Sarah Brodsky
It's striking how many education reforms are gaining ground in the other cities while being completely ignored in Missouri. One such experiment is paying kids to do well on tests. (Education Next reports that it works.) This past week the L.A. Times published a story about another innovation: technologies that allow parents to track their children's activities at school. Here are a few possible uses:
Increasingly common Web programs let parents track lunch-money spending, schoolwork habits and tardiness.

"There's this black box -- a child goes away and comes home, what happened during this time?" said Shelley Pasnik, director of the nonprofit Center for Children and Technology in New York. "Now, new information and communications technology allows for the mystery of what transpires on any given day to unravel."

Public schools in Los Angeles will give parents access to school lunch data starting in 2009.

This technology should a boon for districts that want parental involvement. Parents will be able to stay up to date, and all the "have your parents sign and bring back to school" sheets of paper will get to stay in a forest somewhere. As for the concern that this will put too much pressure on kids, asking them to spend their lunch money on lunch and then show up for class doesn't sound like an exorbitantly high expectation. If you want to see kids who are really under pressure, watch the Chinese and Indian kids in 2 Million Minutes.

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Sarah Brodsky

Sarah Brodsky