I’ll admit it; I’m a huge geek and technology user. But I’m also a Baby Boomer (a LATE Baby Boomer, thank you) and I’m beginning to feel like a real geezer when I see technology replace the things I’m used to.
The latest victim of technology? Report cards. My kids’ school district isn’t going to issue paper report cards this school year. Parents will have to log on to a super secret website when the grades are ready, so they can see the report cards online. I’m told the school district will save $42,000 by eliminating paper report cards. Now, I’m all for saving money, but I’m not sure I’m ready to give up the ritual of “Report Card Day”.
Back when I was a student, and even when my kids started school, teachers sent report cards home in sealed envelopes. Those large brown envelopes held the coveted grades - the verdict on whether I could go to the local ice cream shop for a “Straight A Sundae.” The sundae was something they gave out for the smart kids, who should have known that ice cream would someday put us on cholesterol medicine. In my day, parents signed the report cards and they were brought back to school for use later in the year.
For my kids, report card day has determined their fate on the Honor Roll list and what college they’ll get into (which is something we’ve been drilling into them since the third grade). It also means picking out which celebratory food we’ll splurge on if they do well. Then, a few years ago, grades started coming home in the mail and the school district just assumed that parents would get to them before the kids - which wasn’t always the case. With three kids, it was easy to see if one of them had hijacked the mail to conceal bad grades, and that only happened once.
But those days are gone. My wife and I have a username and password to get the grades, and we’ll get an email when they’re ready to view. No trembling hands turning over the envelope from the teacher, no checking the mail for the grades, no unveiling the verdict. New technology rules, and report cards will now be online.
Somewhere in my basement is a box with some really scary school pictures and a stack of cardboard report cards with grades and moderately sincere comments from my teachers. My kids will still have the scary school pictures, but a thumb drive with their grades is nowhere near as romantic as those dog-eared report cards.