Friday, February 17, 2006

Harsh judgement.

Chances are pretty good that there is no one in your child’s school who knows diddly-squat about what your kids are really capable of doing on the computers, there in the school lab or at home. Most systems won’t pay a real computer person what he/she’s worth, and the workload and the aggravation aren’t worth it. A real computer guy can make triple that salary in a factory, for crying out loud.

Systems will, however, pay out the BIG BUCKS for an outsider to come in and teach the staff some skills they should be ashamed to not already know.

I do not buy into this "I just can't use a computer, tee hee" bullshit. It's inexcusable.

In many systems, the computer ‘expert’ is the former shop teacher. I mean, there’s no time any more to teach our kids to use tools and measure things and make real Appalachian dulcimers and go to nursing homes and hold concerts for old people, duh, the schools have to drill and practice and review for those standardized tests because that’s where the MONEY will be coming from. “Besides, who needs a dulcimer? In fact, what is it?” (actual quote from administrator.) So, send the shop teacher to a few seminars and he’ll come back a computer expert. That’s what my old system did, anyway.

(Our kids used to make dulcimers. They don't any more. They're too busy reviewing for ISTEP.)

So. Your kids are being taught how to make a basic webpage and how to use the internet for research as long as the topic isn’t anything that might possibly have a questionable word in it, or might produce a page with a questionable link on it, or have anything to do with a body part or a euphemism for any kind of body part or biological function or animal or word like ‘girl, boy, sister, brother, friendly, or fun.” Sometimes in the lower grades, there are little games about colors, but everybody has to stay on the same page and at the same pace.

Many schools are terrified of blogs because they have no control over them. No blogging at school. Students are not allowed to check their email at school, either. A student who is computer-knowledgeable is often looked at with suspicion, because administrators are wired to view anything they personally don’t understand, as ‘questionable.’ And it’s shocking and frankly disgraceful how many administrator-types don’t even know how to check their own email, let alone BEGIN to understand the wonders that could be at each child’s fingertips if the schools hired trained people to teach our kids how to explore the universe.

Many school administrators fear questions more than anything else. Especially questions to which they don’t know the answers. Rather than find out, or hire someone who might know, they just lock it all down in the name of safety.

Go ahead, ask your child about computers in his/her school. Betcha they aren’t used much, and when they are, it’s for something mundane, and that mundane something is monitored by a person who was trained by the shop teacher and who might have a GED or a high school diploma. And who thinks “hotmail” is a porn site.

You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you. I only wish I were.

If your child’s school is the exception to this rule, I think that’s wonderful. Count your blessings. Call the administration and thank them, too. Or rather, ask the secretary to pass your thanks along, because many administrators aren’t known for their friendliness or their ability to remember the names of their employees. If yours is, thank him/her for that, too.

I have worked for ten principals and six superintendents. Not one of them was friendly, only one was even competent, and there at the end, not one was computer-savvy. I hope your experience is different from mine.

Our children deserve to be taught by the best. The mediocre have no place in our schools, in positions of authority.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:07 PM | |


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