There was a time, not so long ago, when school-aged children would learn lessons from a prescribed text, such as a textbook. Today texting is far, far different and, as any of our teachers will tell us, cell phones have become the scourge of education. In almost every classroom, kids will silently text in the shadow of the desk in front of them rather than focus on the lesson. Yet the most noted educators still can’t figure out why more and more kids are stupid. Time to smell the coffee!
Go to any restaurant and study a family of four out for an enjoyable meal. Every person at the table is texting and the art of conversation, story-telling, and showing interest in one another is being kicked to the curb. Admittedly, I hate cell phones that constantly try to interrupt my day. If I am meeting someone who actually interrupts our visit to talk on the cell phone, I’ll walk away. It’s absolutely rude. Some of my pals don’t like that but I say, “Take your pick … we can sing together but we can’t talk at the same time.”
So when the Decatur City Schools begin classes tomorrow, cell phones will no longer be allowed in classrooms in the middle or high schools. Two magnificent schools will make their debut tomorrow and every student will be issued a Chromebook computer device. There is no need for the cell phone argument, “I need to as calculator,” or, “as a method to spell correctly.”
Students can still use the cellphones in the hallways and at lunch but when the daffy darlings enter Miss Stern’s classroom, each must turn the phone off and put it in a multi-pocketed hanger at the door. They are forbidden to retrieve the cell phone until class is dismissed.
“I do not want cell phones in classrooms and there will be no exceptions,” Superintendent Michael Douglas told the district teachers last week. Believe it or not, he’s told multiple adult groups of the plan over the summer and gotten a standing ovation every time! If a parent can recognize a problem, why cannot a teacher?
A recent Western Kentucky University study showed, “Ultimately if schools truly want their students to perform the best they can academically, prohibiting the use of phones in class should be the only cell phone policy.”
Most Decatur students agree with the idea. “We are here to learn and social media is a distraction. We’ll adjust pretty quickly and nobody is going to suffer without their cell phone in class. Learning should always come first,” one said.
Up until now the Alabama Department of Education has allowed cell phones at the desecration of the local schools but as many new studies show, cell phones actually dumb down America. At Rutgers University professors discovered students with cell phone access tested almost a half of a letter grade below those who did not.
Supt. Douglas said the new Chromebooks “will provide a device where the teacher can protect the classroom and make sure its total use is for instructional purposes.
Many school systems, especially in the South, are studying the Decatur Project very closely. If we can raise our non-cell users to the equivalent of half a grade over the Tweeters, imagine the gain a family of today can make if ‘Dad’ makes every person in the family leave their cell on the table until they get back from dinner?
And get this … when people get to talk to each other versus being a slave to Facebook, how do you imagine that will work out for all of us?
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DO YOU KNOW ‘THE FINGER PRAYER?’
A friend sent me this a couple of months ago and I don’t think you will find “The Finger Prayer” on social media. But I do know it works because I’ve tried it. Here we go… (Note: It takes five fingers on your hand, or that of someone you love, as you’ll see.)
1. THE THUMB IS NEAREST TO YOU -- So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a ‘sweet duty.’
2. THE NEXT IS THE POINTING FINGER -- Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.
3. THE NEXT IS THE TALLEST FINGER -- It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the leaders in our government, business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.
4. NEXT IS OUR ‘RING’ FINGER -- Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray enough for them.
5. AND, THEN, OUR LITTLE FINGER -- The smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, ‘The least shall be the greatest among you.’ Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.
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“Never tell God how big the storm is, without first telling the storm how big your God is.”