By Aditya “Doc” Savara
On June 2, Dr. Bruce Borchers, the superintendent overseeing Oak Ridge Schools, presented a 2015 school budget plan to City Council, which included a request for a property tax increase of about 15 percent. Landlords would presumably pass this increase onto renters as well.
The justification for this tax increase is to pay for thousands of touchscreen tablet computers and notebook computers: one for each child in our school system for most age ranges. The idea is bold and expensive. The revolutionary change is based on the following three premises:
- Our children need to be “technology-ready” for the future with sufficient experience to make such technology feel “ordinary” to them.
- These devices may have educational benefits in our schools.
- When parents are trying to decide where they will live, parents might choose a city that follows a one-device-per-child policy.
I taught at Northwestern University, where I won department-wide and college-wide teaching awards. Based on my teaching experience, I was initially against one device per child, because I did not think such devices would improve learning, certainly not enough to justify such an expense (my experience is that better teachers and better students result in better learning). [Read more…]