There was something nagging at me about my previous post on children being left unattended at closed schools, and finally I figured out what it was.
Kyle Koski told the Board that parents should know when to pick up their kids who ride the bus as majority-minority transfers or to attend magnets because the schools have posted the information on their websites.
As someone who obviously spends a good deal of her day online, I reacted as if there was nothing inherently flawed in Koski’s response, as long as the sites were maintained. I wrote: “Tell Koski that if he is counting on the schools to post the bus run schedules, he’d better be sure they are doing a better job of keeping up their websites than he is his departments’.”
So what’s the problem?
Just this: As hard as it may be for you, reading this online, and for me, writing this, to remember or believe, not every household in Huntsville has a computer. And not every household that has a computer has internet service.
That needs repeating: Not every household in Huntsville has a computer and internet service.
Because the HCS is scrambling to save pennies in the schools, while spending freely downtown, fewer printed copies of announcements, syllabi, study guides, and so on are being distributed. Ask a question and you are told the answer is online.
There would be nothing wrong with that response if it were possible for all students and parents to go online. It isn’t.
You don’t believe me? My child has a friend who comes over whenever there is an online assignment, whether my daughter is home or not. She knows what to do; all we need to do is open the door.
Why doesn’t she go to the library? To go to the public library means that mom, who needs to be at work at 6 am, needs to load up toddler and 6-year-old to go along, since dad works afternoons and evenings. Once at the public library, there is usually a wait to get time on a computer. And like most teens, this girl sometimes doesn’t start Monday’s homework until long after the Sunday closing hours.
So why doesn’t she use the computers in her school’s library?
I love libraries, but I have to say I no longer see the point of investing more in the schools’. Kids aren’t allowed in the building until 7:30 in the morning, and have to clear out at 3:15, unless they are part of an organized extracurricular activity. So when are they supposed to use their library for work, or, imagine this, pleasure reading?
But this is a digression. We were talking about assuming that all parents can access essential information online.
It’s a false assumption. There are some that can’t.
We who are fortunate need to remember that we are just that — fortunate, lucky, privileged. That means there are those who don’t have what we have. Simple idea, easily overlooked.
Thought for the day, HCS:
Not every household in Huntsville has a computer and internet service.
In these households are parents and children whose need for information must be met. The HCS and its Board are not doing their jobs if there is information that is available to some, but not all, parents.