January 10, 2016 10:38 pm ET
Superintendent two-steps around common sense in school debacle
Using the same photo for the same reasons; nothing changes.
Straight out of the gate, I want you to know that this blog is going to deal with Baltimore County School Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance and his, to put it mildly, idiotic decisions in running our school system.
Sorry, folks, but there is no other way to describe Dr. Dance’s debacle, especially when our hard earned tax dollars are paying the tab for non-vetted concepts. And I use the term “non-vetted” because there is no hard data on the issue that backs up Dr. Dance’s “pie in the sky” concept.
What Dr. Dance wants to do, according to the Sun, is spend $270 million of our tax dollars to put HP Elite Book Revolves laptops (which cost around $1,300 per unit) into the hands of every student in the school system.
Quick poll: Who has a $1,300 computer at home? Certainly not most of us, I reckon.
This whole daft concept starts off with elementary schools and eventually spreads like a cancer to middle schools, followed by the winding yellow brick road that will lead to EVERYONE having one of these laptops to utilize both in school and at home.
In simpler terms, once these expensive computers leave the custody of the school system in the hands of Sally or Johnny, only the good Lord can guess what will happen.
But we’ll get to that in a moment.
Let me begin with who might be the overseers of this program—the parents and guardians of the students.
Now, I’m not implying that those who will oversee the responsibility and accountability for these computers are challenged, per se (even I can be PC once), but here is a possible glimpse, courtesy of YouTube and Watter’s World.
Folks, those profiled in that clip are college students at the University of Maryland. Mr. Watters should have handed out some brown paper bags—not to cover the physical assets, but to cover the darn heads of those students! That was utterly embarrassing for our premier state university, as well as our entire educational system. And the crazy part is that, if these college students are that clueless, how in God’s name can we expect children to garnish any knowledge when they face far more stringent conditions? Remember, you have to consider what we now know about the school system, which is basically an underachieving and laced with propaganda.
The last time I checked, when Dr. Dance tried to walk on water, he got his shoes wet.
So, how does he expect to have these children computer literate considering the influx of immigrant students, whose first language is not English, and a ratio of one bilingual teacher to 71 students? Especially when, according to the Sun, the teachers are still learning how to use the computers themselves, and the instructions are in English, no less.
I believe Dr. Dance’s shoes are going to go from just wet to plain soaked.
Here we have a teaching agenda that does away with actual teaching of any common sense or social skills that should go along with human interaction. We already know the evils of an agenda that seems to focus entirely on technology and leaves out one of the most important aspects of education—real-life experiences.
Before I look at the issues that will surly impede such an ill-conceived program, based on things we already know, let’s take a look at the success rate from other prominent authorities who have been down this yellow brick road that I’m quite sure will lead to a witches brew of the taxpayers being fleeced again.
Here are some links that tell the tale—not only can Dr. Dance not walk on water, he’ll have a hard time feeding thousands with pieces of stale, moldy bread and what looks to be a fishy deal.
Here’s one piece from U.S. News and World Report, a well-respected magazine:
And we already know that county test scores have taken a hit, as this Sun article reveals.
Now back to the national scene of discontent with this Land of Oz boondoggle.
Some bad news from the New Jersey School system:
Want to read those reports with a grain of salt, so to speak? Well, grab your shaker and read this:
What makes Dr. Dance think that his technology two-step idea will receive the due diligence and accountability from students in assuring that the computers will not be stolen, misused, lost, broken, or traded for other “goodies?”
This article may shed some light on that issue.
While considering the violence, low test scores, teacher burnout, and lack of teacher computer experience with many of these teachers, add to that the fear of retaliation that is prevalent within the school system and you end up with a really flawed system that is supposed to provide our future with a solid education.
My conclusion regarding this whole concept is to produce some additional studies that, in my opinion, are at least as good as what Dr. Dance is relying on, if not better. That way, Dr. Dance will at least have a chance to keep a closer eye on the program.
Click on the link below to understand that I’m not slanted completely against this program; I simply want some stop gap measures in place to protect our tax dollars.
Finally, this excerpt from the Sun seems to sum everything up the best:
“I think a healthy learning environment could certainly include technology, but I don’t think that students should spend the majority of their time learning via the computer,” said Karma Quinn, the parent of elementary and middle-school children who have the new devices. “Students need to also learn how to interact and collaborate with peers and teachers in person.”
Quinn, and some other parents, say the money would be better spent hiring more teachers to lower class sizes and installing air conditioning at every school.”
I, for one, am tired of my tax dollars doing the “terrible technology two-step,” followed by the “do-si-do of disappearance.