Calls for Tech in D.C. Schools Fall on Unsympathetic Ears

According to the group OurDC, grade schools in the nation’s capital are suffering from a lack of technology. Having set up a candlelight vigil this weekend at Turner at Green Elementary School in Southeast, they are campaigning for more iPads and high-tech schooling equipment, mentions an editorial from the Washington Times.

“My school needs the other apples,” protestors chanted.  They were there to demand additional federal stimulus money be poured into the educational system.

But the amount of money the District spends per pupil is already considerable — especially the amount devoted to school administrators.

OurDC orchestrated the protest to push for a particular passage of President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which includes an $85 million handout that would allow schools to purchase electronic products from Cupertino.

But the Washington Times isn’t impressed.

“These aren’t concerned parents looking to improve their children’s future. Rather, these are highly partisan goons who have gone out of their way to harass Republican members of Congress at their homes and churches, going so far as to show up wearing clown suits at Rep. Frank Wolf’s Herndon office because the Virginia Republican voted against a big-spending project.”

The editorial points out that former D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee showed that “writing a fat check to the existing bureaucracy” isn’t the key to success.

The Times editorial believes Rhee boosted test scores by shoving underperforming teachers and principals out the door, which annoyed the unions and entrenched bureaucracy to the point of her being forced to resign after the election of Mayor Vincent C. Gray.

Having accountable teachers devoted to instructing children on the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic is what matters, not high-tech gizmos, writes the editorial.

“The District’s pupils would be better served by unplugging all the gizmos that are little more than a distraction from the real academic subjects.”