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Teach Your Children Well

(Rep. Newt Gingrich's column about wiring schools for the Internet touched a nerve with our readers, and we hear from programmers on the Y2K crisis.)

Newt Gingrich has the right idea about supplying classrooms with the tools of the information age (Dialog Box, October). But Mr. Gingrich missed an important point. If the computer sits in the corner collecting dust, then it's a worthless tool. In my town, nine out of 10 teachers say that the kids don't get any exposure to the computers. One teacher says she lets the kids play games on it as a reward for good behavior. I know that a lot of parents think computers are only for video games. How do we convince these parents that the schools, and the kids, need computers? How do we get the school to require teachers to use the computer as a teaching aid?

Keith Browne

via the Internet

I would think that Mr. Gingrich, of all people, should understand the mechanisms driving the free enterprise system. Investments into wiring schools for the Internet, as is the case in his cited example, will only be considered in localities where benefits may be expected within reasonable time limits. Schools within major population centers and close to high-tech industries will be able to provide their students with the educational hardware necessary to access the Internet. This consequently will lead to a disparity in educational and occupational opportunities. Mr Gingrich's political agenda must have taken precedence over his intellect.

Manfred Paulun

via the Internet

Rep. Gingrich raises an important question about our responsibility to our schools and students. The U.S. Tech Corps (http://www.ustc.org) is an excellent umbrella organization, working with state chapters, to match volunteers in the high-tech industry with their local public school systems. As a volunteer with the Massachusetts Tech Corps since its inception, I have greatly enjoyed assisting and supporting my local school system as it deploys new technology. Volunteers are needed to help in every aspect, from technical troubleshooting to wiring our schools; from helping teachers and staff keep up with the kids to working on educational projects in the classroom. It is rare that we in the computer industry get to volunteer our skills in a way that truly contributes to society; the U.S. Tech Corps provides such an opportunity. I recommend it!

Richard Dale

via the Internet

Copyright 1997 CMP Media Inc.

(From Windows Magazine, January 1997, page 30.)