By Meghan Serceki | Opinion Editor
September 21, 2016
Last year, the Capistrano Unified School District announced they would discontinue funding for Google Chromebooks at San Clemente High School, leaving teachers with only a small number of these valuable resources and with no money to repair them as they go through the normal wear-and-tear of everyday use.
In today’s world, students must feel comfortable using technology as it plays an ever-increasing role in people’s lives and has grown into more of a necessity rather than a desire. Employers expect students to graduate high school with a working understanding of various softwares, and the new Common Core curriculum expects students to test on computers more and more over the coming years. However, the district recently resolved to stop funding all Chromebook expenses at San Clemente High School, begging the question of how, then, students will be able to accomplish these requisites.
Chromebooks just began making an appearance in the English classrooms at the high school these past few years and have already revolutionized learning activities: teachers and students submit, edit, comment on, and grade assignments through Google Classroom; pupils prepare and present material through Google Slides; and the safe, academic technological interface allows for greater communication and feedback among the students and educators. According to Ms. Caroline Dutton, an English teacher instructing classes that range from IB/AP Language and Composition to English Language Development, “Chromebooks bring the real world into the classroom; students have access to information, skills, and collaborative experiences that they can then apply to school, work, and life.” Students and teachers alike have realized these benefits. Caitlyn Klemm, a junior at San Clemente High School, notes, “Chromebooks in schools have given students a wider array of knowledge at their fingertips.” Such resources not only create a needed technological skill set, but they also produce greater collaboration between students–two goals for twenty-first century learning.
Beyond this, Common Core standards require students to have both access to and competence of computers for Smarter Balance testing. If the district makes no (or very few) Chromebooks and computers available to the students, then testing will be very difficult for teachers to administer and will also be extremely strenuous and stressful for students who are uncomfortable with the technology needed to successfully test.
Some have proposed a “Bring Your Own Device” program to fix this problem, but not everyone has a device to bring. Implementing this policy would under-serve the less privileged, doing little to help those who need it the most and acting unfairly to a number of students. Each scholar deserves the opportunity to learn and grow, and if schools do not provide this opportunity equally, then who will?
The Capistrano Unified School District desires to “prepare our students to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world,” yet, without technology, San Clemente High School will fall behind our world’s standards and expectations. Providing an education to over three thousand students, the school must keep technology a prominent part of its curriculum and cannot see it unfunded. While deciding funding for this coming year, the district should keep this in mind and continue to provide these much-needed resources to San Clemente High School.