WiFi in Public Schools: Vancouver Concerns, My Concerns

One of my goals is to act as soon as possible to limit unneeded wifi / wireless technology in our public schools. The “precautionary principle” means “Don’t act unless you are very sure of your conclusions”, and no one is very sure of the effects of wireless technology on our children. Research also points to negative effects on bees, who are fundamental to crops and food.

Jennifer West, the co-chair of the District Parent Advisory Council for Vancouver has significant concerns with the proliferation of wireless technology in Vancouver schools.

We were all holding cell phones close to  our heads a year or so ago, except for the few people who mentioned possible carcinogenic effects,and chose not to do that. Now we see headlines in mainstream newspapers cautioning us about the possible effects of cell phone radiation the brains of children and youth, and adults.

Meanwhile, School District 61 Trustees have allowed wireless technology in at least one elementary school, and are enthusiastically planning for it to be installed in middle schools and high schools.

Exactly how is wireless technology supposed to improve the graduation rates for aboriginal students, and for all students? The main beneficiaries here will be companies and corporations that supply the hardware and infrastructure, not our kids.

Improvements is graduation rates and in overall achievement come with increased teacher attention to individual students and their learning needs, the strengths of each child, and each child’s needs. A Smart Board will not do this.

Children are not impressed by our late take-up of technology. They are ahead of us on this curve. Institutions can never keep up with the expensive obsolescence of gadgets and technological innovation. Students could well see our “computer labs” as old tech. What we need to give our children and youth is public schools is truly personalized education – from a person: a teacher.

Tax money needs to go to hiring teachers, and restoring the class size and composition language that was illegally stripped from Victoria Teachers’ Collective (that means both parties, the Union and the Board, agreed to the provisions) Agreement, now.

We teach our children that if you do something wrong, you own up and make it right as soon as you can. Why can’t our government do that?

About Diane McNally