Monday, January 30, 2006

Distracted in Rome ...

Last week I highlighted school-stories from Utica. This week Rome has stolen the education spotlight.

Lab, RCS partner on cyber security. This is pretty interesting. In a partnership between AFRL, Syracuse U and Rome Catholic School, a course will be offered at RCS in cyber security as a "technical" elective. I feel a bit uncomfortable when K-12 curriculum gets tailored around the needs of particular industry, particularly when it sounds like recruiting before students know enough to lock into a career choice. Is such highly specialized fare appropriate for high school when the subject matter may be irrelevant by the time the student enters the work place? The shelf life for software is pretty short. In this age of Windows XP (soon to be supplanted by Vista), is training in MS-DOS still useful? Maybe this is OK for students who plan to immediately enter the job market on high school graduation -- and no one is forced to take it because it is an elective. However, I think students continuing their education might be better served by something more general that would provide a better foundation for specialization LATER in life.

In Rome students to get leg up on fun workout we find out about climbing walls being installed in 8 elementary schools. This just could be the cure for the obese "couch-potatoes" we've been told we are raising! I only hope that (1) the kids are supervised while using the walls, (2) there is a school nurse in the house, and (3) the schools are ready for a lawsuit when someone gets hurt.

In School program focuses on distracted driving, we are treated to students with faces painted white and going to class escorted by the "Grim Reaper" -- all to remind students of the highway deaths caused by distracted drivers. More events are planned throughout the year. Well, what about the DISTRACTION FROM EDUCATION that this entails? This involves someone getting a grant (the typical underlying factor) to infringe on valuable school time to advance a particular cause. It seems like every special interest group or teacher or principal with a pet interest is vying for airtime with the kids. No wonder we have so many functional illiterates. No one denies the problem with distracted driving -- but if this is such a problem among young people, then target the effort where it will do the most good: Driver's Ed and the DMV manuals and testing. Walking around school in costume is nonsense.

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Roman Hokie said...

Wrt 'distracted driving'... I completely agree with the distraction to education comments that you bring to the forefront.

I further would suggest that 16 might not be the correct age to start awarding CHILDREN the privilege to drive. I was irresponsible at that age, and, quite frankly, I think kids are LESS responsible than I was. "Here's a $25,000 piece of machinery that's capable of killing people. Don't be out too late. Oh, yeah, be careful."

Not wise.

RomeHater said...

I also don't think kids in high school should be working jobs at $7 an hour and distracting them from school. It might bring up wages if there wasn'ta huge 16 year old employment pool too.