Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mad Dash to the Finish Line in SD61

Apparently the issue of wi-fi in schools has somehow become a bit of an issue in the race for trustees in School District 61 (Victoria). Not the lack of transparency of the Board. Not the management of $200,000,000+ every year. Not the silence of the Board during the strike. But wi-fi in schools.

I find this interesting because it was not even discussed at the all-candidates meeting I attended at the beginning of the campaign. I don't remember seeing it anywhere in the piles of literature I was handed by any candidates and their proxies. It is not something that I have heard discussed in PAC meetings or hallways in any of the three schools my children attend.

It was such a  non-issue that when it suddenly appeared as a major issue in the last week I was shocked. When I found a number of people publicly declaring that the would not support X, Y or Z candidate for their stance on wi-fi I became concerned as some of those people were on my list of endorsements.

Thing is, wi-fi in schools for me, is a total non-issue.

Not that I would object to it. I live in a home with wi-fi and where I work wi-fi coverage is ubiquitous. I find the objections to wi-fi to rank somewhere between anti-vaccination and crystal healing on the crazy scale. It was a fad in much the same way gluten-free has infected our food system and I guess some people still think there are issues and are asking for more protection for our kids.

No I find it a non-issue because I live in the real world where wi-fi in our public schools would be pretty much pointless. Teachers have wired connections for their computers. Students are not (yet) issued with personal tablets they use in class. The only thing wi-fi in our schools would provide right now is easy access to Facebook and YouTube for kids who happen to have personal devices.

Someday I hope that we have wi-fi everywhere in the schools and the technology to make it part of every single students individual learning plan. By that time I hope we have shown that there is nothing to fear from such installations in our schools. Thing is, that time will not be until we have the money to totally revamp our entire system and re-equip our schools. So not anytime in the next few years at least.

 But right now, right here, there are real issues of representation and suppression of progressive voices in this election. Right now we need trustees who will do what is best for our kids and not follow party lines or kowtow to government attacks on our schools. Whether or not they support wi-fi in Victoria schools in the next four years is sadly irrelevant.

Which brings me back to why is it suddenly an issue when no one has been talking about it? Could it perhaps be a wedge issue to throw out at the last minute to muddy the waters?

No. It couldn't be, could it?
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