Archive for Thursday, September 30, 2004

Digital communication opportunity, challenge for Eudora district

September 30, 2004

For Eudora students, the dog ate my homework excuse has become passe.
Gone is the quarterly district newsletter. Its replacement is a digital version posted on the district's Web site and parts of which can be sent to parents via e-mail. The innovation will come with the added bonus of saving the district staff time and $1,200 in direct expenses.
More exciting is the district's move to PowerSchool. The system will allow parents to monitor attendance, grades and the like.
Such systems can help parents keep track of their child's homework assignments, progress and -- in the case of older students with more options -- attendance.
The obvious alarm bell is that computers and the Internet are not available to all district families. With family income-levels already a predictor of student success, the movement to the new system comes with obvious alarm bells. Despite the ubiquity of the advancing technology, not all district families have computers or home access to the Internet.
The district is already considering means to span this gap through encouraging use of computers at the Eudora Public Library or those in district schools, but it is evident that the convenience of such measures is far inferior to that of home access, especially in terms of making use of the frequent (even daily) tracking that is the new system's most attractive feature.
The No Child Left Behind legislation makes that an issue of not only the unplugged families and concerned educators but the entire community. In the years ahead, districts will suffer revenue consequences for children left behind, or more specifically, failing to perform on math and reading assessment tests. Part of the solution could be with a loan program using the district's obsolete yet still serviceable computers.

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