Our Modern society is heavily dependent on technology. Our children deserve a head start when it comes to learning technology, and our teachers deserve the tools needed to succeed at their jobs. These tools come with concerns regarding the amount of screen time young students are exposed to, as well as privacy concerns regarding the technology platforms being used.
Many learning platforms, such as Canvas, Summit, and Amplify can be powerful tools, but they come at a cost to our student's privacy. We must ensure that the tools being used in our classrooms are not being used to mine our students data for profit. Student privacy should be a top priority in any technology packaged used by our district.
Students in New York recently led a protest related to privacy and the Summit platform that they are required to use. In addition to the privacy concerns, the platform failed to enhance the students educational experience. More details in the below link:
Find out more about student data and privacy concerns:
Numerous studies and polls have shown that our students are spending more time than ever in front of a screen, and doing homework. As technology progresses at breakneck speeds, we must ensure that our policies and educational stances address concerns regarding the amount of time our children spend in front of a screen.
Young students, whose brains are still developing, can have permanent damage done if there is too much screen time. It is essential that we follow the best medical research available to adhere to a screen time regiment that won't damage our children.
We must also review the reasons for longer screen times in the classroom and at home. Are we indeed teaching our children the essential lessons they need for future success, or are we simply "teaching to the test" and placing undue burden on our students to pass an arbitrary test that doesn't show future success?
A good example of improper use of screen time at home revolves around the teaching of math, and math homework. Decades of educational research show that learning math depends on practicing problems and writing out solutions. Moving math homework to a digital, multiple choice, platform denies our children the opportunity to learn properly.
Find out more about screen time concerns.
Our children are our most precious resource. They are our communities future leaders, and our success is dependent on their success. In order to ensure their future success, we must be vigilant about their safety and well being, both at home and in the classroom.
First and foremost we must ensure that every school in Pearland ISD is setup to be safe, and secure. We must ensure that all personnel on campus are trained in privacy and security, and that we don't allow ourselves to be lured into a sense of routine, that could allow gaps in the security of our children.
We must also ensure that we do not foster an environment where bullying is acceptable in any form, whether that be from other students, school staff, or outside sources. Our staff must be fully trained to recognize the signs of bullying, and we should ensure that every campus has the counselors needed to properly deal with any potential issues. Our staff should also recognize any signs of abuse, in order to become a trusted ally to our students in such situations. There are years of clinical research that can help guide us in developing effective and healthy policies for our students. Pearland ISD must be at the forefront of implementing such policies!
Find out more on the Department of Education's research into school safety.
Our children are our future, and in order to ensure their success we must properly fund local education. Public education funding in Texas is based on a series of formulas, that are supposed to take into account student needs, and balance funding based on property tax revenue in the district. These funding formulas have not been modified since 2006, and even then the formulas used were meant to be a temporary fix.
The state of Texas has reduced funding of public education by 11% in the last ten years, despite the growth of our student population. We must ensure that every child, in every classroom, receives an equitable amount of funding from local and state sources.
Without proper educational funding our schools will be unable to keep pace with growth. We must ensure that our children do not suffer from reduced educational funding. it is essential that we push for updated funding formulas for our schools.
Find out more about Texas Educational funding
Students must be given an educational experience that doesn't tie them to high stakes testing. Holding our children, and our schools accountable for the STAAR test, a metric that hasn't shown to improve student success in college or in the job market, is unfair and a waste of our resources.
Due to the lack of data that show STAAR as a successful measure of student success, I am supporting House Bill 736, which effectively removes STAAR as a measure of School and Student success.
Any statewide assessments that are conducted should only be done so in order to provide timely diagnostic data to educators, so that they can better tailor teaching to student needs. Currently the STAAR test doesn't accomplish any of this.
We must not support a "teach to the test" attitude for our children. Our educators know the best methods to properly educate our children. These methods are based on decades of continuing educational research, that we must embrace as a district.
Find out more about STAAR