Four candidates are running for an open at-large seat on the Rock Hill school board. Over the next few days, The Herald will publish their answers to questions about issues facing the school district.
The candidates are Dan Ballou, a civil trial lawyer; Terry Hutchinson, an automotive technician; Tyrie Rowell, a Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools after school program administrator; and Wayne Wingate, a former bagel shop owner.
The district has been buying iPads while asking parents to buy their children the device to use at school. Superintendent Lynn Moody has said she wants to enlist churches, businesses and generous givers to donate iPads for students whose families cant, or wont, buy one. What do you think of her plan? If you were on the board, would you support it? Why?
Ballou: I dont believe a goal of the district should be to put an iPad in each childs hand. Its a tool that in appropriate settings can be very valuable.
This strategy has not really considered the realities of each individual classroom. Are the teachers integrating them in the curriculum? IPads can be very distracting. I also have a problem putting the charitable resources of the community behind this without community buy-in. We have so many other needs in our schools.
Its driven as much by Apple as it is by educators. If were relying on a technology that does not encourage depth of analysis and a slower pace of learning to absorb material, I dont know if this is the direction we need to move in.
I dont have a problem with having some iPads available. But we shouldnt be borrowing money to fund it.
Hutchinson: I would support a tablet, not necessarily an iPad. Her initiative to go after community support is a good thing, especially with the less privileged children we have in our school district. It is up to the parents. The iPad might be a little more efficient, but some families can afford a $300 tablet but not a $500 tablet plus insurance.
I dont know if I like the idea of using a bond to pay for the iPads we already have. That should have come out of the reserve. I support the bond for the network infrastructure, but not the devices.
Rowell: I support that idea just because there are parents at this time of need who are struggling. Soliciting different organizations is a great thing. At first I was a little skeptical because I thought, Im all for it, but is it going to cost the district money that we dont have?
Soliciting donations is a great way to start. The idea of donations and different organizations sponsoring the effort is a great idea.
Wingate: Weve got to move forward with technology. Its not the future. Its the present. Its an extremely important teaching tool.
There will be iPads in the classroom. There are now. At this point, not every student has one. Its more beneficial for students to have their own. The potential and ability to expand learning is just mind boggling. Kids are more invested in this. If theyre interested in it and they like the technology, theyre going to be more apt to be engaged.
Its great for the community to get behind it. There will be groups who come forward to help get them to students who cant afford them.
Compiled by Shawn Cetrone