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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guilt by Association

Hemp is part of the cannabis family.  No matter that it is extremely useful as a replacement for cotton that does not require pesticides or herbicides. I found this interesting comment on why growing Hemp is banned in the USA:

"Then, in 1948, marijuana became a restricted substance. Although hemp is from the same plant family  as marijuana, congress exempted industrial hemp growers from this law. I guess they didn’t see a reason to lock up one family member, just because the other family member could cause some trouble. However, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics lumped all cannabis together and the DEA continues to do so today.

It’s not known for sure why hemp was lumped together with cannabis, since you can’t get “high” from hemp. But, according to the 1985 book, The Emporer Wears No Clothes, the author Jack Herer states that DuPont played a key role in the criminalization of hemp. By stopping the growth of hemp, DuPont would have a monopoly on producing plastic and paper under their recently patented processes that used coal, oil and wood pulp respectively."

Do you see parallels here?

Schools have banned social networks such as Facebook and Myspace from use at school. However, it includes other sites such as individual Ning networks like Flat Classroom or Digiteen set up for the express purpose of education. I also hear of other sites like Edmodo and Wikispaces also being banned as well as del.icio.us being banned.

Guilt by association doesn't make sense when you're talking about hemp AND about educational networks.

Educational networks use social networking-type tools for an educational purpose and are some of the most student-friendly ways to get students talking about a subject and make the topic more "sticky" in my opinion.

The fact that hemp is banned makes no sense. Take a look at the facts.

Then, ask yourself, why are we banning some of the most useful tools for sparking student conversations about subject matter that needs a spark (like core subject matter?) Does this make any sense at all?

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