The too-too-ordinary minds who run public high schools continue to imagine that tech can force kids to school and force them to learn in the absence of large cadres of engaging teachers, curricula, and personal, small-scale management models. Schools have tried all sorts of foolish, no-to-low-to-hi-tech methods to haul
The Uninterested to the day-in-and-out
Uninteresting custody of largely
Hapless Truant Officers, seen as sad, sad jokes even in so-sincere, serene-to-the-point-of-comatose Norman Rockwell picket-fenced hamlets eventually surrendered to equally hilarious School Attendance Officers to universally-loathed Assistant Principals for Attendance, to Vice-Principals' Secretaries' Daily Attendance Phone Calls, to now fairly universal RoboCalls (which get more parental interest for their comic value than any Assistant Principal ever did), to the highest of hi-tech nonsense now being fiddled with in ... Brazil?
As the Associated Press reports,
Twenty-thousand students in 25 of Vitoria da Conquista's schools 213 public schools started using T-shirts with [computer] chips this week. By 2013 all of the city's 43,000...students will be using them. The chips send a text message to the cellphones of parents when their children enter the school or alert the parents if their
children haven't arrived twenty minutes into the school day. The Brazilian city has put close to three quarters of a million dollars into its Tees-'N-Chips project.
Now, should this be, finally, at long last, The Answer, I'll do a dance and applaud the nation. I'm skeptical, though, of Tech-Solutions to the Terminally Uninteresting. It's tougher to hire and to retain and to pay well the best possible human magnets for young minds and souls and even tougher to cashier the Uninterested Adults, the parasites who plague our children in schools -- and, sure, in too many homes, as well -- the world over. Yet those of us serious about our kids and what they learn and learn how to do have know that you do not overturn the non-attendance paradigm with hi-tech T-Shirts.
You have to know that U.S. school boards will, in time, and in lieu of and yet announced as, thoughtful reform, ape this inanity.