lit lover book

reflections of an ever-evolving educator

Sunday, February 27, 2005

perpetuating the digital divide

We've got some major technological opportunities simmering in my school district, potentially wonderful opportunities, and all the majority of citizens want to do is gripe and spout elitist, stereotypically prejudiced speculation about the doomed nature of the project.

In a nutshell:
The county is proposing to lease laptops for every teacher and student in middle and high school, and to install a wireless network in all schools to support said laptops. Money for this adventure is already being generated via a special options tax that was passed last year.

Our county is pretty much divided down the middle economically, with the north and east ends being the haves, and the south and west sides being the have-nots. Interestingly, I grew up with the have-nots, but have spent my entire career teaching the haves.

I am embarrassed and disgusted by the elitist crap that has been coming out of the mouths of the haves regarding this proposal--both teachers and parents. The ignorant, bigoted affluent of the county believe that the have-nots will immediately pawn the laptops for drug money. I'm not kidding.

When I try to reason with said idiots, I get huffs, puffs, and scoffs. I point out that the more affluent students may be even less likely to value the laptops because they have always had easy access to home computing, while the have-nots are more likely to attach real value to something they may never have had, something they haven't had the opportunity to take for granted. Eyerolls ensue.

More and more I am aware of the bigotry inherent in our society now, and it's not based in race. It's class-ist, elitist. It is supported by the Bush administration. It perpetuates a system in which the wealthy get wealthier, have access to every opportunity, and the poor are judged by their economic situation and deemed not worthy of further consideration. After all, this is America, right? If they had worked hard enough, they wouldn't be poor, now would they?

It makes me sick and ashamed.


At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Grandma said...

Opportunity is important.
Frugality helps.
Wish all the have-nots could have grown up with my mother. She knew how to stretch a garden, other peoples discards, and pennies from house cleaning -- she started at 25 cents an hour. Her children learned the value of a penny and became math wizards. Those children who cherish their laptops will indeed flourish.


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