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Privacy Advocates Demand Ban on Facial Recognition in Schools in Response to Damning Study on the Technology

August 11, 2020 Leave a comment

I have long been concerned with the use of surveillance videocameras in schools for fear that they would ultimately be linked with emerging facial recognition technology to create an even more oppressive environment in our public schools. According to this article by Andrea Germanos from Common Dreams that day has just arrived. And, as researchers at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP) write in their recent report “Cameras in the Classroom” indicates, it is as bad as I feared:

“Schools have also begun to use [FR] to track students and visitors for a range of uses, from automating attendance to school security,” the researchers wrote, though they noted that the technology’s use in schools is “not yet widespread.”

But, the authors added, there’s good reason to stop its spread:

[O]ur analysis reveals that FR will likely have five types of implications: exacerbating racism, normalizing surveillance and eroding privacy, narrowing the definition of the “acceptable” student, commodifying data, and institutionalizing inaccuracy. Because FR is automated, it will extend these effects to more students than any manual system could.

FR “is likely to mimic the impacts of school resource officers (SROs), stop-and-frisk policies, and airport security,” all of which “purport to be objective and neutral systems, but in practice they reflect the structural and systemic biases of the societies around them,” the study says.

And most white Americans support “…school resource officers (SROs), stop-and-frisk policies, and airport security” because they know that SROs won’t profile their children, their children will not be subjected to stop-and-frisk policies, and their children will never be profiled by TSA at airport security. This is yet another example of how white privilege is an ocean white parents and children swim in without realizing that they are receiving a benefit. The use of FR will add yet another layer of privilege in the name of safety. As the “Cameras in the Classroom” report note:

“All of these practices have had racist outcomes due to the users of the systems disproportionately targeting people of color,” the researchers wrote.

We have more than enough “normalization of surveillance” to ensure our safety. Adding FR will further erode the liberty we have sacrificed to algorithms. FR should not be used in schools. Period.

Source: Privacy Advocates Demand Ban on Facial Recognition in Schools in Response to Damning Study on the Technology

Categories: Uncategorized

At LEAST 97,000 Children Tested Positive for COVID in the last 2 Weeks of July. My Question Remains? Why Even Consider Opening

August 10, 2020 Leave a comment

Here’s the headline from the NYTimes latest coronavirus story:

Positive in Last 2 Weeks of July

I can hear the response now from the White House: “Well of COURSE they fond lots of positives! They did lots of tests and when you do lots of tests you find lots of positives!”

Meanwhile, school districts need to figure out whether to open, where the $$$ will come from to do so, and whether anyone will show up if they do. Parents, in the meantime, are in limbo waiting to see IF schools will open and, if they do, whether to send their children and, if they don’t, how to work from home or go to work if their children are not in school. Hobson’s choices all the way around.

My question from a week or so ago remains: “Why Even Consider Reopening?”

And that question should have even more traction now that it is clear that additional federal funding is highly unlikely…. and leads to another question: “Why spend any more money or any more time making reopening plans that require MORE spending when those plans may go out the window if COVID continues to spread in your school district?”

 

President’s Preposterous Pandemic Plan Mandates States to Pay, Prays for Hurricanes to Stay Away

August 10, 2020 Leave a comment

The President’s “plan” for getting the economy on track is, according to scholars, probably illegal and according to economists far too little. Politically, it can only work if ALL States are willing to come up with billions of dollars and if the hurricanes miraculously avoid the southern states that provide the basis for the President’s support. For public education, the plan is a disaster.

The problem for public schools, which most readers have already figured out, is that in order to provide the $400/week of supplemental assistance for the balance of the year for those individuals who cannot find work the States must find $100/week from their coffers and the FEMA funds used for hurricane relief have to be devoted to provide the $300/week balance unemployment. The economic advisors to the President say the states should be able to come up with money fairly easily because, for the most part, they haven’t spend all of the money they were given in the first round of stimulus funding. To which SOME Governor other than NYS’s Cuomo needs to say: “Of course we haven’t spent that money! We budgeted it so that we could make it to the end of the year and hoped to use it to HELP us backfill the revenues we are losing and the additional money we will need to spend on schools to keep them afloat!”

The States and local governments need money. Period. The GOP and President want to take it away. End of Report.

The states lost revenue to the pandemic, they’ve incurred added costs because of the pandemic, and they can only operate with a balanced budget. These revenue losses were not their fault, they were completely unforeseen. And the State’s “failure” to spend the all the money provided thus far is evidence of sound fiscal planning and forward thinking. But we know from their track record that neither the GOP nor the President want the State and local governments to have the funds they need. Quite the opposite: the GOP’s 2017 tax cut included a provision that effectively penalizes states for offering decent wages and benefits to their employees, services to their voters, and a stronger safety net to those in need than the federal government offers.  And now, as States face daunting deficits because of the revenues lost to the pandemic, face increased costs to open schools due to the pandemic, and increased costs to operate all of their administrative offices due to the pandemic, the federal government, the only level of government that can generate funds, the President is mandating that they pay millions to the Federal government to augment a monthly payment that is 33% less than what is currently offered.

Here’s the question for the GOP and the President: what happens when the STATES and local school districts start laying of personnel to balance the budgets raided by the President? Who will pay THAT bill?