Misuse of brains

Today, I bring you the flip side of yesterday’s story. The state of Michigan, in its infinite (lack of) wisdom, and huge budget deficit, has placed in its new budget proposal an item that would spend 38 million taxpayer dollars (of which we already don’t have enough) to buy every child in public school an iPod or other mp3 player “to use as learning tools”. Now let’s be honest… are they going to be used as learning tools? Highly unlikely. The RIAA is surely convinced now that Michigan supports piracy, as one major record label claims portable music players are only used to listen to stolen music anyhow.

Now I’m not opposed to spending money to enhance education, but when you already are facing a billion-dollar budget crisis, what makes these people think spending millions on luxury items for children is a good idea? I can’t afford an iPod for myself, no way in hell do I support taking my money to buy one for the kids next door. And I guess I’m just confused as to how these will assist in learning. Will teachers start podcasting their lessons? I find that unrealistic, and unnecessary.

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  • Danny  On April 8, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, Wolfger. Speaking as a parent, I can tell you the schools DO need more funding, but the money should be spent on hiring more teachers, more teacher education, and facilities. I’ve read research suggesting that computer trained students do no better or worse on standardized tests than with traditional methods, but kids who spend more time in front of a computer screen do suffer in areas of creativity, and social skills. Couple that with the fact that most of what a student needs to know about a computer can be learned in six weeks or less, and the case for computers in schools is really weak. My 5yr old already knows how to use a mouse, a keyboard, and a TV remote. I’ve got no worries there. She needs quality teachers who can teach her to read, write and do math, as well as giving her social guidance. I’m not sure what kind of social guidance comes out of an ipod, but that’s not what I want for my children.

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