Shortly after publishing a post titled The Seattle school board is asking the question: Where should technology fit into the education of K-12 students? on how the school board wanted to deliberate and have a conversation on the role of technology in Seattle public schools and therefore hold off on large purchases of computers and software, the board voted the next week to buy laptops for half of the students in seven schools.

What will be on the laptop is anyone’s guess.

The curriculum for Seattle Public Schools is overdue for a review and has not been done by the school board. The reason for this delay is because the staff involved with curriculum within the Seattle Public School administration has been dragging their feet.  My guess is that the software  installed on these laptops will have the narrow focus of the Common Core Standards with its concomitant testing and whatever else someone decides to upload to the computers but at this time, it’s anyone’s guess.

At Middle College high school in Seattle with a mostly minority population, a software called Edgenuity was installed for students. The focus of the school is theoretically on social justice. Now there are complaints by students and staff that the software curriculum is racist. No one apparently went through and thoroughly vetted the software before having it installed.

This begs the question, who’s in charge of what Seattle students learn and see when on a computer screen?

So far, it’s not the board because the question has not been asked by them. It’s certainly not local educators or parents to ensure the content is appropriate and within the goals of the school community.

If John Krull has his way, every student in Seattle will have a laptop and teachers will be relagated to the title of “coach” for 30 plus students. This is what occurred in Oakland where Krull was head of IT before making his way to Seattle. Now the Oakland school district is $30M in the hole but hey, all the kids have laptops! My guess, though, is no one knows what’s on them but John Krull and a few others.

Dora Taylor

For related articles, see:

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Serious student privacy concerns with new Summit/Facebook platform

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Releases Study on Student Data Privacy… or lack thereof

Ten questions for Seattle Public Schools’ IT Lead John Krull re: EdTech in schools and student privacy

From Neighborhood Schools to Learning Eco-Systems, A Dangerous Trade