The following is a true story from a family who wishes to remain anonymous. I have respected their request. Please, be aware.
“FREE Computers” for deserving students:
The educational conference I attended had a sign up table with little to no information other than ‘nominate your students’.
Of course ‘free’ was the catch. However, because of the contact directing me to this, I thought everything was ‘cool’. Not hearing anything for months, I figured the program was a bust. However, recently, I was alerted we were number 3 in line. That, no our computer wouldn’t be free, but only $100.00. That sent my radar up. Then, the statement, of the computers are refurbished was spoken. Another radar. So, I called the non profit responsible for this. The lady was as nice as could be. I explained that all I could see is that computers were given via their “Tech Scholars” program. Nothing about programming them before the students received them. I did notice some of the partners logos to my right, known CCSS supporters/data miners. A huge radar went off. However, to be fair, I wanted to find out the answers to my 2 simple questions. I told the nice lady who I was, why I was calling. She took my first question, “Are the programs you install before giving them to the students aligned with Common Core Standards?” Her reply, “Common Core? Umm, no.” My next question, “Are the programs in any way data mining because I noticed some of your partners are?” Nice lady, “No, they do not.” She went on to tell me if I had questions about the programs typically installed, I needed to go another website that lists all the programs they used. I thanked her and hung up.
At the New Site:
This site showed me ‘shout out’ kind of messages about which non profit was doing what with their programs. I spied the one that has my student’s name in the pot. I click the link. There are 2 options before me with the words, ‘typically provided’. Hhmm…does that mean more, less, or customized? If customized, who’s the one who decides? So, figuring I’ve made it this far, I go on. Math is first. Easy, the banner is cute, with a bee and flowers. On one of the petals, “Standards” is written, I click there. Before my eyes I see state standards from across the nation (those which didn’t align with CCSS) and then..yep, there the Math CCSS ones are. I sigh, not really surprised. I just see my student not receiving this ‘free’ gift. Well, on to the writing program. Wonder if it will be so easy to spy CCSS here, is what I catch myself saying in my head. Not as easy to spy, I click a few places and then see the “Creative Commons”, oops. There’s the tie. Now, I KNOW this student won’t get this computer.
Why This is a Big Deal:
First, the non profit which encouraged me to enter this program is a ministry.
Second, the non profit giving computers didn’t have accurate answers.
Third, if you are giving away educational computers you should absolutely be able to know what CCSS is.
Fourth, as an anti CCSS person, there is no way I’m staying in a program like this and my student will not be getting this gift. I don’t care how cash strapped we are.
Lastly, we are a homeschooling family. Don’t tell me CCSS doesn’t impact us! I chose to homeschool so I could get away from CCSS! What if I had NOT asked those 2 simple questions?
Are we, as a society, so attached to the gimmick of ‘free’ that we don’t stop to ask ‘what’s in it?’ before we receive that ‘free computer’? We have students, children with allergies of all kinds, we are watchdog enough over what they eat, drink, and do. We must be watchdog enough to ask the hard questions, the unpopular questions. The questions that cause the receptionist to do a double take.
WOULD You Ask?
Links to the above true story:
http://www.ubermix.org/ (shows which companies or non profits are helping)
http://www.libreoffice.org/about-us/who-are-we/ (the writing program)
http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/ (the math program)
http://opensource.org/ (also connected to the ‘free computers’)
*Names have been withheld to protect the family involved. If you have a similar story, please share. IF you are NOT a homeschooler and have a similar story, please contact me. Let’s get the word out there. CCSS is hiding. We need to know where.