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As school board trustees we will
advocate for the following:
- We will acknowledge that the evidence is mounting for a return to paper, pencils, and books. Few children today need more time on technology. Many need to learn how to “unplug” and focus on reading endurance, proper handwriting, and quiet organization of their thoughts.
- We recognize that a strong connection exists between writing and cognitive skills. Functional brain imaging studies indicate the visual recognition of letters and the physical motion of producing letters (print and cursive handwriting) both activate the same region of the brain. Studies have demonstrated that putting a pen or pencil to paper is more beneficial than using a keyboard for retention. Ironically, the speed of typing can actually impede effective note-taking. On the other hand, the slower speed of handwriting provides time for retention. It enhances memory and establishes a kinesthetic component to learning that results in deeper thinking so the student can include the important ideas from a lecture or text. We will therefore advocate that all students be taught both printed and cursive handwriting in grade school.
- We will advocate for students to take part in public speaking exercises writing and giving speeches to their classes in the later years of grade school and in high school without the use of Microsoft PowerPoint or similar technology aids. We believe this is a useful skill and confidence-building exercise.
- We will advocate for the use of traditional hardcopy textbooks for all subjects as opposed to "online textbooks" which require students to read their contents or perform exercises using a computer or tablet screen. This is particularly important for mathematics, reading, and writing.
- We will advocate that in all aspects of arts instruction an emphasis should be placed on the use of hands-on methods and real-world materials. In the case of music classes, we will seek to prioritize hand-played instruments with less reliance on technology.
- The use of cell phones in class tends to be highly distracting for students and can severely compromise the quality of education in the classroom. We understand that some parents would prefer their children to have cell phones so they can be contacted in the event of emergencies. (The issue of being able to contact one’s children in the event of a school shooting scenario is commonly mentioned.) We will advocate for a compromise solution promoting cell phone bans in the classroom and requiring students to keep their phones in their lockers when in class. Another option is to have students surrender their cell phones to their teachers at the start of class and retrieve them at the end of class.
- Some school boards have informed teachers that if they confiscate or otherwise take control or possession of student cell phones, the boards will not provide any form of insurance coverage and teachers are personally liable for any loss or damage. We will implement policies to ensure that teachers and staff are not held liable for loss or damage to student cell phones. Students who bring their cell phones to school will assume all responsibility as a condition of attending.