Parents Across America, a non-profit boasting 44 chapters in 25 states, has taken a stand about the education technology that is changing the face of American education. Along with the flawed Common Core Standards, our children are now subjected to countless hours of classroom screen time, along with too many standardized online assessments, all coupled with increased data collection.
Unfortunately, it seems that many parents applaud all of this, believing not only that it benefits their children but that the test-based, “concrete” information they receive about their kids’ academic performance is valid.
Parents Across America knows better. Yes, the organization agrees that technology has its place, but asserts that it has no place before third grade and is against 1-to-1 devices before high school. It also quite simply espouses more vigilance when it comes to ed tech and how it’s used in our classrooms. Another of their concerns is the explosion of online standardized testing, and what schools/districts do with the accrued data.
So here are a couple excerpts from an interview with the organization’s interim executive director Julie Woestehoff that appeared in the recent Education Week article, “Parent Group See Education Technology ‘Threats:'”
- “When ed tech proponents start calling it ‘student-centered learning’ or ‘personalized learning,’ that raises a red flag because it’s really totally the opposite. Most parents think personalized learning means a teacher paying more attention to their child. But what it increasingly means in schools is digital classrooms, bigger class sizes, and curriculum being fed through a company’s software program… I also think with screen time parents see how that impacts their own children. It’s really not that different from television. Most parents think their children should be doing less on screens. They need to be responsible for that at home, but schools need to be responsible as well, rather than just throwing devices and packaged curricula at students.”
- “We think parent should be alarmed. They already are alarmed. We are not making that up… Parents need to wake up to the fact that the push behind ed tech is not a benign force trying to bring children into the digital age. That is something that the PTA will not acknowledge, and you just need to look at their funding sources to understand why.”
- “There need to be very strict limits on what kind of screens are being used, and parents need to be much more involved. We support proper use of technology in a limited manner, as long as it allows teachers to be in control of their classroom and allows parents to protect their children and allows children to have a healthy physical environment, with good, strong relationships. Those are the things that make a good school. We see digital learning as undermining that.”
In other words, take heed and speak up, too!