It's getting easier to be a helicopter parent, according to an article in Sunday's Times about the rise of online data systems that allow parents to track their kids' school performance in real time.
Using programs such as ParentConnect and Edline, parents in some school districts can log on to see whether their kids cut class, aced a test, or failed to hand in a homework assignment that day. The programs, which are used in thousands of school districts nationwide, recalculate student averages with each new data point entered, making grade-tracking akin to, as one parent notes in the article, tracking the stock market. School officials say the programs build connections between home and school and allow busy parents to be involved in their kids' lives.
Many students seem to like the fact that the programs let them monitor their own progress and check their teachers' work. But they don't love letting their parents in on their daily lives and decisions. And for good reason -- parents in the article admit getting out of hand, checking obsessively and getting too involved in their kids' schoolwork.
I don't think any of these programs are being used in New York City schools, at least not to any sizable degree. But the DOE did say two years ago when it first unveiled the plan to require interim assessments multiple times a year that "parents will be able to log into a website that will have up-to-date information about their child and their school." I don't think this component of the plan has come to fruition -- but in a city where data, not parents and children, come first, perhaps it's on it's way.
If a computer program like this existed in your child's school, would you use it?