Moms (and Dads) on a Mission–Readington, New Jersey Dad Discusses the Trouble with Internet Based Homework

Here’s an email I received from John Painter, the editor of readingtonparents.blogspot.com. You can read John’s earlier guest blog entry here.

The Trouble with Internet Based Homework
by John Painter

My latest entry on readingtonparents.blogspot.com is about internet based homework, and I thought you might find it a worthy read. My kids, now in 6th and 8th grade, have been just inundated this year with homework requiring internet connectivity and other computer resources. I was recently forced to upgrade my infrastructure at home once again, and that led to a related article on readingtonparents.org about creating a safer Linux-based student PC at home. This is a fight I’ll be pushing hard in my district this school year. Even though I have gained the attention of three district administrators who are sympathetic to the idea that internet and computer based homework needs to be better delineated and understood by educators, I’m realizing now that they simply don’t have the expertise in the district to fix the problem. The push from the top of the district food chain to include technology at every turn (sometimes called techno-lust) has already created problems, including some young elementary students inadvertently viewing some delightful websites about the unique sexual habits of human beings. Yet, there is no leadership on how to properly harness the power of the net for young students within the district, and parents are left to scramble on their own.

This is an issue which I think will become more prominent in the months and years to come. It is bad enough that the problem exists in the classrooms themselves, but now it is being pushed into the home through ill-advised homework assignments.

For my problem here in Readington, I have not bothered to contact teachers directly, as that would entail trying to converse with over a dozen people. Instead, I have been working with the assistant superintendent, the director of math and science and the director of humanities (all in a district of four lousy schools) to explain to them the problem parents face. I have also addressed the school board about the issue. This is an issue that requires leadership from the top–leadership which we’re not getting. I don’t think it is a reach to say that this internet based homework is fast becoming a problem in schools across the nation. It just happens to be more advanced in affluent suburban districts like my own.

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