The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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February 23, 2024

MCPS cuts budget support for GoGuardian for 2024-2025 school year

Longstanding privacy concerns are a reason some students believe the cut is a positive change.
@goguardian
Longstanding privacy concerns are a reason some students believe the cut is a positive change.

On Jan. 23, the MCPS Board of Education (BOE) announced that the MCPS budget will no longer support GoGuardian for the 2024-2025 school year due to the program’s lack of practical use in the classroom.

GoGuardian is a Chromebook extension that tracks students’ online activity with the intention of keeping them on task and engaged. The cost for “Teacher Premium,” which most of the county uses, is $125 per teacher each year. Stephanie Sharon, MCPS Chief of Strategic Initiatives, believes that GoGuardian is too expensive for only a small number of teachers to use it.

“We have about 14 to 15 thousand teachers. In this school year alone, our records show six thousand teachers have used GoGuardian at least once,” Sharon said at the Jan. 23 Board meeting. “In the past month, three thousand have utilized GoGuardian at least once. Most of our users are a handful of secondary schools.”

Some students, like sophomore Ivy Hays, predict challenges with students staying on task following the removal of GoGuardian.

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“I think it will allow more freedom, but I think it definitely will be abused a lot more,” Hays said. “People are not going to be doing their work.”

Longstanding privacy concerns are a reason some students believe the cut is a positive change. GoGuardian can monitor students without notification, track the location of their Chromebooks and open and close computer tabs. Junior Liam Plitt is looking forward to the change and believes it will better protect students’ personal information.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Plitt said. “I think GoGuardian is an invasion of our privacy and it going away is really helping out the students in the community.”

The BOE is working with the Montgomery County Council of PTAs’ (MCCPTA) technology group on their Digital Balance Resolution to further support classroom management without relying solely on technology. The resolution was passed in January of 2023 to reduce the effects of excessive screen time in the classroom by minimizing digital testing and using hard copy resources starting in elementary school. Sharon believes that returning to standard education methods instead of online ones is an effective way to safely monitor students, she said at the Board meeting.

“We are working with the MCCPTA on their Digital Balance Resolution,” Sharon said, “…to think about how are we making sure that our teachers are utilizing the Chromebooks, but that’s not the only thing they’re using throughout the day.”

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Marilena Adamantiades, News Writer
Grade 12  Why did you join the Black and White? To inform people about what is happening around them. What is your favorite board game? Clue

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