Paranoia in Education Strikes Again!

cover shot of Children of Paranoia

cover shot of Children of Paranoia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I work for a paranoid school district.

It doesn’t trust students.

It doesn’t trust teachers.

It doesn’t trust administrators.

It doesn’t trust parents.

It doesn’t trust the public.

It is afraid that students will learn things that aren’t in the curriculum.

It is afraid that students will learn things that haven’t been approved in advance.

It is afraid that its teachers are not capable of teaching responsible use of the internet.

It is afraid that its teachers are not capable of teaching responsible use of social media.

There is a lot of good educational content on YouTube and YouTube for Education.

It doesn’t let students access YouTube in school, not even YouTube for Education.

It doesn’t let teachers access YouTube in school, not even YouTube for Education.

It doesn’t let school administrators access YouTube in school, not even YouTube for Education.

It doesn’t let principals override the filters that prevent access to those and other useful websites.

This can only be because it does not trust us. Any of us.

It does not let students, teachers or school administrators access Facebook in school, even though there is a lot of educational content on Facebook.

Even though we are required to teach students how to use social media responsibly.

Soon we won’t even be able model social media use for students.

The City is going to ban teachers and students from interacting over Facebook.

It doesn’t trust us.

Not at all. I bet the City would love to figure out how to stop teachers and students from interacting in the supermarket, the Laundromat, the shopping mall.

Heck, they’d probably even like to find a way to keep us from interacting in the classroom. Everyone knows how much trouble we can get into there.

There is an old adage that says you should treat people the way you want them to be. If you want young people to act like adults, treat them that way. That’s what I try to do in my library.

But the NYCDOE treats me and my colleagues like little children.

They are illogical.

They are insulting.

Or am I being paranoid?

5 Responses to Paranoia in Education Strikes Again!

  1. James Boutin says:

    Sort of the situation in most districts across the country. It would be nice if it weren’t that way, though.

  2. Deven, great look at the state of education in the public arena. Public schooling is about control – not just forcing kids to conform, but teachers, administrators, and all involved. It’s the unseen hand we feel causing the hairs on our neck to bristle…in a scary, creepy way. Big Brother at his finest. Peace and freedom my friend.

  3. Sounds familiar. And, what’s interesting is that trust is so important for risk taking. And, risk taking is so critical to learning. But, I guess that’s no longer the point of school. Or was it ever? Sad all the way around. Recently, I saw this question: knowing all you about the current state of teaching, would you become a teacher today? Had to think about that one…

  4. Yes, I think I know how you would respond :). I’m not sure I know what I would say for myself as teaching has been my life’s calling until recently. I’ve discovered there’s more to life than teaching and I’m feeling a bit bereft on that side of my life, although all else is good. So, I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have teaching as my life’s work. But, I guess this response is because of the joys of teaching I’ve experienced throughout my career. I don’t know if I could start out as a teacher now given the current situation. I guess it’s still a conundrum for me!

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