September 29, 2010
Yet another unproven teaching fad is proposed
Regarding your Sept. 9 article “Teachers get irritated,” it appears local school officials are once again falling for the old canard that newer must mean better. Kickoff speaker Mick Harper blithely opines, “[D]igital media has (sic) changed the wiring in their [kids’] brains.” So apparently teachers here have to retool once again, because only the latest in technological wizardry represents the best way to “engage” kids.
Pardon me, but 37 years in the classroom make me highly dubious of yet another education breakthrough. Funny how TV, once the “future” of education, is now universally decried as an impediment to learning. I guess it takes a retired geezer to recall such inconvenient details.
So now, this Mr. Harper thinks teachers should remodel one more time on his learned say so? First of all, why should school officials buy the opinion of a guy with nary a minute of teaching experience on his résumé? Bet whatever he’s selling offers no money-back guarantee.
What existing curriculum gets replaced? How many hours will teachers waste on training for an unproven program that may or may not be in use next year? Perhaps the district’s commitment to new technology is just another example of “use it or lose it” money from D.C.? Here we go again!
When will school districts finally get it? Genuine student engagement is the direct by-product of teacher expertise and enthusiasm. It’s the personal connection, the rapport between the expert and the understudy that really counts. It’s as old as Socrates, and it doesn’t require nearly as much technology as Mr. Harper and his ilk would have us believe.
Parents and teachers know first hand the difficulty competing with iPods, iPhones, texting and tweeting. Those digital media devices don’t belong in a classroom, but Mr. Harper still wants district teachers on the digital media bandwagon.
I certainly hope our district and resident parents view this latest sales pitch with appropriate skepticism. There are much better ways to spend education dollars during this tight economy. The district could start by asking teachers what they need instead of spotlighting the latest in education gadgetry.
Council should help with memorial funding
Regarding the article your newspaper published this week about the Snoqualmie Valley Veterans Memorial. Since it’s taken two years to collect $15,000, it will probably take another six long years to collect the remaining amount of money needed to complete this special memorial.
Based on the same, I think Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson and the Snoqualmie City Council should step up to the plate right now and fund the rest of the money needed for the memorial’s completion. After all, they recently spent a chunk of change for two generic-looking stone statues on each end of the city’s main business block.
Surely a veterans’ memorial honoring Snoqualmie Valley veterans killed in action serving our country is easier to justify and more significant than these two generic statues, especially when this veterans memorial will sit directly across from the brand new Snoqualmie City Hall.