By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Beginning this school year, Dubuque, Iowa public school students in middle and high school are to be required to wear heart rate monitors to determine their activity levels in gym class. The heart rate will apparently be part of the grade they receive.
In an almost unbelievable new standard of measuring grades, the public school district in Dubuque believes that their cardio-vascular knowledge is of such expertise, that they can fully translate it somehow into a measure of a student’s progress.
WLEC News reports that Dubuque Schools Athletic and Wellness Director Amy Hawkins says this will also make writing report cards easier for teachers.
“It will be a large portion of their grade, because we want to grade them on what they’re actually doing in our class,” Hawkins said. “It really takes the opinion out of things. You know it’s not really ‘I think your kid is doing this and this in class.’”
One has to wonder if the idle ones are not the faculty of these schools in that they do not seem to believe that watching the students’ participation as it is done everywhere else is effective. Or, is it simply easier to just port the heart rate monitors directly into the grading software.
The value of these numbers is also questionable in terms of academic objectivity. All things being equal a comparison between a student with great athletic ability is going to have a lower heart rate than sedentary student during exercise or resting; that is in simple terms.
Should a student then have to explain why his heart rate has been lower than before because her physician prescribed medication that had an effect of lowering the heart rate? A student having a condition such as Essential Tremor could be prescribed a Beta Blocker which will as a side effect to this treatment lower the heart rate. If heart rate is the sole measure then a lower grade is possible. This also brings up ethical questions as to whether students should have to relinquish their doctor / patient privacy to contest a low grade. Also, there is the possibility of faculty members making diagnostic opinions and requiring students to be seen by health care professionals at a possible cost to the students’ parents.
One has to wonder at what point a student has a right to be free from complete control by a public school. Is something as personal as a heartbeat open to monitoring by a government agency?
By Darren Smith
Source: WLEC News
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