A The New York Times article has revealed that some Silicon Valley parents are sending their kids to the area’s decidedly low-tech Waldorf school. Nothing wrong with that – but these are the children of the chief technology officer of eBay and execs from Google and Apple.
You’d have thought executives at top tech firms would be keen to enroll their children in schools full of the latest education technology, writes Liz Dwyer at GOOD.
As we’re constantly encouraged to send our children to schools with one-to-one laptops, iPad programs, digital textbooks, and teachers engaging students using Twitter, being told that access to technology is seen as key to getting kids college- and career-ready, Waldorf’s computer-free campuses are a sharp contrast.
The tech-free teaching methods are designed to foster a lifelong love of learning and teach students how to concentrate deeply and master human interaction, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
While that may sound out of place at a time when moms brag about their 3-year-olds’ abilities to operate iPads, there’s an appeal to Waldorf schools’ philosophy that students should “experience” literature, math, and science—along with visual and performing arts—in a developmentally appropriate way, writes Dwyer.
“I fundamentally reject the notion you need technology aids in grammar school,” said Alan Eagle, 50, whose daughter is one of the 196 children at the Waldorf elementary school. His son William, 13, is at the nearby middle school.
“The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic, that’s ridiculous.”
Some education experts agree and say that the push to equip classrooms with computers is unwarranted because studies do not clearly show that this leads to better test scores or other measurable gains.
Dwyer asks, however, if it is hypocritical for people who make their money from technology that’s sold to the masses—and is increasingly peddled to schools as the solution to education’s problems—to shun it for their own children?
“After all, they have the luxury of being able to teach their kids technology skills: If mom and dad have Google or Apple pedigrees, chances are the kids are going to pick up tech skills eventually. And, given that 94 percent of Waldorf high school graduates go on to college, being ready for higher education obviously isn’t a problem.”