Welcome to Dystopia-Entire Philadelphia School District to Permanently Close
The School District of Philadelphia has become the latest victim of the devaluing of education in our country. Within the next two years, the entire Philadelphia School District will close its doors for good. Public opinion blames mismanagement and budget cuts, including those made by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, but there is another culprit responsible for this nightmarish-yet-real situation; the glorification of technology and the besmirching of education.
Many of the children who once enjoyed real teachers in a real classroom setting will now be relegated to cyber charter schools- schools which have been proven in well-controlled studies to be failures. A 2011 study out of Stanford University found that “Overall, charter school performance in Pennsylvania lagged in growth compared to traditional public schools,” and cyber (online) schools fared even worse: “Performance at cyber charter schools was substantially lower than the performance at brick and mortar charters with 100% of cyber charters performing significantly worse than their traditional public school counterparts in both reading and math,” the study states.
It is the country’s glorification of technology that has allowed this situation to occur. Belief in the all-saving power of the computer screen has stupefied adults into devaluing real-life education. Seeing a way to save money by sitting kids in front of screens with no live human interaction, the state decided that cyber schools could solve all its budget problems, giving no thought whatsoever to the efficacy of such schools.
As it turns out, cyber schools, as anyone with a modicum of common sense could have predicted and as the Stanford study proves, are inferior to real schools. Cyber schools, pushed on education policymakers by the evildoers in Silicon Valley, do not work. Period. The dropout rate from cyber schools is astronomically high and those who do graduate perform well below national averages. They are no substitute for live education with a real, human teacher. It is society’s over-reliance on technology that has created an environment in which the human being is devalued in favor of digital realities. Were this not the case, education funding would not be viewed as something so easily expendable.
When the general consensus is “digital is better and cheaper,” it becomes easy to rely on digital technologies to solve all of the problems facing a particular arena, including education. Our societal movement toward prostration to Silicon Valley has dumbfounded our policy makers and the lay citizen alike. The result is the closure of one of the country’s largest school districts, which has been allowed to become bankrupt in favor of reliance on “cyber” everything.
Silicon Valley is a cesspool of greedy, evil citizens who care about nothing except their own financial gain at any cost. One of its evil spawn is Michael Milken, owner of the for-profit company “K12” and pusher of digital education. Milken, a convicted criminal who dabbled in the securities fraud arena and is called the “Junk Bond King” because of his criminal behavior, is the person who is now entrusted to educate many of Philadelphia’s children. We have let technology evangelists take over our lives and the lives of our most vulnerable citizens-our young.
It is particularly disturbing that this cyber scourge has hit Philadelphia, where 80% of school age children are from low income families. They were already economically disadvantaged, and now, with the implementation of more cyber charters, their futures seem bleaker than ever.
According to Bob Fayfich, Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools Executive Director, “Kids in charter schools are educated at roughly 70 percent of the cost it takes to educate students in a traditional school district.” And there, folks, is the crux of the issue. Cyber charter schools save money. Who cares if they don’t work?
Because after all, who cares about the underprivileged kids in the Philadelphia School District? Silicon Valley promises that we’ll save money. Let’s just sit the kids in front of screens all day, with no real teacher, no classroom and no other students with whom to form relationships. We’ll ignore the fact that cyber schools are totally substandard when it comes to educating children. Heck, we, the adults, are far too brainwashed by our iPads and iPhones to look up anyway. We’re busy with Candy Crush! And that’s what the kids will eventually be busy with, too, because they sure won’t be busy learning, innovating or holding well paying jobs.
That’s the dialogue happening, even if it’s unspoken. Please wake up, America.
By: Rebecca Savastio