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San Antonio school district to trial student RFID attendance system

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According to the San Antonio Express-News, a local school district has plans to embed RFID tags in 6,290 students' ID cards by next fall to trial the attendance-tracking technology.

RFID NFC Credit Card
RFID NFC Credit Card

The idea of tracking students using RFID tags is hardly a new concept — such a program was attempted in a California elementary school in 2005 and we've seen others pulled off in Japan — but parents, children, school boards, and governments have yet to fully embrace the technology. According to the San Antonio Express-News, that hasn't stopped a local school district, which has plans to embed RFID tags in 6,290 student ID cards by next fall to trial the technology. Like other programs, tracking is to be used to know who is — and isn't — at school. The primary catalyst for the San Antonio program is as a revenue source, however: while it's estimated that it will cost $525,065 to get the system up and running and $136,005 per year thereafter, the school district argues that it would come out on top by implementing an RFID program. If the program managed to increase reported attendance by encouraging children to go to school or because of more accurate head-counts, the district would receive more government funding — reportedly up to $1.7 million more. It's not clear how chip readers will be set up throughout the first two pilot schools, but the system will be able to tell when kids are on school buses or elsewhere on campus. Of course, none of that will stop children from handing off their ID cards to their friends to make it appear that they're in school.