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Flat-screen TVs, iPads not a help

October 26, 2011
Lake Placid News
To the editor:

Sept. 6 during the (Lake Placid Central School District) Board of Education meeting, there was a technology update presentation by Keven Kerr. Mr. Kerr seemed very dedicated and positive about what he will be able to do for the school. It was presented that the school has purchased five Bravia LCD digital color, flat-screen monitors and that iPads for administration and every teacher will be purchased by the end of the year. The monitors are installed: one in the administration building, outside the middle/high school office, the middle/high school cafeteria, the elementary school in the 21st Century Class Room and the elementary school cafeteria.

The cost of the iPads for administration and every teacher and five Sony Bravia LCD digital color TV screens is staggering to me. In the difficult budget year that we all just lived through, I have a hard time understanding how these purchases could have been made. The teachers did not ask for iPads. The iPads are not for the students. I have written to every board member. I met with the superintendent to better understand how these purchases will improve any educational programs for our students. I was told the purchase was needed to bring the school into the 21st century. I have been told the budget line item for Technology Support of $34,000 will be exceeded. Money will be taken from other areas to cover the cost. This is not acceptable to me. What will we lose?

I live in the 21st century — and one thing that is important is being financially responsible, which our children need to learn as well. The ability to constantly “stream information” to students is not essential. This is not an emergency purchase; this will not help my children. The cost seems wildly disproportionate to the academic benefit to the students. I had asked for data that shows how this purchase will improve test scores or help my children learn. It has not been provided.

Beside the cost, I feel it is inappropriate to put a flat-screen TV in the elementary school cafeteria. Children in K-5 do not need to receive a “constant stream” of information. In fact, there are multiple reports on the harmful effects of excessive screen time on children. The facts are clear and undisputed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting a child’s use of TV, movies, video, DVDs and computer games to no more than one or two hours a day. Too much screen time has been linked to obesity, behavior problems, impaired academic performance, violence and less time for creative play.

The Lake Placid community has a great commitment to provide our children with healthy play. Private funds were raised to make Paw Print Park happen for our children. The FRIENDS organization last year purchased toys and board games for recess so our children would not be put in front of movies on “rain days.” To have installed a flat screen in the cafeteria is a contradiction to what so many people have worked so hard to to accomplish.

We all want the school to provide the best for our students, but that must include setting an example of financial responsibility. Every financial decision has to have a direct benefit to our children. My children do not need flat-screen monitors or the teachers to have iPads. Thank you.

Patti Gallagher



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