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  • Jeff Cooper
    May 23, 2006
      The following rant shakes and rambles the status quo and is filled
      with many generalizations. I'm painting with a broad brush here for
      possible further discourse. If any of these issues hit home with you,
      we can continue the dialogue, if not, then drop it!

      The reactionary "State of Filtering" in K-12 schools completely appals
      me. Someone has an inappropriate blog? Ban all blogs. MySp@ce
      exists? Ban anything and everything with the word in it, and oh,
      let's actually make illegal any website based upon community. Playboy
      exists? Ban all magazines. The list goes on and on and no one seems
      to care that all of these actions do not truly protect our kids, but
      completely erode freedom of speech, not to mention putting a huge
      damper on using the Net for educational purposes.

      If our country were truly serious about protecting kids, we would have
      created .sex and .xxx domains rather than dump the idea a month ago.
      The religious right controls many of the filtering software companies
      and uses its power to further its own religious agenda rather than
      truly making the Net a safer place for all. Trying to keep students
      from "seeing anything and everything bad" means filtering much that is
      good. Of course, our country and mainstream media loves to vilify the
      Net and paint it as a place wholly inhabited by predators. Dateline
      has done 10 of the same "to catch a predator" shows, but has yet to
      show any positive ways for students or parents to act online. Indeed,
      have you *ever* seen a mainstream media show that shows anything
      positive about the Internet?

      We've allowed what happens in schools to become so politicized through
      NCLB that educators have their hands completely tied as far as what
      best practices they may employ. Why doesn't the NEA and ACLU file a
      lawsuit eliminating filters? Indeed, why isn't there a filtering
      system that operates in the opposite way? Namely, if a site contains
      inappropriate material a button is clicked and that site becomes noted
      as suspect and then reviewed to ban? Of course this will never happen
      because it means some kid somewhere might see something bad.

      I think the negativist view of the Net coupled with the appalling lack
      of support for educators means that very few use the Net with their
      classes. I'd be amazed if more than 10% of educators nationwide
      integrate the Net into any of their classes even once a year. Pew, do
      you have a report on this? The chilling effect freezes the Net.

      OK... that's pretty much enough of a rant for now. I think I'll go
      back to bed for a few.


      Jeff Cooper
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