Author Topic: Go with the flow or protest?  (Read 11430 times)

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CluelessBride

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #75 on: September 17, 2013, 02:03:29 PM »
That would make me so angry, I would probably do something ridiculous.

Our school system is starting to hand out Nooks to all the students in Grade 3 and up - but they say they are cutting the busses next year, because they can't afford it.  :o

The parents are livid.  We are in a very economically diverse district, with a lot of people who have no cars, and a lot more with all adults in the house working, and several kids who go to different campuses.

My cynical explanation: political theater to justify a property tax increase (which is stupid because most folks would gladly pay it anyhow)

Most cynical explanation I have heard: they are trying to force low income and minority students out of the schools by depriving them of transport. (which is also stupid, because funding is based on attendance).

Off topic, but it's possible they got a grant (either from the government or a private foundation) to pay for the Nooks.  There are all sorts of programs out there to increase technology in the classroom/improve access to technology. If so, that money would be completely separate from funding for buses.   It's also possible that long term using Nooks and digital textbooks will be cheaper than supplying physical textbooks (which can be crazy expensive).

OK, I will quit complaining now.  A FB friend just posted that her child's school told them they HAVE to buy their kids (9th grade) an iPad mini ASAP.  They can either buy it outright or send in 10 post dated checks for $30 each.  All their textbooks are on it and they have no choice.  Technology is a good thing, but this is ridiculous.  Our kids every move tracked on line, spending what may be a rent payment or groceries for the kids 'textbooks'...And the comments on that post are not complimentary to her school district! 

Although there wasn't one where I went to high school, my understanding is that a school book or supply fee of ~$100-200 is not unheard of in the US, even for public schools. In a community with a book fee, I could see where long term a $300 ipad purchase might save the parents/students money if done properly. But "buy one now" and "use post dated checks if you can't afford it" is NOT doing it properly. This type of thing requires (at minimum) plenty of notice, a rent to buy option, and hardship support.

Sharnita

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #76 on: September 17, 2013, 02:08:56 PM »
As far as having the Nooks but cutting bussing, I know there are all sorts of grants and funding that provide or even demand "technology" but specicifically exclude things that are usually covered in the general fund like bussing, utilities,security,etc. Saying the district doesn't want the money for Nooks means the money is taken away, not that it is spent on something else.

EllenS

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #77 on: September 17, 2013, 02:51:05 PM »
Yes, it could very well have been a grant, but that was not publicized.  We have a transparency/credibility problem around here.  Sorry to threadjack.

*inviteseller

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #78 on: September 17, 2013, 03:14:10 PM »
My DD's first grade teacher got a grant last year for 5 ipads for the classroom.  They were used for supplemental education.  But a grant for a whole school to give all those kids nooks when they are facing a fiscal crisis concerning transportation?  And giving kids these expensive items to take out of school means at least 1/2 of them will be broke, stolen, lost which means they have to be replaced. Also, what if the parents don't have wifi?  Are they expected to go without something so their kids can do school work that could be accomplished with books and notebooks?   I would rather pay $30 for a lost textbook than $300 for a broke or lost nook.  There is this huge push for technologytechnologytechnology, yet the educators complain that the kids spend too much time on the internet and video games.  Kids are not learning to do cursive writing, look things up in a book, use their brains instead of google.  I don't allow my younger DD to use the computer for anything other than research for science projects.  She uses dictionaries, encyclopedias, reading books.  Her science project last year, which was an extreme project, she hand wrote her theories that she got through very little computer research and more hands on learning instead of typing it out..it looked like a first graders project, not like some that were so slick because everything was computer generated.

Goosey

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #79 on: September 17, 2013, 03:23:48 PM »
All these arguments were used when computers came on the scene, too. I didn't have a computer for some years and I used to have to go to someone's house and borrow theirs or go to the library - yet everything was required to be computer-typed, computer/internet research and citations were needed, etc. I was expected to be up to date on the latest and make it work.

A grant for nooks, etc is completely separate funding than the buses. I'm sure each nook is insured.

EllenS

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #80 on: September 17, 2013, 03:36:08 PM »
Although there wasn't one where I went to high school, my understanding is that a school book or supply fee of ~$100-200 is not unheard of in the US, even for public schools.

I have never heard of one in my area.  The parents are asked to buy a list of supplies, but parents who cannot do so are given an option to contact the school anonymously.  And even in a community where there is a "supply fee", what do they do about indigent families?  Do the kids just not go to school?

In our area, we are very much given the expectation that the public schools are "our tax dollars at work". I know that my taxes, and the supplies I send, are not just paying for my child's education but subsidizing those who cannot afford it.  I am happy to do that as much as I am able, and anything that creates an obvious barrier to kids who may already be struggling, just makes the top of my head come off.

Sharnita

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #81 on: September 17, 2013, 03:44:30 PM »
I do know my mom had to pay a book fee at the beginning of the year in her working class public school in the 50s and 60s. Back when she was in grade school they had no school lunch for anyone. It wasn't on an assumption of financial wealth. All the kids at her school were blue collar.

*inviteseller

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #82 on: September 17, 2013, 04:07:52 PM »
I just talked to FB friend.  She called the school today.  It is a pilot program for 9th grade only but will be expanded next year.  There was no warning, just a note saying 'get this now'.

Judah

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #83 on: September 17, 2013, 05:49:28 PM »
Although there wasn't one where I went to high school, my understanding is that a school book or supply fee of ~$100-200 is not unheard of in the US, even for public schools.

I have never heard of one in my area.  The parents are asked to buy a list of supplies, but parents who cannot do so are given an option to contact the school anonymously.  And even in a community where there is a "supply fee", what do they do about indigent families?  Do the kids just not go to school?

In our area, we are very much given the expectation that the public schools are "our tax dollars at work". I know that my taxes, and the supplies I send, are not just paying for my child's education but subsidizing those who cannot afford it.  I am happy to do that as much as I am able, and anything that creates an obvious barrier to kids who may already be struggling, just makes the top of my head come off.

Book fees or educational fees are illegal in my state. Schools can collect fees for things like sports, field trips, and other optional activities, but not for required educational materials like books, work books, or lab supplies.
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*inviteseller

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #84 on: September 17, 2013, 07:04:52 PM »
Our PTA has a fund set up to help with some of the school supplies(notebooks, folders, pen/pencils) if a kid needs help.  The social worker comes to the PTA and makes the request and it is done anonymously.  The PTA is given the list of the supplies from the classroom and the PTA buys them and gives them to the social worker to dole out.  We don't supply book bags or clothing/shoes but a lot of parents donate gently used book bags and winter coats to the social worker so if they see a child in need, they can give them something.  This works out well because only the social worker and possibly the teacher know who the recipients are so no family has to be embarrassed, but I do remember one year we knew because the parent complained it wasn't a brand new bag and coat (they were not junk but they weren't brand new).  We just rolled our eyes at the SS of someone getting help and complaining about it. 

blarg314

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #85 on: September 17, 2013, 09:21:07 PM »

Even with a school that normally had a book fee, I'd still object to the iPad for every student. I did a bit of looking around for discussions of this sort of thing.

- Not all textbooks are in eBook form. So a student will have to have an iPad and a bunch of textbooks. Then there's the licensing fees for the textbooks - if students normally pay for the books, then it will likely be an iPad + licensing/purchase fees for all the books on it.

- It drastically increases screen time for kids, and reading on a screen can be physically fatiguing - headaches, eye strain, etc. Personally, I can read books for hours on end with no problem, but if I'm concentrating hard on a screen for too long time I get dry scratchy eyes and have to stop for the day, even if I still have work to do.

- iPads are expensive and both easily broken and a hot theft item. Kids tend to be careless. Insurance tend to be either quite expensive, or very limited. I suspect they might have a hard time getting an insurance company to provide group coverage for a bunch of 14 year olds who will be carting around $500 items that break if you drop them - and they will be carted around pretty constantly.

- You will need to spend even more money on peripherals. At a minimum, you'll need a case/screen protector and a couple of styluses (again, teens, lose things easily).

- iPads are not specifically a text book reader. They also play games, do email, web-surf, do Twitter and Facebook, etc. So you're giving kids email/web/game machines to carry around with them constantly. That's not going to result in kids spending more time on 'fun' educational games and reading textbooks so much as a lot more Angry Birds (They've found this with programs providing computers to low income students - a lot more game playing, not so much increase in school performance).

If they cripple the iPad's functionality (turn off internet, block games, etc) I can see parents being legitimately angry at having to pay full price for a broken tablet.

The nook makes more sense for a lot of these things - it's sturdier, uses e-ink (which makes a big difference for readability), is much cheaper, and is a dedicated ebook reader. However, textbooks are not well suited to the small screen format - it would work fine for novels, or straight text, but if you've got equations or illustrations in there, it becomes pretty unwieldy.


kudeebee

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #86 on: September 17, 2013, 11:12:56 PM »
The nook makes more sense for a lot of these things - it's sturdier, uses e-ink (which makes a big difference for readability), is much cheaper, and is a dedicated ebook reader. However, textbooks are not well suited to the small screen format - it would work fine for novels, or straight text, but if you've got equations or illustrations in there, it becomes pretty unwieldy.

Nooks are not just ereaders.  My older nook color allows me to surf the web, check on email, take notes, has some apps, etc.  The newer nooks are tablets.  So the nook could be used for more than reading, depending on the kind it is.

TootsNYC

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #87 on: September 18, 2013, 11:11:23 AM »
My experience with my Kindle makes me think that electronic textbooks are going to be a PITA for studying--it is incredibly hard to page through the Kindle to find the reference you were looking for.

CluelessBride

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #88 on: September 18, 2013, 11:36:58 AM »
I don't have an ereader, but I've used textbooks on my laptop before. It does change how you study - especially with regards to looking something up, but I didn't feel like it was any harder, just different. In terms of paging through to find something, I didn't - I just used the find function. I do find that I read a little bit slower from the computer screen (which isn't ideal since I'm already a slow reader), but my comprehension generally goes up.

Miss Unleaded

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Re: Go with the flow or protest?
« Reply #89 on: September 18, 2013, 01:29:21 PM »
My experience with my Kindle makes me think that electronic textbooks are going to be a PITA for studying--it is incredibly hard to page through the Kindle to find the reference you were looking for.

Yes, I have had both an ereader and a tablet, and they were horrible for reading textbooks.