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Thursday, March 22, 2007

The moral obligation to prepare students for the outside!

This quote from Scott over at Dangerously Irrelevant.

It was a pass along from an administrator:

The school district is legally obligated to protect our students from the outside. It is not legally obligated to prepare them for the outside.

It's like the picture to the right -- if we didn't teach how to drive around a curve in driver's ed. If we didn't teach brakes in drivers' ed, how many kids would hit this wall?


Scott says it well:

"This statement elevates CYA thinking over social justice concerns about technology access/usage and workforce preparation for disadvantaged students. This statement is reactive, not proactive, at a time when we desperately need forward-thinking school leaders."

Scott's post is dangerously RELEVANT and the comments are incredible!

Preparing our young for their release into "the wild"

This is what I say to that administrator:

If I was preparing to release an animal into the wild, I would slowly acclimate that animal to what it would experience there. For, by coddling, sheltering it, hand feeding it, and giving it everything I would prepare it for a dramatic, sudden and very probable death upon its release.

Which is the greater negligence?

That of creating a slight amount of discomfort before release or that of totally not preparing the animal for life outside of the comforts of captivity.

We see it in nature when mother eagles literally push their young out of the nest to force them to try their wings while under the mothers attentive watchcare.

But they're not in a cage
But kids aren't in a cage -- if you don't teach them at school, they go home and teach themselves.

They teach each other how to do things, but in true teenage fashion -- never stop to discuss if they SHOULD do those things. That is our job!

With cars, teenagers know how to press the gas pedal, but unless someone teaches them why and when to take their foot off the gas pedal -- they will face a probable fiery, death amidst flame, iron, and steel or even worse, take others with them!

Look at all of the resources put into drivers ed. I believe technology education is as important.

And kids don't just "automatically" understand computers -- I teach it and I know that there is a big difference between learning how to set up a myspace account on your own and understanding the technological nuances of today's technology-heavy world.

I teach bright, high achieving kids and they don't just "get it." I have every student at our school for two and a half years at least. (1 semester keyboarding, 1 year computer fundamentals, 1 year computer science) When they get out, they do better in English, math, history and all of their subjects and more importantly -- LIFE-- because they have had my classes. (And they come back with stories about how they have to "help" many of the others who don't even know how to check their e-mail!)

We have a responsibility
Our job is to get kids ready to be successful adults.
  • People with integrity who will respect their elders.
  • People who know the meaning of hard work and have the empathy to weigh decisions that affect others.
  • People who care and know that it is more important to stand up for what is right than to cave to selfishness.
  • People who consider the plight of the helpless and respond with empathy, kindness, and consideration for their fellow man.
  • People who are tech-savvy, tech-smart, and wise digital citizens and who understand that a misspoken word on the Internet can often destroy like a brick through a window or a baseball bat to the head. But that it can also bring great good and profit!
  • People who understand that the Internet is like the world in which we live -- full of good and bad people.
  • People who know how to protect their own privacy and be their own advocate!

Wake up!
This sort of comment from an administrator scares me.

Perhaps there is not a legal obligation to prepare students for the outside, but there is a moral obligation in being a teacher and educator.

If we spent more time eradicating ignorance perhaps there would not be as many predators to eradicate or we would have more watchdogs out there to help us find them!

Doctors promise to do no harm.

Educators should promise the same.

For truly, sometimes, too much shelter will truly harm those about to be released into an untamed Internet world looking for its next unwitting, unwise, uneducated victim.

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