"[T]he child should be taught to consider his instructor...superior to the parent in point of authority.... The vulgar impression that parents have a legal right to dictate to teachers is entirely erroneous.... Parents have no remedy as against the teacher." - John Swett, Superintendent of California Public School System (1860s)

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'Big Brother' watches Sacramento Valley students

A warning for thousands of students in the Sacramento Valley: If you took a test or failed to turn in homework today, your parents may already have that information.

Students at Natomas Middle School in Sacramento are well aware that an Internet Web site known as Power School is helping parents keep tabs on them.

Sixth grader Orlando Hyppolite said his parents log in to the site to see his grades, progress reports, upcoming dates for projects, homework assignments and exams.

"It's good but sometimes it gets a little annoying and weird," Hyppolite said. "Having somebody that's always around and knowing what you're doing is a little weird."

Those somebodies are parents who can check out what their child is doing 24 hours a day.

"I just love it because parents can find out immediately," said history teacher James Weaver. "If they know you have a test coming up, they can ask if you're studying. It also shows scores from past weeks. And no more saying I don't have any homework when you really do."

Principal Carla Najera-Kunsemiller said the site allows parents to catch problems earlier.

"All of our parents are busy. They can access the site from work or while they're on break," she said. "It really does help with communication and information. Instead of waiting months for a report card or parent-teacher conference, parents can get their child the help they need before it's too late."

School administrators pointed out that grandparents, aunts, uncles and yes, even big brother, can get a password to log in.

"Because they're watching, I try to do better," Hyppolite admitted. "It reflects on my parents and they can see I'm doing good."

Najera-Kunsemiller said numbers show 95 percent of parents who have access to the Power School Web site make use of it.
There are other software programs that track students such as Zangle and School Loop. Teachers in the San Juan Unified School District and the Sacramento City Unified School District are using those programs.


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Posted in: News by SoulRiser on March 26, 2010 @ 5:56 PM

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