.

So…to all you parents and future parents out there, I implore you:


Let them explore and experience the world.  Step in when necessary, but give them enough free reign to develop and thrive on their own as well!

Quote of the Day:

“I believe the children are our future…let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be” – Dewey Finn (Jack Black), School of Rock quoting “Greatest Love Of All” by George Benson performed by Whitney Houston

Published in: on November 6, 2007 at 9:03 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think you are missing an impotant part: trust. I always thought my mother didn’t care about me because she didn’t give me many rules to live by, or maybe she did not care about my well-being at all. Then recently, I compared my mother to my best friends parents, who are well, in a word Catholic! Now my friends is not practicing abstinence but safe sex. Her mother flipped when she saw contraceptives in her bathroom. You see my mother would never do this, she’d point in out and make a joke. Then I thought would I want my mom to be my worst enemy or my best friend, someone who I can talk to. Sorry that was uber long.. 🙂

  2. I agree with everything you’re saying here, so would my parents. But not so much on the science v. religion post. 🙂

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