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Back to June Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 269 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JUNE 2008

More Parents Track Children's Grades Online
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At tens of thousands of schools, parents can now keep daily tabs on their children's academic performance through online programs that track grades and attendance. Some applaud this trend as a way to get parents more involved in their children's education, while others say it encourages "helicopter parenting" and an inappropriate emphasis on grades instead of on learning and effort.

The computer programs, with names such as ParentConnect, Edline, and PowerSchool, have opened up new lines of communication between parents and teachers. Parents who frequently check in online often aren't surprised by sudden downturns in students' schoolwork, and they can often help their children catch back up or improve their work before it's too late. At least one school canceled parent-teacher conferences after a survey indicated parents were learning enough about their middle school children through PowerSchool and follow-up emails with teachers.

The programs also allow remote access for divorced parents or those called to other places. Omaha mom and Army staff sergeant India Harris used online grade tracking to learn of her son's troubles in math class while she was in Iraq. She was able to get him extra help that got him back on track.

One mom summarized the downside of online grades for the New York Times. "It can be hard to resist. It speaks to all your neuroses as a parent, all the need to control, that pressure to make sure everything is perfect. How are these kids going to learn to be responsible adults?"

Teenagers whose parents push them to perform better in school are not among PowerSchool's biggest fans, either. "Before, the screaming and disappointment only had to be endured four times a year. Now it can happen every night," wrote one unfortunate high schooler. (New York Times, 5-4-08)


 
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