Do the Twist (or the Frug Froog (or the Mashed Potato! (or the Technobonda…))))

As I kind of expected, our school technology bond passed (resoundingly) yesterday. I am neither happy or unhappy about that. I am absolutely utterly in complete support for our schools to have up-to-date computer stuff. As I think I said the other day, there are probably some computers still around from when the beach urchins were in middle school if not earlier. And then there’s the infrastructure. Somewhere I read a quote from a school administrator that so many students received wifi-capable devices for xmas 2011 that many school wi-fi systems were brought to their knees. Yes, we are an affluent district. Our middle-schoolers (grade-schoolers?) have smart phones. Mine wouldda had ’em too if they’d been available back in the Jurassic Age.

Also, I have long been an advocate for computer/internet technology in the schools. When one of the beach urchins was stuck in a huge, bureaucratic middle school where all the cool kids ruled the school (exaggerating but not by much), I locked horns with the principal* on many occasions because there wasn’t an email list (or group or whatever) that the administration could use to get messages out to parents. You know, things like “report cards were sent home today”. But nooooo. He insisted on using backpack mail. That did not work all that well for me and probably a whole bunch of other parents for reasons I won’t fully disclose on the internet but can be summed up by a classic statement from back in the Jurassic Age: “Moom, you *keep* yourself *out* of my business!”

I think most schools are way beyond that mindset now. I’m sure that they are all sending out mass emails on a regular basis and some of them are requiring teachers to post stuff on the web, etc., etc.

Here’s the thing… The technobond campaign relied heavily on language like “support our kids”. I dunno. The public schools *are* all about the students and maybe that’s what it takes to win a technobond issue. But, at least in our affluent district, I think it’s more about outfitting the *teachers* with up-to-date equipment and the software applications that they need. C’mon, it’s 2012 and you cannot run any kind of organization (non-profit or not) without up-to-date technology. Many of today’s students are surrounded by computing devices of all description and they know how to use them and so I don’t think we need laptops for every kid funded by the taxpayer. Parents are providing those to a lot of kids. We MUST make sure that we provide students who CANNOT afford those devices with access to them. And we certainly do have many students in that category. We need to help level the playing field for them.

I don’t think that (in 2012) bond issues are the right way to fund computers in the schools and all of the infrastructure that surrounds them. This stuff needs to be included in the general operating budget (or whatever you call it). We’re beyond the days where a school could get by on a few computers running Sticky Bear ABC or Oregon Trail. We need to make sure our schools are provided with new technology on a regular basis.

* Dean Mike was a pretty good buddy of mine. I was PTO treasurer under his watch at two schools and he once managed to convince me to actually get up on a stage and hand out “prizes” to kids who had earned the highest points at one of those awful “gift wrap” fundraisers. I went home and took a shower after that.

Doooo you want to dance? Tell me. Tell me!

2 Responses to “Do the Twist (or the Frug Froog (or the Mashed Potato! (or the Technobonda…))))”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Hey, I loved Oregon Trail and OT 2! They were lots of fun. But you’re right–all our systems now run on computers, so not having access is a major issue.

  2. DogMomster Says:

    I’ve been a trustee of the GB Educational Foundation for a few years now (think I got my appointment after Pengo Janetto graduated high school)… and we lately find ourselves helping fund a LOT of technology for (especially) the K-6 grades. Much of what we see in that respect are iPads and iPod Touches. One of the latest is “tag readers”, which apparently does wonders for the kids a “little behind” (as in, having been held back) the other readers. Of course, the technology is nothing without the teachers providing the scaffolding that utilizes these tools.

    What we also help fund are other great things like Bay Sail, Nature Center improvements, FISH (filled backpacks for some of the needier students), assembly programs of various sorts, etc…. Ann Arbor could definitely use a group like this one. Our group might be willing to mentor, if you know of a start-up…