Monday, February 20, 2017

Parents' Coalition members call for support of HB 866/SB 1089, "Primary and Secondary Education - Health and Safety Guidelines and Procedures - Digital Devices" @screensandkids

The Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland has been working with stakeholders throughout the state of Maryland for fifteen years, seeking timely remediation for issues which threaten our children, greater transparency and accountability; and meaningful community input.

We have been providing parents, educators and lawmakers with pertinent medical information regarding the health threats posed to our children by classroom digital devices for over a year.  The hazards facing Maryland students range from visual damage, headaches, dry eyes, muscular pain and joint pain to sleeplessness, anxiety and addiction. 

Parents in Montgomery County are also concerned about the risks posed by the radiation emitted by the classroom digital devices and the Wi-fi routers installed in many schools.

It only makes sense that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene should devise health and safety regulations to protect our growing children from these hazards. We know the devices are harmful to the students' health, so we need medical experts to create a plan to protect them. 

Please pass House Bill 866/Senate Bill 1089, "Primary and Secondary Education - Health and Safety Guidelines and Procedures - Digital Devices" and make sure our children do not suffer unnecessarily.  The damage to their eyes and bodies may be permanent and should be avoided.  Parents in Montgomery County will not stand by idly and allow that to happen, given that the teachers and the schools have a duty of care to provide a safe learning environment.

We look forward to your support of HB866/SB1089.   Thank you for your attention to this important child safety legislation.


Paula Bienenfeld              Sheldon Fishman
Joseph Hawkins                Janis Zink Sartucci
Danuta Wilson

Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, MD

Formed in 2002, the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, Maryland seeks to achieve the goals of coherent, content-rich curriculum standards; high expectations combined with timely remediation and acceleration; a wider range of educational options for parents and children; greater transparency and accountability; and meaningful community input.
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  1. "The hazards facing Maryland students range from visual damage, headaches, dry eyes, muscular pain and joint pain to sleeplessness, anxiety and addiction."
    Welcome to the digital information age!

    1. Information or gaming/entertainment? Let's not lump all screen time into information when so much of it is entertainment.

    2. Going the route of splitting hairs:
      Data: Facts, a description of the World
      Information: Captured Data and Knowledge
      Knowledge: Our personal map/model of the World

    3. You must be new to this county. The explanation is not splitting hairs at all. "Information" is what the traveling sales folks use to "sell" MCPS administrators over bulk screen purchases over lunches/dinners and at conferences. It's all about the marketing of these screens.

      Since you are new, you might not be aware that every single MCPS classroom, including PE classes, has a Promethean Board bolted to the center of the chalk board. That's one huge screen that all students are staring at all day. Where is the data that shows these Promethean Boards closed the achievement gap? That was the marketing pitch! Did they do that?

      What "information" and knowledge have Promethean Boards imparted on students that teachers could not teach? Let's see the studies on these gigantic screens! We know they were fun for games and entertainment, but where is the data on the educational outcomes?

      It's not the "digital information age" if it's just a big screen for Disney movies.

    4. I presume that the Promethean Boards were touted as high tech tools for the teachers to effectively transfer knowledge to their pupils. However, there is such a thing as a manual override it is called an ON/OFF switch.

    5. Excuse? Were teachers having a problem transferring knowledge without Promethean Boards? The Promethean Boards weren't touted as anything. The MCPS Chief Technology officer, Sherwin Collette, got free trips from Promethean. MCPS got thousands of Promethean Boards.

      As for ON/OFF - that's a NO. The Boards were installed, at Sherwin Collette's direction, directly in the MIDDLE of all chalk boards, thus eliminating the use of chalk boards in classrooms. Teachers and students have no choice but to stare at the large screens all day, the students can't see the middle of the chalk boards anymore.

    6. For clarity, the Board of Education NEVER voted to put thousands of Promethean Boards in classrooms. That was a decision of Sherwin Collette and Larry Bowers. The Parents' Coalition has documented this illegal procurement.

      And there was that one teacher at Blair that refused to teach until the Promethean Board was removed from the front of his classroom.

    7. It sounds like the 'Prometheus Board' that serves as a high tech babysitter has sparked a different brand of firestorm.

    8. A Prometheus Board on the chalkboard is like an iPhone on the dashboard.


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