Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Old Spice guy says, "Laptops for Babies"

Due to a bad circumstance at work which doesn't need to be detailed here, I'm full of vitriol and since last post was number 333 (the step-son of the beast), I'm keen to spew some bile on the Internet today.

Latching on to the first story to catch my interest, let's talk about division. One of the most surefire way to destroy camaraderie is to show favoritism; think Ender from the teen-age literary staple, "Ender's game". Equality, fairness, and advancement based on merit are cohesive forces, and can see progress even disparate from individual to individual without leaving resentment in its wake. In Canada's history, the government sought to destroy the natives by taking their children away, leaving separation and alienation behind. The damage done by residential schools, which were operating until as recently as 1996, caused schisms between generations that prevail even today, despite the Healing Foundation's efforts, which some speculate are undermined by the current government's financial assistance of Native Canadians (which is only given if the recipient lives on residential land and follows "Indian regulations" ). This financial assistance has caused some Natives to become dependant on the government's help, thus depriving them of the critical autonomy needed to repair the damage done to their culture.

Recently, the government woke from it's Brobdignagian slumber to notice the discrepancy in graduation rates (I guess a 42% grad rate is not as good as an 84%, who knew?) between aboriginals and non-aboriginals across Canada (the worst rate was in Manitoba at 71% failing to graduate) . They vowed to do something about it and so Belinda Stronach is here to make everything better. She's riding in on a white horse with a bunch of low-cost laptops, similar to a type being distributed through a children's foundation in the U.S. About 5000 will be handed out to children between the ages of 6 to 12. Her heart's in the right place; she hopes to encourage education through technology, although I guarantee the built-in wireless Internet has Mayoral Candidate Bob Ligertwood choking on his watercress sandwich ("They have what?!"); but any parent can attest to what happens when you favor one child over another: Chaos and anger. Considering the fairly narrow age range of the recipients, it's not a stretch to imagine there will be children within the same household unit jealously watching their siblings receive a new laptop. Sure, we can say it will promote sharing and all that, but what kid at 6 wants to share their new toy equitably?

"So what?" says the disillusioned masses, "At least it's something." That's a good point, but why do we so often accept 'good enough' for things when they effect other's well-being? Not to forget, even though each laptop only costs around one hundred eighty eight dollars, that computes to $940,000, and that figure only includes the cost of each laptop, not including distribution and peripherals. I can not understand why this money could not be better spent elsewhere. Textbooks for example, or a non-toxic school environment. At least this way the kids can google what type of mould is slowly choking out their lungs.

Let's be honest about the whole issue; simply giving money to rebuild the school would show favoritism for Natives; not the message the Liberals want to send. It wants to show it is sexy. It likes technology. It is hip. Vote for Liberals and you'll give laptops to babies. I wish I didn't think this would work to gain votes.

1 comment:

Roots said...

No, this is a terrible idea. You can't just toss a few computers to the masses and expect it will enhance education. I guarantee each and every child will download msn and some video games and play around with it rather then use it for any kind of educational purpose, save for the sex-Ed they will receive when they "Stumble Upon" any of the millions of porn on the internet. I suppose it will assist the birds and bees talk when they have visual aids to help.

If you REALLY wanted to enhance education you need to make school more interesting. You need incentives. You need teachers that actually CARE to teach. And these teacher's need to help these kids understand that education is important if they want to become self sufficient and grow beyond the mold that society likes to put them in.

I could rant for hours about education (or lack thereof) especially among aboriginals. No it's not racist, it's a fact and it really bothers me to see such a great culture dissolve into the mass of drinking, homeless wretches we see every day.

Well I'll stop here for now.