This post is not about Charlottesville real estate. It’s about education, politics, social media, the decline of common sense and rise of ignorance.
And it’s a bit of a rant.
Let’s start with this:
@paulawhite @Eduflack What a stupid proposal. How about we teach responsibility and the importance of good decisions? The stupidity hurts.
Rather than seeking to educate people – kids, teachers, parents – about the potential dangers of inappropriate student/teacher interaction, the Virginia Board of Education is seeking to prevent all non-official digital communication:
Model policy for electronic communications with students
â€¢ Teachers and other school board employees must restrict electronic communications with students to accounts, systems and platforms provided by the school division.
â€¢ Teachers and other employees may not use personal wireless communications devices to â€œtextâ€ students and are prohibited from interacting with students through online social-networking sites. Teachers and other school board employees must decline or disregard invitations from students to interact through texting and social-networking sites.
â€¢ Teachers and other school board employees may not knowingly engage in online gaming with students.
â€¢ School board policy on electronic communications with students also applies to teachers and other employees of virtual school programs and other vendors providing instructional services to students.
What about teachers’ home phones? What about communicating on snow days? What about common sense? Restrict communication to only within the walls of school? You’re going to ban Twitter? Really?
So, bans/prohibitions/rules against sexual misconduct between students and teachers is not sufficient; we** must ban communication methods as well? This isn’t solely about banning behavior, it’s about banning communication. Texting is how kids communicate. Period. If teachers can communicate more effectively with them that way, so be it.
Teach responsibility. Teach common sense. Teach the importance of good decisions. Teach. Don’t ban.
Used correctly, texting (and to a lesser degree, social media) can be a powerful instructional tool. We should be looking at ways to maximize the resources available and better engage students in their preferable mediums. Virginia, there has to be another way to protect teachers and students, share information, and offer a more transparent communication than shutting down that which is new.
You’re educators. Educate. Yourselves and your students.
Rather than encourage “security theater” and draconian, ignorant* responses that aim to make people “feel” safer, focus on actually being safer.
– Officers say there are plenty of reasons to keep squads moving. “It’s actually putting officers out there on the streets so we can make the people of Albemarle feel more safe,” said Albemarle County Sgt. Darrell Byers.
Given the choice between having my clients feel like they are making good decisions, and having them actually make good decisions based on facts, analysis and common sense, I will choose common sense 8 days a week. I’d like to apply the same common sense in the education world.
** This is a situation of “we” – if we don’t seek to influence our politicians, we are to blame.
UPDATE 29 August 2011: In a related ruling on a similarly stupid law, the Missouri Supreme Court has blocked a law against private messages between teachers and kids.
h/t: Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of the First Amendment.