NC Superintendent ignores input of professional educators, opts for increased screen time for schools’ youngest readers

As the 2018-19 school year wound down and teachers began their well-earned summer breaks, Superintendent Mark Johnson dropped an unexpected bombshell: North Carolina schools would be scrapping the mClass reading assessment system and replacing it with the computer-based Istation program.

North Carolina schools have used mClass as the diagnostic reading assessment tool in grades K-3 since the Read to Achieve legislative initiative was implemented in 2013.

Johnson’s announcement of the change referred with no apparent irony to “an unprecedented level of external stakeholder engagement and input” which had gone into making the decision.  He neglected to mention that he had completely ignored the recommendations of those stakeholders.

When the Request for Purchase (RFP) for a Read to Achieve diagnostic reading assessment first went out in the fall of 2018, a statewide committee of experts in curriculum and reading instruction was assembled largely under the direction of Dr. Amy Jablonski, then-Division Director of Integrated Academic and Behavior Services at the Department of Public Instruction, to inform the process.  

This team included specialists in general education, special education, and English language learner services, school psychologists, representatives of Institutions for Higher Education, dyslexia experts, and school and district leaders. They reviewed the four vendors that were passed through to the team, including mClass and Istation, working extensively through detailed demonstrations with all four products before determining which would best serve the needs of North Carolina’s children.

The committee presented its recommendation to Superintendent Mark Johnson in December of 2018.  They noted that students and teachers needed a tool which could accurately assess risk in all domains of reading.  They noted the crucial importance of having a teacher actually listen to a child read and sound out words. They noted the legislative requirement of an effective dyslexia screener.  And they recommended that schools continue using the mClass diagnostic tool, which they believed best accomplished all of those things.

Six months later, Superintendent Johnson completely disregarded the recommendations of those professional educators in announcing his unilateral selection of the computer-based Istation diagnostic tool.  

There are a few reasons Johnson’s decision is problematic, apart from its unilateral nature and dismissal of the input of knowledgeable stakeholders.

Poor timing:  Announcing the change just as teachers leave for summer vacation means there will be insufficient time for educators to get up to speed with the new materials before they have to start using them for the 2019-2020 school year.  For year-round schools which are beginning their school years in early July this is an even bigger problem.

Increased screen time:  The adoption of Istation means increased screen time for our youngest students.  Excessive screen time is already a major concern of many parents and educators, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, which notes that “a growing body of evidence suggests that the use of media while engaged in academic tasks has negative consequences on learning.”

Reduced human interaction:  As the selection committee pointed out, having a teacher listen as a child produces sound is a crucial part of literacy instruction.  Teachers who use mClass sit with their students and observe their reading behaviors. This one-on-one interaction allows educators to quickly and accurately identify students who need additional help and pursue appropriate interventions to get them on track.  Istation marginalizes those classroom teachers, instead requiring children to look at a computer screen and react to what they see rather than actually reading letters and words and creating sounds for a qualified human teacher to evaluate.

Potential lack of correlation with state assessments:  Research demonstrates that mClass results are highly predictive of performance on North Carolina End of Grade reading assessments.  Not only does Istation lack that level of documentation, Denver Public Schools recently had to reduce the impact of early literacy scores on school rating systems because third graders who scored well on Istation were scoring so poorly on year-end reading tests that concerns were raised about the validity of results.

Insufficient screening for dyslexia:  In 2017 the North Carolina General Assembly passed a law mandating that students with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia “receive the necessary and appropriate screenings” and tasking local boards of education with reviewing “diagnostic tools and screening instruments used for dyslexia…to ensure that they are age-appropriate and effective.”   

Effective screening for dyslexia requires having a reader produce sounds and read words to determine whether phonological processing problems are present.  Because Istation is an online tool, its phonological awareness measure is limited to having students listen to a sound and match it with an answer choice instead of actually segmenting individual sounds out from a spoken word by producing it on their own. This approach is inconsistent with the International Dyslexia Association’s recommendations on dyslexia assessment and appears to fall short of meeting the General Assembly’s mandate as well.  The mClass tool which has been in statewide use since 2013 aligns much more closely with those requirements.

Decreased student motivation:  One key to getting accurate measures of student ability is maintaining high levels of engagement and motivation.  For elementary students especially, sitting in front of a screen and working alone can quickly turn to drudgery, and that feeling can negatively impact results.  This concern was recently raised by Idaho teachers who mentioned that first graders using Istation lost interest and began randomly clicking answers because “they just wanted to be done.”  

Here in North Carolina, teachers who have used the program i-Ready for individualized online reading instruction report similar problems with motivation.  Michele Jordan, third grade teacher in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, says, “It was a joke.  My kids clicked through because it was boring. They complained about it and preferred print books, and I could never rely on the data because they didn’t take it seriously.”  When reading instruction and assessment involves one-on-one interaction with the classroom teacher, it is much easier to maintain the engagement necessary to accurately assess students.

When Superintendent Johnson announced the selection of Istation, he offered his sincere apologies for the delay and acknowledged that the timing would put school districts in a hard spot with implementation beginning so soon.  However, according to Dr. Jablonski, her team asked the superintendent to consider requesting a one year extension by the General Assembly to allow more time for the process to play out.  He declined.

With so little transparency around the process, it’s hard to know exactly what was going on behind closed doors at the Department of Public Instruction between when the RFP review committee offered its recommendation way back in December and Mark Johnson’s eventual announcement that Istation had been selected–although it’s interesting to note that Istation CEO Richard Collins has been a major donor to Republican party candidates for office over the past decade:

What is clear is that Istation is the wrong choice for North Carolina’s children.  Our students need their love of reading and their growth as readers to be nurtured through human relationships and engaging interactions with their teachers.  Those teachers need to be afforded sufficient time and training so they can implement programs with fidelity. And our students who require the most individualized support need us to have effective tools in place that allow us to diagnose their needs as early as possible so we can get to work meeting them.  Mark Johnson’s unilateral Istation adoption is going to make it a lot harder for us to achieve those important goals.

44 thoughts on “NC Superintendent ignores input of professional educators, opts for increased screen time for schools’ youngest readers

  1. This article is well written, well organized, and completely ON TARGET! Young children and struggling readers need one-to-one interaction with their teachers for assessment and instruction. In addition to all of the compelling facts stated in the article, the definition section of the Read to Achieve legislation states that reading difficulties should be identified using an “observation-based” formative assessment. I would not think that a computer-based system would qualify as observation-based. Another section of the law states that the assessment SHALL assess oral language and fluency (in addition to 4 other components). Can someone explain how a computer measures oral language and fluency when the child is not speaking? Does this system even comply with the law?

    • Let us not forget that WE are the ones in the classroom and WE most influence our students. It is our job to do what is best for our students. I agree that this is a bad decision, but it does NOT mean we cannot continue doing what we already know works.

    • Just a thought… if the new EOGs/check-ins are computer based why not have the istation assessments in lieu of the 1:1 mclass so students can be more familiar with online testing and at the same time giving teachers what they’ve asked for which is more time to teach and less testing that takes up class time when you have to work 1:1 for progress monitoring leaving 20+ other students to independent assignments?

      I don’t endorse all this testing to begin with… but I am definitely not a fan of the amount of time Mclass took away from actually teaching the class.

      • Istation tests students Monthly and the lowest performing students to be on the program for 15 minuets a DAY . It has no direct teacher interaction. While MClass does take up a lot of time, it is 3 times a year with progress monitoring every 10 days for the lowest performing students and is given 1:1. These interactions are about 5 minutes total.
        Istation: 45 minutes a month, 15 min a day, no need to talk to a child
        mClass: 45 minutes 3 times a year, 5 minutes every 10 days, must talk to each child

  2. Thank you so much for providing extensive details regarding the problems with this change. My husband (a programmer who had to proofread all my master’s work in education) was immediately horrified because even the best voice recognition technology gets words wrong, mishandles accents, and relies on prediction to correct itself. I predict that students who diction and dialect differences from third generation middle class English speakers will score lower.

    Many teacher issues with the mClass tool could be fixed. The biggest problem is that it can’t be a formative assessment for students when it is being used as a summative assessment for teachers! If the state was only formatively assessing students on mClass, would they make young children read aloud to an unfamiliar teacher causing anxiety and class disruption at the end of the year? The written component of mClass was the least accurate for assessment of student reading, but provided concrete “evidence” of student progress that could be verified by others for teacher accountability.

    I suspect the reason behind automated assessment programs is to double down on using data for test-and-punish accountability, not accurate formative assessment of students. If accurate formative assessment was the goal, we’d keep mClass and support teachers to use it to accurately screen and address learning difficulties.

    • I agree with you! The mClass TRC test, especially after the state “re-vamped” it this past year, is not the best indicator for students abilities (probably just a tool to criticize teachers); but it is still better than a computerized reading test. This is the absolute worst idea yet for our youngest learners! However, I would like us to go back to using nationally accepted book levels on the TRC, still accept level C-D as a benchmark OR truly use it as a formative rather than a summarize assessment as to label kids as above, on, or below grade level from Pre-K to end of First grade does a terrible disservice to them. This age group is “developing” and they do NOT develop according to any particular time table. I think the best predictive tests are the DIBELS assessments, because they have been proven to show us where children are in their development of phonemic awareness and sense of phonics with measures in; letter recognition, beginning sound isolation/ID, phonemic segmentation, and nonsense words/sound fluency that of course progresses along a continuum to other skills as they move into first and second grade. It is all very frustrating. I my district, we have the MAPS assessment, too. It is a hot mess teaching kids who don’t have computers at home how to use a chrome book mouse pad to drag and drop answers. We also find the same behaviors mentioned in the article. Many young children think the object is to “get done” and they just mark answers without listening, even when questions are read for them. And then we have those low babies that give up because they don’t know or can’t understand English yet. They just push answers to get to the end of their misery. Yet, because it is a click-answer type test, the only thing we get is a score. The interventions, groupings, etc. are all based on the score, but the score itself isn’t representative of what the kid can/can’t do. Then, looking at EVASS ….my ratings based on my students scores……that’s just as unreliable and it is being used to rate teachers FOR SURE! Oh, teachers fought to not have a section of the evaluation instrument devoted to this bogus data… now they look at the data and consider how to rate your teaching. Your teaching cannot be at an accomplished or above if your students aren’t scoring higher…..REALLY? The tests are terrible, the EVASS isn’t accurate… who knows? Hey, why don’t you give me a multiple choice computerized teacher assessment! ‘“Naaaaa,” they would say! “ It wouldn’t be accurate, and it wouldn’t give us the information we need (to support whatever we want to do to a teacher, for instance…) !”
      Ok. Time for me to stop now.

      • I disagree. An organized and astute teacher can return to retreach specific skills needing attention as observed in an mClass assessment. This, in both reading behaviors and writing skills. I always used observations made throughout this assessment tool to guide future instruction. Otherwise what good is it?

    • I think the reason for the increased computer usage is economically driven by someone thinking they can lesson the workforce when duties are replaced by automation/computers. Where is the Academy of Pediatrics, Behavioral Therapists and Child a Psychologists? All of this screen time is not age appropriate nor developmentally appropriate. Why won’t anyone stand up for the children against the establishment?

    • I agree- maybe they should have stopped looking at NC teachers growth for EVAAS from a one time assessment (from another teacher assessing our students) because they don’t trust us? Yes, formative assessment purposes would have been fine with MClass, but with the new books that were published by amplify that were poor excuses for correctly leveled texts was just another kink in Mclass- yea, you got rid of the written, but oh, let’s use some horribly written just pitiful excuses for leveled texts (with wrong tense, misleading pictures not helping our children that are using their pictures clues as a strategy). Maybe if Mclass was just used for a tool to examine data (not labeling a child by a letter, number or a color) instead of a tool that just one snapshot of a child (mind you, sick child, child intimidated from alternate assessor, subjective teacher judgement on a retell, etc) determines their growth (for only half a year- K teachers, you know what I mean)and we used it to help decipher possible issues and we teachers are allowed to teach… them Mclass could have been more effective for all and if my EVAAS wouldn’t be determined from one reading at the end of the year-(again K teachers, not even from the BOY… and why not???) So, yes, we would all probably be better off to stay with Mclass, but as a classroom teacher of 28 years before NC fell in love with Mclass- it had its issues too! Maybe people should have listened to the classroom teachers complaints and we wouldn’t be starting all over again! Give me my running records and paper and pencil friends!!!

  3. What on Earth!? We should be Decreasing screen time.
    As a retired teacher and aunt to four children under the age of ten, I see the negative effects of constant screen time at home. Educators should set a better example.

    • I totally agree! This is definitely not a good change at all. Chilldren need more interaction with adults, not less! The only possible reason for this that I can think of is a kick back from a company. I’m wondering if Ithere is a way to find out if the superintendent or someone in DPI gets a monetary “reward” for this lame decision?

      • The article stated that it is “interesting to note that Istation CEO Richard Collins has been a major donor to Republican party candidates for office over the past decade.” People at DPI are not elected; Republican State Superintendent Mark Johnson, however, is.

  4. Orwellian. Wake up and hold them, read to them, and teach them. Computers at that age. This is so wrong, LESS screen time at this age or die out as a culture.

  5. Justin, THANK YOU for this article. I have worked extensively with mCLASS and Reading 3D since 2011. Every single one of your talking points are on target. Come on, North Carolinians. Let’s put our kids first. Let’s do what is fundamentally, morally, and pedagogically sound. Let’s be smart at the polls. Party lines have no place in this discussion. DO WHAT’S RIGHT FOR KIDS.

  6. This article was researched and well written. As a retired early childhood teacher I am very distressed the children of North Carolina are being subjected to poor judgement calls from the State Superintendent, Mark Johnson. He was blessed to have had so many experienced and educated individuals as advisors in 2018. It is really disturbing that he ignored their recommendations.
    I have many questions about his experience in a school setting. One can have higher degrees but the experience in a classroom is just as important as advanced degrees. I would also like to hear his explanations on why he did not use the recommendations of many experienced individuals who have had direct contact with students. Is there a comparison of the cost of these programs? Does the Istation contribute to a political party in North Carolina?

  7. Wealthy people choose the polar opposite for their children. They move to enclaves and tax their own property very highly and build school districts that eschew these types of things. They send their kids to exorbitantly expensive private schools that openly brag about small classes and human interaction. But the public sector is doomed by legislatures, governors, congresses, and even presidents pursuing a fake accountability based on data that has never, ever been shown to correlate to anything other than socio-economic status. And these elected leaders are buttressed by a mandarin class of utterly useless district and state-level professionals who go along to get along.

  8. *How much money has been spent on training and supplies for mclass?
    *How much money will need to be budgeted for Istation implementation?
    I foresee many obstacles:
    Teachers forced to play catchup all year with information/training coming in haphazardly.
    Problems with adequate computers and overwhelmed technical support.
    Improper identification of strengths and weaknesses in phonetic analysis, sight words,etc.
    Questionable effects on reading comprehension
    and written comprehension.
    Ignoring recommendations from the professionals who teach every day.
    D. Maultsby, Retired

  9. People are going to stop moving to North Carolina if the schools continue to decline like this. My husband and I moved out of state before starting our family and the single largest motivating factor for me was the fact that my children would not recieve a decent education in North Carolina public schools.

  10. I find it interesting that you state that it is Insufficient screening for dyslexia. HB149 was passed to help address this need for screening in 2017. According to the NCDPI Exceptional Children’s department they do not provide screening tools, only guidance.
    We recently wrote to Mark Johnson requesting a “list of the diagnostic tools and screening instruments used for dyslexia, dyscalculia, or other SLDs by school district that should have been reviewed by law as stated in section 4 of HB149.”
    We were referred to the director of Exceptional Children, Sherry Thomas.
    After stating that she would gather this information in a previous email, she responded. “We are not able to provide an approved list, but have developed the guidance and training to support LEAs as they look for appropriate instruments.”
    Then she sent this:
    The following information is in response to your inquiry regarding the requirements of HB 149 for local boards of education to review diagnostic tools and screening instruments for used for dyslexia, dyscalculia and other specific learning disabilities.
    The NC Department of Public Instruction does not provide a listing of diagnostic tools and screening assessments but does provide guidance to LEAs as they select and review these tools.
    Screening and diagnostic assessments for all students should be utilized within a system that supports
    their use and interpretation. The NC Department of Public Instruction Multi-Tiered System of Support
    (MTSS) model provides this framework that includes a comprehensive and efficient assessment system
    that uses multiple sources of data and is culturally appropriate. A comprehensive assessment system is
    integral to data-based problem solving to ensure students identified as having indicators of risk receive
    appropriate instruction and intervention quickly and efficiently. It has been recommended that all staff
    and local boards of education carefully review the NCDPI MTSS Assessment Guidelines as the basis of
    their review of locally used diagnostic and screening instruments for dyslexia, dyscalculia, or other
    specific learning disabilities.
    NC Public Schools are required through the Excellent Public Schools Act (HB 950/ S.L. 2102-142) to assess all kindergarten, first, second and third grade students with valid, reliable, formative and diagnostic reading assessments.
    The NC Early Numeracy Skills Indicators offered by the NC Department of Public Instruction is a free optional tool offered to districts for students in Grades K-5 that provides indicators of risk for math difficulty, including dyscalculia.
    For students who are suspected of having a disability, North Carolina Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities describes required diagnostic and screening assessments under each disability
    A definition of screening is provided at NC 1500-2.29. This definition includes universal (mass) screening that is conducted with all students to identify students at risk of future academic, behavioral or
    emotional difficulties.
    For students who are suspected of having a disability, including dyslexia or dyscalculia under the
    category of Specific Learning Disabilities, the IEP team uses the required screenings and evaluations
    identified within North Carolina Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities and determines
    any additional assessment information needed. An important function of a comprehensive assessment
    is to provide diagnostic information that supports the design and delivery of specially designed
    instruction that is focused on the sets of skills that will increase overall academic or behavioral
    competency, so the student can realize the greatest gains in achievement. The evaluation must be
    sufficiently comprehensive to identify all of the child’s special education and related services needs (NC
    1503-2.5(c)(6)). In addition, the evaluation must be comprehensive, using a full range of available
    instruments and observations, including diagnostic tests and other appropriate formal and informal
    measures, such as curriculum-based measurement or other progress monitoring data (NC 1500-2.11 (b)(5)). Beyond the policy requirements, the IEP team determines the evaluations necessary to determine eligibility and the instructional needs of the child.

    • My daughter had trouble in elementary school with reading & spelling. Orally she could spell EVERY spelling word and then failed the test every Friday. She was tested at school and no answer was reached to know why she had trouble. After speaking to her Dr she was referred to Epilepsy Institute in Winston Salem because they tested for many things brain related. We finally had answers! My daughter is dyslexic and has mild ADD. It was also discovered how she best proceses. Brain to hand didn’t work for her but brain to mouth worked. Now we understood why she couldn’t pass a single spelling test. She also didn’t “hear” the phonetic sounds to know how to sound out for reading and writing. Her results were sent to her school which resulted in a conference. By NC education standards my daughter was unable to have an IEP or any other type of assistance because of her IQ test which was also given to her. She tested normal range IQ so she didn’t qualify as learning disabled and being dyslexic wasn’t recognized as a disability by NC Education rules. I was told my child was a “crack kid” meaning she falls through the cracks in the system. And a guidance counselor even told me that when she went to middle school and started failing I should be able to get her help then, and don’t worry about spelling because word has spell check. Fortunately she had amazing teachers who did work with her & over time she did better. She was not a college bound student because of how she learns and processes, she is a hands on learner. Instead she was an early graduate and found a job. She will be 21 next week and I am very proud of what my “crack kid” has accomplished with her abilities. So my point with this long story is even if a program recognizes dyslexic students, it is not guaranteed they will get all the help they deserve unless standards change or have changed to help ALL students.

    • What a joke. How is NC addressing dyslexic kids? They’re not. They’re letting them fail. I would love to hear from any school teacher in NC who has seen any evidence that the 2017 law, stating that dyslexic students must be identified and provided with appropriate interventions (systematic, multi-sensory, phonics-based instruction), has been implemented.

  11. I was a student and now a grandmother who is absolutely appalled at many of the changes that have been made in the education system. NUMBERS are not what education is about! Teaching should be the priority! You are losing the brightest and best teachers by chasing numbers and not paying to keep them doing what they love. Also, more support from parents and less confrontational interruptions from parents AND students would be more conducive to a learning environment.

  12. This needs to be investigated. Is he or a member of his family getting a kickback or election donation from the company??? I am a registered Republican and I’m appalled at a member of my party that is wasting MORE money for something that looks less effective. Moreover why even have a committe when you’ve already decided in your mind the decision… another waste of time for our government staff.

    I’d love to see an investigative journalist dig into this.

    • John, I totally agree that his financial and political connections to this company must be investigated.
      On a personal note: you may consider leaving the GOP.- that is what my husband and I recently did!

  13. I am shocked by the istation decision, and the move against recommendations is especially troubling. With mCLASS findings well documented as proven indicators, one can’t help but wonder if there was any personal gain involved in this decision. Johnson needs to go. As a Kindergarten teacher who has used mCLASS and found it to be a solid tool, it is frustrating that he went away with it and replaced it with a system that means more screen time and less adult interaction for NC’s children. Furthermore what sense does it make to not pilot a program like this in a few schools first, before declaring it the new state-wide norm? Or what about the hasty decision to not provide ample training time for teachers to allow for practicality and common sense in implementation? Where was the fire?? If we are going to truly start acting like we need to view education as an investment for our future, it makes little economic sense to discard a program that the state just provided new books for, which resulted in a waste of money. I wonder how Mark Johnson would feel if I had the power to make his job more difficult and pressed that magic button doing so. I will continue to do what is developmentally appropriate for children. It was be nice to have a superintendent who did the same.

  14. Mr Superintendent. Do you intend to go to the classrooms to check on the pupils progress or
    Ignore them as you have your peers saying this a poor idea. I am horrified that you choose to think you
    Know what is best when you are not even in a classroom. If things continue in this fashion why not just given children a computer and let them learn on their own at home. As a great grandmother I am
    Appalled at your disregard for my great grandchildren.

  15. Mark Johnson is relatively clueless. His initiatives come from those who see public education and teachers as a burden on taxpayers. He attempts to hide his lack of experience with numerous smiling social media posts.

    • I heard he only taught a couple of years. There should be a state requirement that the state superintendent have 5 plus years in the classroom and 5 plus years in administration.

  16. This is devastating news for teachers, parents and most of all, students. I’m so disappointed in NCDPI and our superintendent. As a former NBPTS certified early childhood educator, I can tell you that this ichange will do nothing but set NC back—even more. I’m heartbroken for my rising 2nd and Kindergarter. What can we even do to help? Does everything require a rally and protest these days? It’s exhausting. Get this “superintendent” out of here—he clearly has ulterior motives—none of which are good for the children and families he serves.

  17. And what about universal design for our EC students? Deaf, hard of hearing, visually impaired, and blind students will have to rely on old materials because I’m sure after the state spends all of their money on this program, there won’t be any subsidies available for EC.

  18. I hope school-level and district leaders will begin to protect children from harmful, politically-motivated actions such as this. The adults need to step up and flat-out refuse to comply with anything that violates the developmental needs or stunts the social-emotional growth of children. If everyone speaks out, it will turn the tide. They can’t fire everyone!!

    • That is the only way informed teachers survive these days. Close the door and do what is best for kids. That is how I made it through my last few years before retirement. I am Nationally Board certified, with a Master’s degree, and a reading endorsement, and 30+ years of experience yet was being told how to teach reading. Luckily I did not care about my EVAAS scores as I was close to retirement. And by the way, my students did very well on EOGs but more importantly they loved books, could also write coherent stories and were a delight to teach. I miss the days when teachers were trusted to know what was best.

  19. This article is spot-on! I truly believe this was a unilateral, politically motivated decision that is bad for children and demoralizing to teachers. No computerized program can observe, record, and document a child’s reading behaviors—those behaviors so very critical to learning to read and to informing instruction.
    It is unconscionable that state leadership would support such an ineffective and inappropriate means of measuring a young child’s reading progress—a means that completely ignores the research on the effects of screen-time on young children’s development and provides unreliable data.
    Saving time seems to be at the center of the decision. What the decision maker doesn’t understand is that such a program only increases time spent on assessments. The teachers you want teaching your child will comply with state mandates and then do the 1:1 assessments they know that provide valuable, usable information.
    To reiterate, bad decision for children! The nature of the decision should be investigated!

  20. How about put PEOPLE in the classroom who can actually work one on one with lower students. Seems like there are way too many chiefs and not enough Indians. We are educating our future! This isn’t the level to be letting these kids slide through or fall through the cracks. Promoting people into higher positions with higher pay and reducing the number of teachers and teacher assistants is ridiculous. Quit cutting the TA jobs. Use PEOPLE not computers to educate. Just goes to show the higher ups don’t really care about the children. It’s all about making money. NC education is beyond pitiful. We need to step up our game or be left behind while other states excel.

  21. Yes I’m “just a TA” as some say. But even I can see this is a horrible decision! Interaction is the the best teacher! Common sense should show them that students respond more to interaction than computer time. These children want interaction with their teachers and in return we teach them the knowledge that they need and want!

    • Thanks for your insight, but there is no ‘just a TA.’ You all are a vital part of successful schools and we need a whole lot more of you!!

  22. What can we (as parents) do to push back against the school board, the superintendent, or whoever we need to reach. I’m very much against this change, especially relying on computers for something that is so crucial in the upbringing of our children. Any ideas ?

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