It’s a case of parental rights pitted against what educators say is a skill that students need to know, reports the News & Observer of North Carolina: Although some parents have requested that their children be kept away from the internet at school, Wake County school officials say the web is too valuable an educational tool for them to completely bar students from using it. "They will not get unfettered access to school computers if parents object," said Bev White, the Wake school system’s chief technology officer. "But there are educational situations where a child needs to go on the internet with supervision." That approach isn’t good enough for Ranee Cloud, a Wake Forest mother who has tried to block her daughter from getting internet access at elementary school. Cloud filed a grievance that was recently rejected by the Wake school board. "The denial of access form is meaningless," Cloud said. "If they’re going to ask if you want to deny access, then they should stand by their word." White said only 80 of Wake’s more than 139,000 students are denied internet access by their parents. Yet, the internet is increasingly being used for tests, research projects, and classroom exercises. "How do you prepare student to be globally competitive in the 21st century without them having Internet access?" asked John Brim, assistant director and chief operating officer of the N.C. Virtual Public School. Cloud is skeptical of how critical the internet is at the elementary-school level, where her daughter is a third-grader. "When you’re in elementary school, what’s the problem with using an encyclopedia to do research, or a library book?" she asked. But White said there can be a big difference when relying on encyclopedias that are not current. For instance, she said, a student researching U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for president, would get a much different report from using an encyclopedia from going online…

Click here for the full story

About the Author:

eSchool News