Education and Community
First Monday


Education and Community: The Collective Wisdom of Teachers, Parents and Community Members

Education seems to have become everyone's business. Everyone has a stake in education yet everyone doesn't have access to the educational process. Most frustrating has been the lack of real interaction between schools and their communities. Those schools that succeed all have a common thread: community involvement. Connecting all schools to their local communities in a viable way has been physically impossible. It is the contention of this paper that real connections between communities and schools can be made by the Internet. The Internet not only connects scholars in the schools to outside resources, but it also allows the community to observe the performance of its local scholars as telementors. Telementoring ultimately connects communities to their schools and creates more effective learning environments for all.

Contents

Where Are We Coming From?
Research Plan
Educational Policy
Politics
Values
Pedagogy
Telementoring
The Masses Educating the Masses

Where Are We Coming From?

President Clinton, in his 1998 State of the Union address, gave a very clear mandate, no a challenge, for better education in America. His Call to Action for American Education: 10 principles made it very clear that the business of education is the business of every citizen. His vision for the next century calls for genuine community involvement in education.

This sentiment has been echoed by Richard W. Riley, U. S. Secretary of Education. In his State of American Education Speech, Riley remarked:

"And this I know for sure - we are in a new time with new challenges - and none is more important than this: never has this nation been confronted with the task of teaching so much to so many while reaching for new high standards - that is the state of American education and America's first challenge" [1].

Schools, at the time of the birth of the United States, were the center of a community [2]. With the dissolution of the nuclear family, consider these statistics on on the state of children [3]:

 Percent
19601990
Children born to unmarried mothers528
Children under 3 living with one parent727
Children under 3 living with both parents9071
Children under 18 living in a one-parent family1025
Married women with children under 6 who are in the labor force1960
Children under 18 experiencing the divorce of their parents>149

One review of these statistics noted:

"These are alarming statistics that weigh heavily on students' readiness to learn. But before laying the problems of education at the doorstep of a decaying family and social structure, shouldn't we take another turn around the chicken-and-egg cycle? Shouldn't we ask what schools might do to diminish the number of unwed mothers and fathers? Can education play a role in breaking the vicious circles carving out pockets of entrenched poverty?" [4]

A recent Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll - entitled "Of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public School " - identified the number one reason for the success of some schools. Education that works depends ultimately on the support and involvement of parents in the school and with their child's education.

If we accept that school reform is essentially a community project, and if we agree that the local community of yesterday is today's virtual community, then we can begin to imagine the potential of the Internet to bring communities and individuals together to improve education. One way in which the Internet can aid communities and their schools is through telementoring. In this paper I will argue that telementoring has a positive effect on students and that it represents a viable means of bringing communities into schools.

Research Plan

Three surveys were generated and distibuted to students, parents and teachers. All respondents are involved in telementoring. Fifty-seven students returned surveys, forty of their parents and ten teachers. The demographics of the students:

Economically 48% reported family income below $30,000 per year and 52% above $30,000. Academically 18% were in the top quartile, 49% in the second quartile, 25% in the third quartile, and 8% in the fourth quartile. Questions on the surveys were designed to gather students' perceptions of the effect of telementors and their expectations of telementors. Teachers were questioned about the pedagogy using telementors and on the intrusion of telementors. Parents were asked about safety and values brought by telementors. The results of the surveys will be explored throughout this paper and analyzed against existing research and observations.

Educational Policy

Educational policy is the combination of politics, pedagogy and values [5]. New educational policies call for a resurgence in community involvement [6]. In part, this resurgence is a consequence of the dissolution of the nuclear family, desegregation, emergence of special education, and the applications of computers as communications tools. Much of the conflict facing education today is that "schools have two missions that frequently collide, to change society and to conserve it" [7]. How can we resolve this conflict and satisfy the needs of the community?

Education reform has been consistent in that the methods for reform always seem to be sparked by an external force [8]. And yet the goals of reform have not been reached. Why? Consider Viteritti's concluding remarks in his study Across the River:

"Change on behalf of the poor requires tampering with relationships that already exist between the organization and its environment and violating the political premises upon which they are founded" [9].

We need to look beyond the microcosms of our schools and consider the larger context in which schools and communities exist.

Politics

Education is vulnerable to a host of internal and external forces [10]. Politics represents one kind of external force. The major political players in education are politicians, special-interest groups and the knowledge industry [11]. It has been argued that politics subjects schools to many pressures and as a result schools retract and defend. Joel Spring argues that these pressures are centered on control over knowledge being disseminated. Competition among groups and individuals to influence the kinds of information being disseminated to students causes conflict. Spring argues that in a free society information should be freely available; the trick is to balance all of the diverse interests and the economics of education [12].

Micropolitics, says Joseph Blase, is about power and how people use it to influence others and to protect themselves. It is about conflict and competition as well as cooperation and building support to achieve a desired end. Establishing the policy of any school will require the members of a community to come to terms at a micropolitical level on pedagogy and values. Micropolitics atthis level works in two ways: as the interaction in the school of administrators, teachers and students; and, as the interaction between lay and professional subsystems at the school-building level [13]. Blase concludes:

"Micropolitics refers to the use of formal and informal power by individuals and groups to achieve their goals in organizations. In large part, political actions result from perceived differences between individuals and groups, coupled with the motivation to use power to influence and/or protect. Although such actions are consciously motivated, any action, consciously or unconsciously motivated, may have political "significance" in a given situation. Both cooperative and conflictive actions and processes are part of the realm of micropolitics. Moreover, macro- and micropolitical factors frequently interact" [14].

The politics of education includes macro-politics and external forces which significantly influence the micropolitics of the school. Successful school reform requires effective responses to external factors such as the political environment and close monitoring in individual schools and specific communities of the effects of change induced by new policies.

There is some support in the research developed for this paper supporting the interaction of external forces on the micropolitics of the school. Parents and teachers were both asked: Should parents be involved with their child's/children's education at school? Teachers responded 40% yes and 60% no, while parents responded 77.5% yes and 22.5% no. A second question asked teachers: Are you comfortable about having a telementor with with your students? Their response was 30% yes and 70% no. Parents were asked: I am ___ about having my child my child communicating on the Internet with a telementor. In response, 10% were strongly comfortable, 60% comfortable, 20% uncomfortable, 10% strongly uncomfortable. These results indicate some reluctance on the part of teachers to involve outsiders in the educational process. Parents on the other hand are interested in new and different influences on their children's education.

What makes a school effective? According to Ron Edmonds, "schools share a climate in which it is incumbent on all personnel to be instructionally effective for all pupils." Effective schools, Edmond notes, include a tyrannical principal, a self-generating teacher corps, or a highly politicized Parent Teacher Organization. No single model, he warns, is the answer, and "fortunately children know how to learn in more ways than we know how to teach thus permitting great latitude in choosing instructional strategy" [15].

With Edmond's call for working educational strategies, I see telementoring as being a method to help all children learn. Telementoring brings in not only the immediate community of the school - which may be resource-poor - but the "virtual" community which is resource-rich. Telementoring will satisfy Edmond's idea that "we can whenever, and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us" [16].

Edmonds identified five characteristics necessary for effective schooling. These "five instructional organizational characteristics" in an effective school are "the style of leadership in the building; the instructional emphasis in the building; the climate of the school; the implied expectations derived from the teacher's behavior in the classroom; and finally, the presence, use, and response to standardized instruments for measuring pupil progress" [17]. Edmonds' concluded that student achievement was more dependent upon the school then on the family. He also argued that any process that used these five characteristics as a starting point would not alter per pupil expenditure or tax the system in any additional way. A strict application of these characteristics would assist the staff in making better use of existing resources. These factors have become a foundation upon which others build.

Principals play an important role in creating a positive school atmosphere and climate for effective schools. Wilma Smith and Richard Andrews offer a three-phase model to develop a good principal [18]. In phase one, the supervisor and the principal meet before the school year begins to design performance goals, a method to achieve these goals, a means to evaluate these goals and a calendar. In phase two, the two collect data throughout the school year about the principal's performance. Throughout the year the principal carries out the goals. The supervisor visits often and conducts interviews with the principal and the staff; attends school functions to gather school climate; and, interacts with the parents. Important tactics such as pre-observation conferences, observations, and post-observation conferences are crucial in effective training throughout the year-long process. Phase three involves an evaluation of the year by both the supervisor and the principal with new goals are set for the next year. Although this model functions for a specific part of Edmonds' "characteristics," it could be applied more broadly, as a means to evaluate telementoring programs.

My research supports this notion that schools are for students and not for adults. Telementors may make adults feel uncomfortable but my 57 students this year (and students in the past two years) never felt or expressed discomfort with telementors. In fact they rather liked having a telementor. My students are high school juniors; many as seniors continue corresponding with their telementors. The students in my survey were asked about attitudes towards student academic work. The first query asked: Your teacher has a positive attitude about your academic performance? The students responded: 7% strongly agreed, 75% agreed, 15% disagreed and 2% strongly disagreed. When asked Your telementor has a positive attitude about your academic performance? 28% stongly agreed, 72% agreed and 0% disagreed and strongly disagreed. This data is stunning - 17% feel teachers have a negative attitude while 0% feel their telementor had a negative attitude.

In Rochester, N. Y. parents are formally evaluating teachers in their community schools. This new program was developed to involve parents directly in local education. This evaluation will stimulate teachers to become more involved with parents and thereby the community. This interaction will pave the way for a more efficient community involvement in the schools. Add telementoring to this initiative and you have a whole new revamped community school. Will it work? Certainly the teacher's union is weary and some parents think only the complainers will be involved. The idea is geared directly at teachers which is appropriate as teachers represent the first line of instruction. With accountability at this level, other initiatives will have a chance [19].

Involving the community in the business of education is the special project of Ron Bocinsky, founder of SchoolNotes.com, an online community bulletin board for educators, parents, students and community members to post and discuss educational matters. In its infancy, SchoolNotes.com has already provided some communities with a forum to openly discuss their schools. Getting information out, having open forums for discussion and providing a neutral place for all is just the beginning in involving the community in education [20].

Values

Education is on center stage with a clamor for better and more competitive education. In the United States, the President put education on the national agenda with projects, grants and initiatives. The states have been raising standards and implementing technology into the curriculum. In a sense, through education, America is seeking to heal, revitalize and rewaken itself with communities rallying around education. Everyone it seems wants to be part of the education reform movement, especially as we enter the next century.

Certainly the rhetoric of Education Secretary Riley indicates the central position of education reform:

"This is an extraordinary and demanding time for our nation's schools and I ask all Americans to pitch in. Our nation is prosperous and working hard for peace. Surely this is the right time to be optimistic, to roll up our sleeves and get serious about winning America's war on ignorance.

So now, my friends, let me close by urging each and every one of you to help build America's future. Invest in our children. Give young people who want to soar like Barbara Morgan the grounding and security of a quality education that prepares them for the 21st century.

Let's win this war on ignorance and make the education of all of our children this nation's first priority. Please find the solutions that strengthen this new American education consensus by reaching for common ground.

Our democracy can only be as strong as the education of our people in these new and challenging times. The power is in the people. If we truly educate the American people and unleash their creativity, our democracy will flourish in so many new ways.

This is America's first challenge and with your good help, we will succeed" [21].

Riley essentially identifies values as the driving force in educational reform.

Jennifer Hochschild, in her book The New American Dilemma: Liberal Democracy and School Desegregation, raises many points about popular control and values. She wrote:

"Finally come pure normative arguments for popular control, and here we return to the connection between democracy and liberalism. Participation in governance is an element of freedom and autonomy, as well as the best means of keeping government attentive to the pursuit of private interests. There is much more to say here, of course, but we can at least agree that if one believes in "rule by the people" one begins by endorsing popular control of government activities and actors" [22].

Here then is a battle cry for the reformers of education - "rule by the people."

Telementoring could be one way of opening all of the doors of all of the schools to all of the people. My research supports this idea of telementoring as a form of "popular control." Four questions were asked of 57 students addressing this matter.

A telementor will help you graduate from high school.

11% strongly agreed, 60% agreed, 28% disagreed and 1% strongly disagreed.

A telementor helps you feel good about yourself.

14% strongly agreed, 60% agreed, 20% disagreed and 5% strongly disagreed.

A telementor helps you succeed academically.

19% strongly agreed, 63% agreed, 18% disagreed and 0% strongly disagreed.

A telementor is helpful.

25% strongly agreed, 65% agreed, 10% disagreed and 0% strongly disagreed.

The consensus among students is that telementors are useful and agreeable. If students are the focal point of education reform and not the adults (parents or teachers), then telementoring has a positive effect on students' academic performance. It also indirectly generates for students positive self-esteem. The preliminary results of this survey should be confirmed by further study to test a correlation between telementoring and student performance and high school completion.

My survey supports the importance of the community in educating the child. Two questions addressed this notion. I asked In which categories would you expect a telementor to assist you. The students ranked "basic skills" first followed by "multicultural education" and then "learning to learn for life". A second question asked: To what degree will a telementor be helpful in each of the aforementioned categories with a rating of one being "Not Important" and five equaling "Very Important". A clear majority of the responses, for example, identified "multicultural education" as "Important" or "Very Important". Students seem to view telementors as a means to learn about other cultures, moving beyond their immediate environment. This awareness is refreshing and encouraging.

One method used to predict success or failure of an idea is to create a simulation or a scenario. In my survey, I offered a scenario to the students. I asked: If you had a choice, how would you like your education conducted? Indicate percentage of total education. Total must=100% Students responded: 28% school, 24% home, 14% telementoring, 16% school/telementoring, 18% home/telementoring. Students responding to the survey clearly preferred educational alternatives to school, in an environment with choice and with telementors. The matter of alternative forms of administering instruction need to be studied.

Pedagogy

Paradigm and paradigm shift have become popular terms in education recently; paradigm shift has been used in referring to constructivism and in adopting computers into the curriculum. I find it ironic that on the technology side the term paradigm is being used in a similar manner. Thomas Wright wrote in 1996 that teachers of technology will have to adjust their teaching to accommodate non-technology applications. Although computers were slowly entering the field of education high technology areas were relatively untouched, until now. So just as some have to adjust their paradigm to accept computers, others have to adjust their paradigm to accept non-technology oriented users [23].

Paradigm shifting was encouraged in part by the KickStart Initiative which promoted the infusion of technology into every facet of American life. Schools, libraries and communities were targeted. KickStart noted:

"Reports and commentary on education now often argue that as our current system of schooling reflects the industrial age, so we need a new approach to learning in the information age. Thus a report published in 1995 by the National Academy of Sciences, Reinventing Schools: The Technology Is Now!, says postindustrial society "calls for a new, postindustrial form of education" - one that puts students in a more central, active role in their own learning, helps them learn "to ask many questions and to devise multiple approaches to a problem" instead of forcing them to come up "with one right answer," and encourages "critical thinking, teamwork, compromise, and communication." Similarly, the Clinton administration's "KickStart Initiative" foresees innovation that "brings the world to the classroom," "enables students to learn by doing," and "allows educators to become guides and coaches to students, rather than be 'the sage on the stage.'" On the right, Lewis J. Perelman, the author of School's Out, wants to empower students to seek out instruction individually in the electronic marketplace. While significantly different, all these proposals call for use of technology to advance student-centered, project-based approaches to learning" [24].

Pedagogy meets paradigm in an important essay written by Larry Cuban in 1993 titled, "Computers Meet Classroom: Classroom Wins." Cuban provided three scenarios (technophile, preservationist, and cautious optimist) of how computers would proceed into the next century [25]. His arguments were logical and well founded at the time but the times have changed. In a recent Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll 71% of those responding believed that reform should come through the existing system, which supports Cuban's preservationist scenario [26]. In his summary, Cuban explains his projections are based on a lack of a national agenda and because we do not have the teachers, support or infrastructure to include computers in instruction. Six years later, there is a national agenda with programs training teachers and providing the infrastructure. At this point Cuban could re-title another essay as "Computers Meet Classroom: Students Win."

Pedagogy is different for Paul Starr who contends that classes are more student centered and project oriented with the teacher serving as a guide. Computers are putting students at the center of learning. Research on Apple Computer's Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow found that teacher-led activities dropped from 70 percent in classes without computers to less than 10 percent in classes with computers; activities facilitated by teachers, rather than directed by them, increased from about 20 percent to 50 percent of class time. There were shifts "toward more engaged students," "from a competitive to a cooperative social structure," "from all students learning the same things to different students learning different things," and "from the primacy of verbal thinking to the integration of visual and verbal thinking" [27].

Within KickStart, it was recognized that computers and Internet connections would allow teachers to bring in sources to help students experience different points of view not available locally. This idea of "multiple intelligences" was described by Shirley Veenema and Howard Gardner in this way: "Technology in itself cannot alter our scholastic trade deficit. But by reorienting our educational mission and judiciously designing and using technology that meshes with that mission, the United States - and other nations - can achieve far more success with much larger numbers of students" [28]. "Multiple intelligences" means that individuals have numerous mental representations and intellectual languages available as sources of information [29]. Over time we learn to develop multiple sources for information as a single instructor cannot present all perspectives or experiences. Telementoring is one way in which multiple intelligences can be made available to students. With telementoring the learner can be introduced to many different people and cultures, providing different ways to view problems or situations.

Sherry Turkle has examined the use of simulation as an educational tool. Simulations allow the learner to try one thing, fail and try it again. Simulations also permit teachers to provide material heretofore unaffordable. As Turkle says, "Today, the debate about computers in education centers around the place of educational software and simulations in the curriculum" [30]. Simulations borrow from Dewey's concept of "learning by doing" as illustrated in this example:

"Tim's approach to SimLife is highly functional. He says he learned his style of play from video games: "Even though SimLife's not a video game, you can play it like one." By this he means that in SimLife, like video games, one learns from the process of play. You do not first read a rule book or get your terms straight. Tim is able to act on an intuitive sense of what will work without understanding the rules that underlie the game's behavior. His response to SimLife - comfort at play, without much understanding of the model that underlies the game÷is precisely why educators worry that students may not be learning much when they use learning software" [31].

"On the job" training has fourished in the United States. Simulation in combination with the Internet meansthat learners can access the skills of many to assist in the invention of solutions to problems. The next step for simulations is to actually allow the user to challenge the assumptions behind the simulation. Coupling simulation with telementoring opens up grand possibilities for all learners.

Ultimately, the qualities of education that we care most about are not technological; they are matters of educational philosophy and practice and in turn depend on broader moral and political judgments. In thinking about education, we ought not to be preoccupied with computers at all. If technology is truly successful in education, computers will become part of the educational landscape and "disappear" [32]. Education is clearly a job for the community; how do we involve the community? My suggestion is telementoring.

My research supports many of the arguemnts made by Turkle, Starr, Veenema and Gardner. One of my questions asked students to rank in order (with 1 being the most influential to 6 being the least influential) the positive influence each identifed person had on your education. The results:

 

Male

Female

Total

 

number

percent

number

percent

number

percent

African American

6

10.5

9

15.7

15

26.4

Asian American

6

10.5

6

10.5

12

21

Hispanic

7

12.3

20

35

27

47.3

Native American

0

0

1

1.75

1

1.75

White

1

1.75

1

1.75

2

3.55

Total

20

35

37

65

57

100

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

Parent

23

19

4

7

2

2

Teacher

3

14

24

7

7

2

Telementor

2

8

13

15

11

8

Mentor

1

4

9

13

19

11

Principal

1

0

3

9

13

31

Self

27

12

4

6

5

3

Interestly, the students ranked telementors quite highly, only after six months exposure.

Telementoring

"The question is what form innovation may take. Some critics - such as Lewis J. Perelman, the author of School's Out, a 1992 book popular in Newt Gingrich's high-tech, free market circles - believe that the new technology demands the end of school as we know it. The new media and schooling are incompatible, they say, and schooling must go. This is a setup for failure; Americans are not ready to abandon the very idea of school, nor should they. But there are important changes in schools worth making, some of which have been on the agenda of reformers ever since progressive educators first proposed them early in the twentieth century. Ironically, the continued diffusion and evolution of the new technologies may finally help to bring those reforms about" [33].

Telementoring may be a way to ride this movement into the next century. Telementoring will satisfy questions related to politics, pedagogy and values while mollifying the paradox of changing and conserving society. Telementoring was first used by teachers to mentor other teachers. Telementoring was and is used as a means of aiding the teaching profession and there has been considerable growth in teacher-teacher telementoring sites.

In 1993, David Wighton described early telementoring practices in British Columbia in this way:

"Telementoring, however, might be successful in enabling more pedagogical support to be given. Although educational telecomputing has been relatively recent in B.C., pockets of experienced teachers do exist. For example, a consortium of school districts in the central interior of the province has been using a telecommunications network for several years. In addition, there are a number of experienced telecomputing teachers in other districts. The telementoring idea underlying this paper, therefore, is that a cadre of experienced telecomputing teachers would be recruited to provide educational support to novice users who wished to be part of the program. Mentors would be both reactive (replying to queries) as well as proactive (contacting their mentees regularly). The support would be primarily pedagogical in nature, focusing on helping teachers to use telecomputing activities within the curriculum, as opposed to helping them to develop personal technical skills" [34].

From 1993 to 1996, California explored telementoring in a project called Telemation. The Milken Family Foundation provided oversight and analysis of the project. Their report found that teachers - on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being no significance and 5 being very significant - rated the use of telementors at 4.3. Teachers also assessed the impact and benefit on student performance at 4.0, using the same scale.

"The extent of student benefits from the Internet was reported to be a function of the extent to which telecommunication was promoted as integral to the curriculum and in particular to specific student-initiated projects. Finally, over 75% of the Telementors reported that as a result of the Telementoring Program, "important student benefits were attained" and "the effort was clearly worth it"" [35].

A fascinating project is the Hewlett Packard Telementoring Program operated by David Neils. In 1996 HP started to involve its workforce as telementors in schools around the country. The results have been remarkable:

"Both the quantitative and qualitative data appeared to send a strong message affirming the quality and utility of the HP E-mail Mentor Program. When it functioned well and even when it functioned only marginally well, the participants could clearly see its value, they liked it, and they could easily see its potential. Even when it did not function well, particularly for mentors and teacher contacts, there was a consensus of opinion about its great potential as an option in a school to enhance learning opportunities for students of all types and ages. Substantive, national scope innovations like the E-Mail Mentor Program routinely take years to develop, refine, and structure into their best operational form. This program is hitting its stride and deserves continuation and study. It has wonderful potential and its place as an important element of public schools in the future appears certain" [36].

Corporate telementoring programs are important. As part of the national agenda, corporations will see many of the benefits from telementoring in a future skilled workforce. HP has begun to advise other corporations on telementoring and eventually this could be a great boon for education.

Certainly the most ambitious telementoring program is at the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin, where Judi Harris is the project director for the Electronic Emissary Project. The project, started in 1993, matches telementors with schools. Mentors come from around the world and offer expertise to teachers to fulfill many curriculum demands. Each project is carefully monitored and tracked by a graduate student in the College of Education. An online facilitator seems crucial to the success of this project.

""This is easy!" you might be thinking now. "Just give people each others' Internet addresses and a few suggestions about netiquette, and the conversations are sure to be successful."

That's what we thought and had expected, also, nearly four years ago, during the pilot project. We assumed that if folks already knew how to use electronic mail and wanted to communicate with each other, all that we needed to do was to act as a virtual introductions service. We were wrong. We had overlooked the very real challenges of time, medium, and differing expectations. we quickly discovered the critical need and important role for the online facilitator" [37].

Facilitation is crucial for successful telementoring and requires moderation and mediation. In the Texas project, all mail is moderated so thereare times when the EE facilitator becomes a "conflict mediator" when necessary. Facilitation becomes the most demanding part of the project.

Victoria Dimock examined from the Electronic Emissary Project and found in all individual projects increases in student interest, engagement with content, amount of content and depth of analysis [38].

Telementoring can take on many configurations, from one telementor to one student or one telementor to an entire class. In my classroom, I use both variations. In the one-on-one relationships, I find that the student becomes more involved and engaged with the results being quite remarkable and rewarding for the student. Students speak proudly of their telementor and come to rely on that outside voice [39]. Telementors come from all walks of life: retirees, college students, alumni, business, military, and even other teachers. Additionally, one of the best by-products has been students communicating with their parents via electronic mail. Parents are able to examine and study the work of their children, becoming engaged in the education of thier children.

The Masses Educating the Masses

It is altogether fitting that communities are once again taking up the cause of community involvement in education. At one time the logistics of involving communities in education seemed unsurmountable. However, with computers and the Internet, education has found a way to bring communities back into schools without creating a quagmire.

The preliminary work described in this paper merely opens the doors for further study. Some questions were answered and more questions were raised or discovered.

I have consciously left the matter of actual physical connectivity out of the discussion. On this matter, we must rely upon local communities to provide connectivity. The question of equity is becoming moot as communities use NetDay activities to wire schools and as school boards allocate funds for hardware and software. Rather than concentrate on access, I chose to concentrate on the use of technology and its impact. By demonstrating the benefits of the the Internet and telementoring, this study supports investment in infrastructure.

In this study several questions addressed equity of access. When I asked the students Do you have e-mail/Internet outside school? The students responded 48% = No, 26% = some every week, 26% = a lot every week. There is a correlation with family income where those without outside Internet access generally fell into family income levels of less than $30,000 per year. Another question asked both students and parents: Do you communicate with your parent/child via e-mail? The students responded 17, Yes; 40, No; while parents responded 14, Yes, 26, No. Parent/child e-mail communication is important. During parent conferences, parents who communicate with their children are more in touch.

About the Author

Ted Nellen is a teacher at the Murry Bergtraum High School in New York City.
E-mail: tnellen@tnellen.com

Notes

1. Richard W. Riley, 1998. "Education First: Building Americas Future," Fifth Annual State of American Education speech, given in Seattle, Washington on February 17; at http://www.ed.gov/Speeches/980217.html

2. Carl F. Kaestle, 1983. Pillars of the Republic. New York: Hill and Wang, p. 29.

3. Global Business Network, 1998. "Education and Community: Four Scenarios for the Future of Public Education," at http://www.gbn.org/Scenarios/NEA/Framework.html

4. http://www.gbn.org/Scenarios/NEA/Framework.html

5. Dale Mann. Killing School Reform. Draft. New York: Teachers College, p. 43.

6. Pam Belluck, 1997. "Schools to Seek Parent Role in Evaluating Teachers," New York Times, (July 9); Joseph Blase (editor), 1991. The Politics of Life in Schools. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press; Dale Mann, 1998. "Community Politics, Policies, and Administrators," Lecture notes from TA 5012; Lowell C. Rose, Alec M. Gallup and Stanley M. Elam, 1997. "29th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll Of the Public's Attitude Toward the Public Schools," Phi Delta Kappan, volume 79, number 1, pp. 41-56; and, Joel Spring, 1993. Conflict of Interest: The Politics of American Education. Second edition. New York: Longman.

7. Dale Mann. Killing School Reform. Draft. New York: Teachers College, p. 20.

8. Joseph Blase (editor), 1991. The Politics of Life in Schools. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press; Larry Cuban, 1993. "Computers Meet Classroom: Classroom Wins," Teachers College Record, volume 95, number 2, pp.185-210; Ronald R. Edmonds, 1979. "Some Schools Work and More Can," Social Policy, (March/April), pp. 28-32; Ronald R> Edmonds, 1981. "Making Public Schools Effective." Social Policy, (September/October), pp. 56-60; Dale Mann. Killing School Reform. Draft. New York: Teachers College; Dale Mann, 1978. "The User-Driven System and a Modest Proposal," Teachers College Record, volume 79, number 3, pp. 389-412; Dale Mann, 1986. "Authority and School Improvement: An Essay on Little King Leadership," Teachers College Record, volume 88, number 1, pp. 41-52; and, Joel Spring, 1993. Conflict of Interest: The Politics of American Education. Second edition. New York: Longman.

9. Joseph P. Viteritti, 1983. Across the River: Politics and Education in the City. New York: Holmes & Meier, p. 344.

10. Joel Spring, 1993. Conflict of Interest: The Politics of American Education. Second edition. New York: Longman, p. 1.

11. Spring, op.cit., p. 11.

12. Spring, op.cit., p. 217.

13. Joseph Blase (editor), 1991. The Politics of Life in Schools. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press, p. 29.

14. Blase, op.cit., p. 11.

15. Ronald R. Edmonds, 1979. "Some Schools Work and More Can," Social Policy, (March/April), p. 32.

16. Op.cit.

17. Ronald R> Edmonds, 1981. "Making Public Schools Effective." Social Policy, (September/October), p.58.

18. Wilma F. Smith and Richard L. Andrews, 1987. "Clinical Supervision for Principals," Educational Leadership, volume 45, number 1 (September), pp. 45-55.

19. Pam Belluck, 1997. "Schools to Seek Parent Role in Evaluating Teachers," New York Times, (July 9).

20. Ron Bocinsky, 1998. "Testimonials," at http://schoolnotes.com/schoolnotes/pr5.htm

21. Richard W. Riley, 1998. "Education First: Building Americas Future," Fifth Annual State of American Education speech, given in Seattle, Washington on February 17; at http://www.ed.gov/Speeches/980217.html

22. Jennifer Hochschild, 1984. The New American Dilemma: Liberal Democracy and School Desegregation. New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 42.

23. Thomas Wright, 1996. "Is Your Paradigm Shifting?" Technology Teacher, (March), pp. 3-4.

24. KickStart Initiative at http://www.benton.org/Library/KickStart/kick.realizing.html

25. Larry Cuban, 1993. "Computers Meet Classroom: Classroom Wins," Teachers College Record, volume 95, number 2, pp.185-210.

26. Lowell C. Rose, Alec M. Gallup and Stanley M. Elam, 1997. "29th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll Of the Public's Attitude Toward the Public Schools," Phi Delta Kappan, volume 79, number 1, pp. 41-56.

27. Paul Starr, 1996. "Computing Our Way to Educational Reform," American Prospect, number 27 (July-August), p. 57, at http://epn.org/prospect/27/27star.html

28. Shirley Veenema and Howard Gardner, 1996. "Multimedia and Multiple Intelligences," American Prospect, number 29 (November-December) p. 75, at http://epn.org/prospect/29/29veen.html

29. Op.cit.,, p. 70.

30. Sherry Turkle, 1997. "Seeing Through Computers: Education in a Culture of Simulation," American Prospect, number 31 (March-April), p. 80, at http://epn.org/prospect/31/31turkfs.html

31. Op.cit.,, p. 81.

32. Paul Starr, 1996. "Computing Our Way to Educational Reform," American Prospect, number 27 (July-August), p. 60, at http://epn.org/prospect/27/27star.html

33. Op.cit.,, p. 51.

34. David J. Wighton, 1993. "Telementoring: An Examination of the potential for an Educational Network," http://mentor.creighton.edu/htm/telement.htm

35. Milken Family Foundation, 1998. "Distinguished Educator Telementoring Support System," http://www.netc.org/tlcf/milken.html

36. David Neils, 1998a. "HP Telementor Program," http://www.telementor.org/hp/

37. Judi Harris with Ellen O'Bryan and Lena Rotenberg, 1996. "It's a Simple Idea, But It's Not Easy to Do: Practical Lessons in Telementoring," Learning and Leading with Technology. Eugene, Ore.: International Society for Technology in Education, ftp://ftp.tapr.org/pub/emissary/studies/LLT.Oct.96.pdf

38. Victoria K. Dimock, 1998. "Building Relationships, Engaging Students: A Naturalistic Study of Classrooms Participating in the Electronic Emissary Project," Electronic Emissary Research Manuscripts at ftp://ftp.tapr.org/emissary/studies/Dimock.pdf

39. Ted Nellen, 1998. "Surfing the Internet: Sink or Swim!" English Journal, volume 87, number 2, pp. 105-107.


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