Cutting Class, With the School’s Help

(Digital Vision)

Via the Globe & Mail: it used to be that when you wanted to cut class, you’d have to get a friend to sign you into class, or you’d have to beat your parents home to delete any incriminating messages on the answering machine. But those methods are bush league compared to a recent California initiative. United Press International reports that 50 high school students were caught colluding with a school administrator in an attendance scam:

By paying for an administrative password to attendance software called PowerSchool, Berkeley High School students were able to manipulate attendance data. The scheme allowed for students to skip classes without their parents being informed — until spring break began April 2 and administrators discovered the breach.

Four students were reportedly the leaders of the scheme and sold the software passwords to their peers. All students involved in the scam have been suspended.


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  1. Cody Gil says:

    It is ironic that they were suspended.

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    • Voice of Reason says:

      I’ve never understood why schools keep doing that. If anything, it should be in school suspension or detention.

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  2. josh says:

    I’ m presenting the following question with the knowledge that public school funding is partially determined by attendance.

    Does policing students’ attendance improve academic performance, given that there is already a natural conseqence, low grades, for poor attendance?

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    • Enter your name... says:

      As I understand it, California no longer bases funding on attendance. They used to, and schools are still required to keep the records that were used for this purposes, but it no longer actually affects their budget.

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      • Enter your name... says:

        To clarify: funding is now based on enrollment, not the number of days that each enrolled student actually shows up for class.

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      • Jason says:

        California still uses attendance to determine funding. From EdSource (

        “The total number of days of student attendance divided by the total number of days in the regular school year. A student attending every day would equal one ADA. ADA is not the same as enrollment, which is the number of students enrolled in each school and district. (Enrollment is determined by counting students on a given day in October.) ADA usually is lower than enrollment due to factors such as students moving, dropping out, or staying home due to illness. The state uses a school district’s ADA to determine its general purpose (revenue limit) and some other funding. “

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      • josh says:

        I probably shouldn’t have included the part about attendance and school funding. It seems to have shifted the focus away from the question I asked, if punishing inattendance at school, beyond the natural consequence of earning poor grades, is a good idea.

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    • Jason says:

      I think we have to punish poor attendance because grades are neither immediately nor directly linked to attendance. We are talking about adolescents, whose brains are not necessarily wired to think about long term consequences. Not all students will see a direct link between attendance and grades.

      The other issue is one of group responsibility. If you are supposed to be part of a class that is taught in sequence or requires group work, your absence can impact others. As a teacher, I had to deal with students who missed multiple days by providing make up work, helping them learn the subject at hand which may have depended on learning yesterday’s subject, etc. This took away from teaching other kids. The “punishment” was usually something like detention, i.e., time to make up the work they missed.

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  3. Nrojb says:

    Nine times…

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  4. Skip Montanaro says:

    I don’t see anywhere in the UPI article which suggests a “school administrator” was involved. If that was the case, I would home that person was fired.

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  5. Joe Dokes says:

    You’re summary of the article is inaccurate. The students used and administrative password in order to change the attendance. There was no mention of collusion by administrators in the deception. Chances are the administrative password was guessed or stolen by a student.

    If you have information that an administrator actually colluded with the students, that would indeed be an interesting story.


    Joe Dokes

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    • Jeff says:

      Yes, but when the administrator uses “12345” as the password, that’s essentially the same as colluding.

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  6. John Sullivan says:

    I’m pretty sharp, and the photo was a dead give-away that something was not right.

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  7. theonlybman says:

    Honestly, software isn’t going to do anything to improve the integrity of schools. We need to start actually making our schools worth our kids time!

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  8. Clifford says:

    Wow. What a waste of education. :( Funds for education in the states are getting pushed through the drain because of these administrators. It is their job to discipline and make the kids follow rules not the other way around. The government but mainly the school districts should be doing something about this. But then again it only reflects the average american’s need for money.

    Best, Cliff

    Price of the Western Digital My Book Live

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