Important Note About This Post!
I must acknowledge that I made a mistake with this post. I misinterpreted it to mean more funding of computers and it is instead about funding computer science.
This changes the nature of the post dramatically. I think most of us recognize the value of computer science for students in a high-tech world.
Because once a post is out there it is difficult to remove, I can only say I am sorry.
And of course I wish that the President and others would still address the problem of dilapidated buildings.
My thanks to Steve for bringing my mistake to my attention.
President Obama is calling for four billion more in funding for computers, while the public school infrastructure in Detroit and around the country remain in terrible condition. The administration also wants an additional $100 million to fund a competitive grant program to reach students who are underrepresented in computer science classes.
The initiative includes partnerships with Apple, the Cartoon Network, Microsoft and others who will push for more computer science, which most likely means more Competency-Based Education.
Yet, our schools are crumbling and technology doesn’t seem to be working well. A lot of money, including tax dollars, has also been wasted on computers.
I’d like to hear about an initiative to improve public school facilities and institute more oversight on the computers already in place.
When the President first took office, he seemed to understand that school buildings needed help. He had visited Ty’sheoma Bethea’s rundown school in South Carolina’s Corridor of Shame—even invited her to his first State of the Union Address. Eventually, after a very long time, after Ty’sheoma had grown up and moved away, her school was renovated.
So where is the President now when it comes to Detroit’s schools? What has he said about the public school conditions in Detroit?
One would think there would be concern that buildings with leaky roofs could damage the new technology!
Also, while technology in the classroom is important, there is much concern about Competency-Based Education taking over the jobs of real teachers.
Yet, it is hard to find any research showing that technology is lifting test scores. It certainly isn’t helping the poor.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that students who worked for a longer period of time online had worse PISA results than students who spent less time online.
Students who use computers very frequently at school did not do well.
Students also copy stuff off the Internet. This can be problematic teaching high school students especially. It is easy for students to pull information off websites for reports and cut and paste.
And you don’t have to go far to find stories of wasted funding when it comes to the purchase of technology.
In 2014, $2.7 million worth of computer equipment and technology purchased by the Fort Worth school district was either “unnecessary” or was still sitting idle after seven years, an internal audit showed.
In Hoboken, New Jersey, the purchase of laptops was wasted! The system could not sustain the technology and some computers were stolen. They packed the machines up in boxes and stored them in closets.
The National Education Policy Center indicates that technology works best when paired with traditional teaching. Heavy use of technology alone resulted in little to no improvement in student achievement.
Shouldn’t current funding be geared toward other factors that affect instruction—like crumbling school infrastructure?
Why not put that money into poor schools to address building inadequacies and what teachers really need in order to teach?
Where are the local needs assessments and parents and teachers working together to decide what their schools require to serve students best?