Schools should power down PowerSchool

I unlocked my phone and opened my PowerSchool app. A huge test grade had just gone in and needed to quickly check my grade. I saw the red down arrow and that is all it took to ruin my entire day. Admit it, most of you have been there.

The truth is, the PowerSchool app and PowerSchool in general have become too stressful and accessible, causing an unhealthy obsession for many students and parents.The site was originally created to help parents connect with their kids’ schooling—an “in-between” for conferences and report cards. The main PowerSchool site advertises that “parents can now monitor their child’s proficiency and real-time grades.”   

Although admittedly useful for parents to stay up-to-date, people abuse the tool. In addition, misunderstandings in grades can often lead to unnecessary breakdowns and stress.

PowerSchool is not only taking its toll in Shorewood emotionally, but it also just is not practical. Not all of a student’s information, such as lunch accounts, can be used on and linked to PowerSchool, but there are sites out there that do include more, which would make administration’s job a lot easier.

Teachers tell stories of having to call parents, and warn them not to put pressure on their child for having a 98 instead of a 99. One of my teachers has blocked parents from accessing PowerSchool, so as to protect the child from unneccessary nagging. The same teacher quotes PowerSchool as, “needless anxiety.”

It seems that the benefit of having a parent involved in their child’s progress is not nearly as present and pressing as the concern of misuse and exploitation. The app controls too much of our moods as students. On several occasions, I have seen kids have emotional breakdowns in school, or find themselves unable to concentrate due to stigma the app has created.

Often times, teachers make mistakes, entering a grade wrong, or simply entering a zero when a child is absent, intending to raise the grade soon. Parents can also be misguided by this and wanting to help their child, may overreact about a deluding zero or poor grade. The detrimental consequences of this can and should be avoided.

Additionally, how are we  supposed to focus in class after seeing a red down arrow pointing to a grade that could be over 100%?

Use of the PowerSchool site and app needs to be replaced. With rumblings of research about alternative programs such as Skyward being brought to the administration, now is the perfect time to end the constant torment of checking grades and the way PowerSchool has desecrated our learning.

by Poole of Wisdom (Olivia Poole)

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