Thursday, November 16, 2017
A Tale Of Two Schools And Their Cellphone Use.
When Mayor Bill de Blasio consolidated his control of the New York City Public Schools he eliminated the cellphone ban and gave principals the option to impose their own rules of cellphone use. The result was that some students obeyed the rules and others did not. This post is a tale of two schools. School A is a high achieving specialized school while school 2 is a high poverty low achieving school. How has the cellphone policy worked at both schools?
First, the reason Bill de Blasio lifted the cellphone ban was that his son, who went to Brooklyn Tech convinced him that students only would use their phones when absolutely necessary. Of course we teachers know the truth, that cellphones are a distraction and harms academic achievement. Most Principals tried to set up reasonable cellphone use, limiting them to school cafeterias. However, this policy quickly changed to prohibiting cellphone use in classrooms and relied on the teachers to enforce the rules as the administration failed or refused to do their job when it came to cellphones. The result is that in most high schools cellphone usage is a failure, be it in the hallways or the classrooms.
In school A, a specialized high school, students follow the cellphone rules and only use them in the school cafeteria, seldom does one see a student walking in the hallways with a cellphone and rarely does a teacher need to tell students to put their cellphones away in class. Obviously, these high achieving students care about their grades and realize that using a cellphone in class could result in reduced grades and lower academic achievement.
By contrast, school B, the high poverty and low achieving student body, Renewal Schools are one example, have their cellphones out almost all the time. Be it in the classroom or the hallways. Any rules the administration imposed on student cellphone use are ignored once the school let''s the student with the cellphone into the building, and students realize that their is little or no consequences to violating the cellphone rules. Moreover, with far too many administrations relying on teachers to enforce the rule, the teacher must spend countless minutes of instructional time disciplining students for using their cellphone. Eventually, the teacher tire of this battle and simply goes on with the lesson while the students continue to look at at their cellphone and are distracted by what they see. The result is the student fails to take proper notes and learn the subject/
The bottom line the New York City Public Schools should reimpose the banning of cellphones in the schools. Read my previous posts Here, Here and Here.