Roy Casagranda speaks to the historic realities that have lead to the current situation in Syria and explains the larger political environment created by the world's largest players. To lean more visit: http://theaustinschool.com Video produced by Jeff Zavala Videography / Editing by Grace Alfar
RFID in ID cards makes people carrying them trackable
Districts planning to use RFID should brace themselves for a parent backlash, protests, and lawsuits.
Nashua, New Hampshire (PRWEB) August 21, 2012
A coalition of privacy and civil liberties organizations has issued a Position Paper on the Use of RFID in Schools. In it they call for a moratorium on the use of the controversial chip-based tracking technology.
This comes just as San Antonio's Northside Independent School district is preparing to trial RFID at two campuses this month. Jay High School and Jones Middle School say they plan to require students to participate in the new tracking system in order to boost revenues lost due to absences.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) uses tiny microchips to track items from a distance. These RFID microchips have earned the nickname "spychips" because each contains a unique identification number, like a Social Security number for things. These identification and tracking numbers can be read silently and invisibly by radio waves, right through walls, clothing, purses, backpacks and wallets.
San Antonio's Northside Independent School District plans to incorporate RFID tags into mandatory student ID cards. One school district in Brazil has incorporated the tracking tags into uniforms. In both cases, the goal is to keep students, teachers and staff under constant surveillance.
"RFID is used to track factory inventory and monitor farm animals," said Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Director of Consumers against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) and co-author of the book Spychips. "Schools, of all places, should be teaching children how to participate in a free democratic society, not conditioning them to be tracked like cattle. Districts planning to use RFID should brace themselves for a parent backlash, protests, and lawsuits."
Paper issuers include CASPIAN, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. Other organizations and notable experts have joined as endorsers and individual signatories, including The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and IEEE RFID expert Katina Michael of the University of Wollongong. More signers are coming forward daily.
A copy of the Position Paper on the Use of RFID in Schools is available online here.
On Saturday March 24, 2012 the Save Texas Schools March and Rally was held at the Texas capitol. Students, parents, teachers and community leaders attended to show their support of Texas public education. Information about education issues and ways to defend public schools can be found at http://savetxschools.org/.
Well over 11,000 parents, teachers, educators and community leaders from over 300 independent school districts converged at the state capital in Austin on Saturday, March 12.
“Today, Texans have come together in great numbers and have sent a very strong, clear message to our elected officials that we must do better by the children of our state by funding education to the maximum extent possible,” says Allen Weeks of Save Texas Schools, the grassroots coalition organizing the rally, and director of Austin Voices for Education and Youth.
“And it’s not over with this rally. We’re going to continue our fight to keep Texas smart.”
After a drum line led blocks of rally-goers on a march starting from Waterloo Park to the Capital grounds, a fantastic line-up of speakers and performers made heartfelt pleas for education.
“We live in the 21st century. We have a global economy,” said Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, in his podium address. “Here in Texas I wonder how long the fortune 500 companies will stick around if we can’t produce the students who can compete,”
Superintendent John-Kuhn of Perrin-Whitt, CISD, rollicked the crowds with his impassioned speech, saying: “Public school teachers, you are the saviors of this society. You are the first responders standing in this rubble while they sit in their offices and scribble judgmentally on their clipboards. You are heroes and what you do isn’t worth $27 billion; it is priceless.”
In a unified voice, rally participants urged legislators to take three critical steps to help close state budget gaps that are threatening education:
Use the $9.3 billion Texas “Rainy Day” Fund to help rescue schools from the current crisis. Sign the paperwork for $830 million in federal aid for teachers. Fix school funding laws to be fair to all districts and our growing student population.
After the rally, Save Texas Schools offered a training to those who plan to continue to work for public education across the state. Topics covered included how to keep the grassroots effort growing, how the legislative process works, and how education is funded in Texas.
I drove from Houston to join family in Austin, many of whom work for schools to attend the demonstration to save texas schools. We rode a bus from north of the university towards the capitol. As we got close the the street ahead of us was full of marchers. About half of the people on the bus got off and joined the march, which lead into the capitol building.
It was the largest demonstration I have seen at the capitol in more than half a dozen years. There was a rally with speakers on the steps of the building that was hard to hear from the back of the crowd. I saw folks from all corners of the state, and hope this demonstration may have an impact in stopping the cuts to education that Perry and the republican legislature seems bent on enacting.