The Salinas City Elementary School District is pushing to have a 1-1 ratio of laptops to students. It is in the plans that these devices will go home with students. The goal of 1-1 in the classroom is not the discussion of this petition. It should be researched a little further and should take into account input from school leadership teams, site teachers, and early education specialists. This petition is about whether or not a child has a school laptop sent home every day for more computer work at HOME. That should be a HOME decision, a FAMILY’s decision, NOT a school's decision. Managing a child’s exposure to screens is one of the top struggles of parents today. The struggle will only become greater and more complicated if the school is forcing these devices into our homes. We want our child to do well at school and we want to support our schools and teachers, it's difficult to tell our children to stop using a school tool. It feels like we are being put in an impossible position by SCESD to find the balance when it comes to tech.
Consider the analogy of ice cream. Ice cream is delicious, has calcium, it has fats that help with myelinization of the brain, it has many good qualities. Ice cream, however, should not be eaten 8 times a day, every day of a child’s life. It should be an occasional item consumed. Technology is similar, in that it is an amazing tool that should be used occasionally to be productive or enjoyed but should not be consumed all day every day. The average school-age child today is spending over 8 hours a day with a screen in their face.
The American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media published a policy statement titled “Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents.” Read it, as well as their article titled “Constantly Connected: Adverse Effects of Media on Children & Teens” before this goes any further and wastes huge amounts of school funds. Recently CBS news did a piece titled “Powering Down” on how tech giants in Silicon Valley are severely limiting their own children’s use of tech at home.
The intention of this goal is good. The district is trying to give all our district students equal access to the tools they need to learn. Their belief in equality and strong foundations for all is fantastic. Our low income and minority student ARE NOT LACKING tech, however, and are actually at greater risk with the pushing of tech into their homes. A 2015 study by Common Sense Media titled Common Sense Census: Media Use By Tweens and Teens “showed striking differences in media use among varying demographics. Students from lower-income families spend MORE time on screens than those from higher-income families.” By sending more devices home SCESD will only be perpetuating the racial and socioeconomic divide not equalizing it.
After discussions with school site council members, school administrators, PTA members, and other concerned and exasperated parents I felt compelled to start this petition to have SCESD stop pressing this idea of sending tech into our homes. If their goal is equalization of access and resources then there are much better avenues to explore such as using the funds to have school site computer labs be open to students for 2 hours every day after school. If a child REALLY does not have access then this allows them ample time to work on school projects or do independent computer research. We as a collective group can come up with better alternatives. Respect the family by allowing the decision about what devices come into our homes to be in our hands. Thank you for adding your voice and signature to the discussion.