By Jack Simony
So, New York City is planning to spend more than $500 million next year to upgrade classroom technology – even as the schools are facing $1.3 billion in budget cuts over the next three years, which may lead to the loss of 6,000 teachers. The fact is, this is apple-and-orange money; the capitol improvement funds slated to go to the tech revamp could not be used to save teacher salaries. But the symbolism is already causing some controversy. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/nyregion/30schools.html?_r=1&nl=nyregion&emc=ura1
Understandable perhaps, but still misguided. Technology is not a luxury item that can be scratched off a tight budget like a night out at a fancy restaurant. In this day and age, availability of and familiarity with technology is an essential tool in preparing our children for the future. You could even say that technology will be the next great equalizer, as military service was once upon a time. And, as with so much that ails our education system, those who suffer most from the lack of up-to-date technology in public schools are inevitably going to be our neediest children. Affluent kids, should their schools somehow fail to provide technological expertise, get it at home from their iPods, iPads, tweeting, texting, G-chatting, and Facebook surfing.
Of course, all the technology in the world can’t replace the smart, energetic, dedicated teachers who have such a profound influence on the intellectual and social development of their students.
Too bad such teachers get short shrift in our public education system.
– By Jack Simony