| At the Corner of Technology and Culture

What To Make of This?

The New York Times’ “Sunday Styles” page on the 4th featured this story about software that allows parents to check their children’s attendance records and test scores on a daily basis.

According to the article,

“With names like Edline, ParentConnect, Pinnacle Internet Viewer and PowerSchool, the software is used by thousands of schools, kindergarten through 12th grade. PowerSchool alone is used by 10,100 schools in 49 states.”

“Although a few programs have been available for a decade, schools have been using them more in recent years as federal reporting requirements have expanded and home computers have become more common. Citing studies showing that parental involvement can have a positive effect on a child’s academic performance, educators praise the programs’ capacity to engage parents.”

It’s an interesting–if creepy–example of the reach of technocracy. The technology has existed for a long time, but it’s the intersection of the technology with the relentless reporting of ‘objective’ standards that makes it really take off. The creation of lists, itemized data, and so on, leads to the constant monitoring of the data. The technical ability to amass and monitor all that data in turn leads to the increasing requirement to input it.

It’s a sort of compulsive, internal logic of the technology.

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