"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tracking Students: Remember Parkway School District and the Polar Go Fit Bracelets?

We wrote a story last year about Parkway Schools wanting to use student tracking devices to measure sleep patterns and academic achievement via Polar Go Fit bracelets.

We highlighted a video from the school board where a district employee explains the tracking and the information to be gathered from the data obtained while the students wore them home.  The video has now been pulled from the internet and "made private by the owner".

This video is from a school board meeting.  Would someone from the Parkway School District contact the superintendent/board members and ask why a video from a public meeting has been pulled from the district website?  Aren't the owners of this video the taxpayers?

Here's the link showing the video has been pulled:


Here's the rough transcript I typed from the speaker's presentation:

Notes from the video:

Video of the School Board Meeting December 7, 2011
48:45 starts the discussion of the bracelet. Rough transcript of the conversation. Parenthesis denotes questions from the Board.
So kids can "self-monitor" moderate to vigorous exercise. Teachers took a class this summer and the teachers wore them through the fall.

Henry, Ross Elementary, Shenandoah Elementary Schools.

Kids see it as a cool gadget.

Goals. Health, fit, active kids ready to learn.
Kids were "jealous" so bracelets will be shared.

Used as much as they can during PE classes.

Ideally, let the kids wear the monitor an entire week 24/7 and look at sleep patterns as well as physical activity patterns. Interested in seeing the results of that and identity correlation between sleep patterns and academic achievement. **MEW comment: Is this the governmental "nudge" touted by Cass Sunstein and our Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro?**

Start with one grade level and then add grades one at a time.

In physical education for the longest time we've just been looking at fitness data.

We don't want to just assess fitness we want to assess behavioral change w/regard to physical activity patterns with our students and then we know we've done our job and this tool here will help us do that.

(How do you follow this?)

Each day there is a graph and they try to fill up the tube with moderate to strenuous activity. Keeps 7 days worth of data. Teachers download the information in a graph to the parents.

Idea: get them into the hands of the elementary students at the beginning of the new year.

(How do you plan to use the data and how will you run the data)
We are uploading data--body strength, muscle strength--into PARS. Correlate fitness levels to MAP scores, SAT score. Hope to do the same with physical activity.

Will do individually. Sure we will have school data, entire 5th grade, we'll have the ability to track individual students.

(Question about GPS, school cameras, tracking kids. Laughter)

No, they won't be able to track our students.
Ends at 58:14

Check out this link of the checks written in the district in February 2012: 


It shows $37,584.00 was paid in 2012 to Polar Electro for tracking bracelets that Parkway pulled after parental concern.   $209.80 was paid to the company in 2011.

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