Guest Writer: Nouhad Melki
A fourth grade student named Elie Melki was struggling academically. Particularly, he was timid when the teacher, Mrs. April Catron, would call on him to read. Not only was he timid; he was also very reluctant to read with enthusiasm or animation.
Elie’s struggle to read with animation called on the talent and determination of Mrs. Catron to spend quality time with him in developing his sense of animation in order for him to bring reading to life.
Elie’s fourth grade teacher deserves all the credit for making him the successful student that he became. Teachers like her, however, are rare and hard to find in America’s modern education system, especially because the system has sacrificed sufficient teacher’s pay for adopting technological learning programs.
On Jan. 12, 1998, Neil Postman lectured an audience of students and faculty at Calvin College in a speech called “Questioning the Media.” His speech was an insightful inquiry that posed six questions toward innovation in media technology. Postman argued that it is more important to adequately fund teacher’s pay and provide enough funding for many teachers than it is to fund technological learning programs.
The argument for adopting technologically enhanced learning claims that the workforce requires a lot of skill to navigate the IT infrastructure and implemented computer informatics.
Though it is true that the IT infrastructure has sophisticated the real world in various ways, students in America are losing touch with quality educators because of the inevitable trade-off between funding technological enhancements and sufficiently paid educators.
In this instance, Neil Postman called educators the “losers” and tech companies the “winners.” In other words, when public schools broker deals to adopt more technology, the expense is how much teachers get paid. With the inclination of integrating technology in schools comes the declination in overall quality education.
“The number of [educational tech] devices in schools [nationwide] increased 71 percent from 1999 to 2012” while teachers’ pay in Indiana decreased from $57,192 in 2000 to $51,357 in 2012. This data correlation suggests that the more technology is integrated in schools, the less teachers are paid.
With a decline in monetary incentive for teachers, there is less quality education provided by teachers.
While education is increasingly conforming to technological innovation, education is preparing students for the technologically enhanced workplace. But there is an inevitable tradeoff: For example, Mrs. Catron is a rare teacher to find. Where are all the educators like her? Potentially great educators like Mrs. Catron are lost from America’s education system because the education system is trying to keep up with the world that is increasingly conforming to rapid technological innovation.
What if there was not a teacher like Mrs. Catron to sit down with Elie in helping him read? Perhaps Elie would never have become a bright student, and with the decline in quality educators, what teacher since fourth grade would have cared to help Elie anymore?
In essence, educators are being left in the dust while schools are racing to adopt more innovative technologies; hence, America’s future is in jeopardy.
Nouhad is a freshman political science and journalism major from Bedford, Indiana.