Technocratic elites realize electronic devices are tools of distraction, dumbing down
A recent New York Times article exemplified how technological and billionaire elites live by different standards than they prescribe to the American populace.
A piece entitled “Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent,” discusses how the late Apple CEO refused to allow his children to play with one of the company’s most popular devices, the Ipad.
“So, your kids must love the iPad?” I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. “They haven’t used it,” he told me. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”
I’m sure I responded with a gasp and dumbfounded silence. I had imagined the Jobs’s household was like a nerd’s paradise: that the walls were giant touch screens, the dining table was made from tiles of iPads and that iPods were handed out to guests like chocolates on a pillow.
Nope, Mr. Jobs told me, not even close.
Since then, I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends.
Unfortunately, The Times didn’t press Jobs for a more in-depth explanation on why he restricted his kids’ use of a device that’s now played with by millions of children throughout the world, but the fact that various elites have followed in the tech guru’s steps suggests there is a double standard between how they raise their children, and how they believe lower and middle class American parents should.
The double standard is clear when one considers the actions of billionaires, such as former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, whose foundation has invested millions of dollars pushing the Common Core curriculum onto public schools, but who opts to send his own children to private academies where the Common Core standard is not taught.
Another New York Times article from 2011 also revealed that some charter schools where elites send their children prohibit computer monitors, a stark contrast to the flood of computers we’ve seen fill public schools over the past few decades.
The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.
But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.
Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix.
While other schools in the region brag about their wired classrooms, the Waldorf school embraces a simple, retro look — blackboards with colorful chalk, bookshelves with encyclopedias, wooden desks filled with workbooks and No. 2 pencils.
On a recent Tuesday, Andie Eagle and her fifth-grade classmates refreshed their knitting skills, crisscrossing wooden needles around balls of yarn, making fabric swatches. It’s an activity the school says helps develop problem-solving, patterning, math skills and coordination. The long-term goal: make socks.
As discussed in author and former US Education Department Senior Policy Advisor Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt’s informative book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, putting computers in the classroom is part of a larger agenda which has been in motion for decades, the ultimate goal of which is to create an educational system that pumps out a nation of mindless worker drones.
“The call for a socialist America, of course, requires that the schools abandon traditional academic ‘teaching’ and substitute ‘workforce training’ or ‘technademics’ to accommodate the needs of a planned economy,” writes Iserbyt in the latest rendition of her work.
As evidence that the upper echelon believes technology is an essential factor for fundamental educational transformation, Thompson points to a statement made by former Florida governor and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education Jeb Bush – via education blogger Kathryn Baron – speaking at an education reform meeting, in which he advocated “a combination of school choice (vouchers), Common Core standards, rigorous assessments, consequences for anything less than excellence and using technology to transform education.” [emphasis added]
Iserbyt also highlights a 1972 article by education researcher Mary Thompson which outlined how technology in the classroom, among other things, is part of a system ultimately intending to bring about “Distance Learning,” an “innovation” which would lead to the eventual “offshoring” of teaching jobs and relegate “teachers” to mere “tutors, monitors or overseers.“
From Thompson’s article:
“The warning bears repeating that teachers had better leave their concentration on the minutia of each maneuver in the process being carried by all of the above and others, to concentrate on the big picture of plans afoot for the function of teachers being planned and programmed for extinction or demotion to becoming tutors, monitors, or overseers to keep students on task in front of their computer screens with ‘direct instruction’ being imparted from anywhere in the world. I repeat, wake up teachers, your jobs are about to be ‘offshored’ just as manufacturing, engineering and other professions have been. Your unions won’t be able to counteract it any more than industry unions were able to do for the unemployed of empty factories and lost professional positions. Students will be phased into ‘programmed’ curricula designed to produce worker bees for global economies. The authority of those selected to represent the voters and taxpayers is already being undermined as charter schools, with their unelected boards, are being used as a transmission belt to the final objective of Distance Learning.”
Additionally, the elites who restrict their own children’s screen time may also be proactively addressing health concerns.
Last year, an AFP report touched on “warnings from some researchers that tablets can cause developmental difficulties and problems including autism or attention deficit disorder” for children warnings which were brushed off by technology experts.
Other reports document how computer monitors, phones and tablets are leading to an increase of eye-related disorders, as well as inducing sleeplessness among “device-dependent children.” Wireless internet frequencies, which many tablet and ipad devices utilize, have also been linked to potential health risks, such as cancer.
The fact that billionaires consciously limit their children’s device screen time and opt out of public education, while at the same time promoting both for the public, should be red flags signaling a deliberate plot to establish a future workforce comprised of dumbed down Americans.