A Truce in the Digital Nation

To the oddsmakers’ surprise, the Parent Imperfect and Mr. Vince have reached an accord to establish a period after each school day during which the latter will focus on school work without access to text messages. The negotiation was relatively bloodless.

The PI credits Vince’s sixth sense–the one that tells him when it makes sense to go with the program, even if it doesn’t make sense. By coincidence, on the day of the change, Vince had a meeting with his guidance counselor at the nation’s oldest public school. Besides testing his “emotional intelligence,” she apparently reached him in some way with thoughts about how a bit more focus on his school work might be a good thing for him. Support systems at the school could certainly be strengthened, but it is an exaggeration to say that they don’t exist.

Another factor might be the Digital Nation show produced by Frontline. Vince watched the first hour of the show with his parents on Tuesday night, and the stories of Internet addiction in South Korea and MIT students who can’t put two paragraphs together got Vince’s attention. Of course the fact that the main critic of the Internet’s impact didn’t seem to know how to tie his tie did strain the credibility of his argument. It was the first time in memory that Vince and his parents watched something together and had a good conversation about it.

Vince insists, probably correctly, that this would happen more often if they had TV reception that didn’t require the PI to perch or the wooden arm of the couch with his hand on the rabbit ears for the entire show.

Speaking of the Boston Public Schools, the School Committee will meet tonight to discuss a budget proposal from the Superintendent that would cut $57 million (a bit more than 5%) from the school department budget for next year. How many drone flights do we buy for $57 million?

This after budget cuts in each of the previous two years, one wonders how an already troubled system absorbs those kinds of cuts.

At the Hernández, the rumor mill says the school is lucky because of the special budget provisions for English Language Learners, but that at least two teaching positions will need to go. The last round of big budget cuts happened when Vince was about to enter first grade, and the next year was an absolute disaster. We’ll hope for less upheaval this time around.


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