Washington election junkies surely aren't the only ones going through withdrawal as the political season comes to a close, but at least parents in the D.C. area have an outlet for their obsessive-compulsive nature. That's because many school systems in the area now allow parents to track their children's every scholastic move via a variety of web-based grade books. The online tools include homework assignments, YouTube videos, and, of course, grades. Some parents report logging on as often as once a day. The shift is part of a country-wide lurch towards technology. And parents are impressed; mom Jeanette Backus explains: "I really would hate to be a student nowadays, there's just too much information for the parents. But I love it, of course." And so do we. This sort of transparency not only allows parents to participate in their children's education but also frees up teacher time typically spent fielding parent calls and complaints. Students report that open grade books have made them more accountable to mom and dad--and themselves. This is good news. The next step? Shoring up data privacy and enticing even more parents to take advantage of their newfound omniscience. Seems technology can cut costs and headaches. With budgets tight and costs skyrocketing, we're all for taking a byte out of these apples and more.

"Online Grading Systems Mean No More Changing D's to B's," by Daniel de Vise, Washington Post, November 3, 2008

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