Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Dare I even say the words...

I’ve been duly impressed with the efforts by our worried government to keep track of our next generation of citizens, the young adults. And I'm not even close to being a libertarian.

The newest is the plan to track kids in all colleges and universities in one database.

Here's the first reason why: accountability. What, is that a catch-all reason for everything else except applying to anything BushCo does?
The bid arises from efforts in Congress and elsewhere to extend the growing emphasis on school accountability in elementary and high schools to postsecondary education. Supporters say that government oversight of individual student data will make it easier for taxpayers and policy makers to judge the quality of colleges and universities through more reliable statistics on graduation, transfers and retention.

The change would also allow federal officials to track individual students as they journey through the higher education system. In recent years, increasing numbers of students have been attending more than one university, dropping out or taking longer than the traditional four years to graduate. Current reporting practices cannot capture such trends; a mobile student is recorded as a new student at each institution.
Doesn't make any sense since I'm not sure what are 'more reliable statistics on graduation, transfers, and retention' other than the obvious numbers. And the second point of tracking is just as bogus as well, along the lines of 'so what?'.

Besides, I suspect many of these kids haven't been tracked before in any NCLB way because they've been in private school. Why track students who haven’t been tracked before? Unless that's the point.

We’ve already got into place the already sweeping plan to track all high schoolers in public schools, thanks to a quietly inserted provision in NCLB. The first excuse I remember being given was thus: it was to help the poor military recruiters get parity on high school campuses with the college recruiters. Poor babies. They just weren't cutting it so they needed extra help. Yeah, right.

Because, you see, this whole information gathering thing has morphed into a matching database for the Selective Service, you know the agency responsible for the draft. Now they say they want to be doubly sure all eligible young men have registered, just in case we do get a draft. Yowser.

It comes to mind that one subset of young adults has slipped by these guys: the kids who don’t go to college.

Oops, spoke too soon. Military recruiters seem to be getting quite sophisticated in how they target the highschoolers in poor areas.

So we've got the beginnings of a system to track all our kids. Now all the feds have to do is to combine the databases into one.

What's next, national identity cards? Now that we lost social security, we’ve got to have something to replace those useless cards in our wallets. I haven’t heard of any developments yet but I hear England sure has got something cooking there. Of course, their press manages to do a better job of informing their citizens than our press. So who knows, we may not know about anything about it until it's too late.