OPINION | Epitaph 132 - Listen and learn PSS and politicians           

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THE Wireless On Wheels Program or WOW is a noble and commendable effort to deliver internet access to student and KUDOS to all the sponsors.

However, the program does not address the need for a genuine “Homebase Learning Program for ALL students.” FYI readers, I don’t put our leaders on the spot in the news until I have tried to talk with them or the evidence is already public and I have been trying to talk with the Commissioner of Education since December 12th of 2019 when I was given only a few minutes and a Homebase Learning Program was one of them. I take no pleasure in this but I have been calling Dr. Ada’s office on many occasions since last year and he even had his secretary to tell me that he would call me back but that never happened so I have NO RECOURSE but to go public given the vital importance of our children’s education and the need to improve PSS’s educational services. So if leaders will learn to remain humble once they get in office and have genuine respect for all in our community and have the decency to return OUR phone calls it will keep YOU from ending up being embarrassingly told something in public that you could have LEARNED in private — a LISTENING Linda lesson toooo many of our Politicians need to learn.

I not saying I have the perfect solution but I believe it is far better than the WOW program which will only work to help a few. WOW is nowhere close to being capable of reaching all the students in their educational activities and there is no coordination for learning experiences between students & teachers and no guarantee WHAT the students will be doing once connected to the internet like playing games, watching a movie, chatting on Social Media and a host of other things. I actually tried to create some form of a Homebase or Neighborhood Program when the Café Internet businesses first popped up years ago but I never got PSS’s support.  However, I did learn a lot from my efforts which is why I’m sure the Homebase Learning Program that I am about to propose will work.

The “KEY” to a genuine Homebase Learning Program is the type of computers that PSS needs to purchase for all students. Giving students computers with wireless connection is the main reason the computers PSS gave out didn’t last three years and there was never a “Systemic Plan” for students and teachers to communicate and conduct educational activities. Wireless is great but it’s the wrong method for Homebase learning due to the difficulty in delivering the service to all and there is no real “control & purpose” when only a few teachers were requiring “internet work” and the students were using the computers for everything BUT school. PSS has the purchasing power to order computers to their specifications and the first thing they need to do is issue a “Homebase Computer” to all students that can ONLY connect to the internet through a phone line and it’s programed to only connect to the internet THROUGH PSS’s Server. PSS will have full control of what that computer can do on the internet making the computer a genuine “Educational Tool” ONLY.

I heard about PSS needing 6,000 internet accesses to create a wireless program for all which is why I had to say something. The only challenge for the Homebase Program that I am proposing is to get a “special student computer for all with a dedicated phone line for all students” which is far cheaper and far more feasible than trying to get wireless internet to 6,000 students that can’t even be controlled. In fact, many families already have a phone line so only those without a phone line will need the service. Also, by making the student access the internet at home and only through PSS’s server will make the computer a genuine Homebase Computer (Learning Tool) that can’t be carried around and abused and misused for everything but schooling like the previous computers PSS purchased and gave to all students. PSS only needs to order computers that won’t have a wireless connection that have been programed to only connect to PSS’s server through a hardwire phone line connection. A simple solution to a complex challenge because sometimes we need to take a step backwards from technology to the basics and in this case it’s the use of phone lines instead of the modern wireless system. I am still waiting on Dr. Ada to call and hopefully this will compel him to call me if he truly cares about developing a Homebase Learning Program that all of America needs under these pandemic circumstances.

I know the Homebase Program will work because I already did the research years ago so hopefully PSS will listen and learn from a “Researched Base” ideology. To be continued: One People One Direction

The writer is a retired teacher, former CNMI Board of Education Member, James Madison Fellow (U.S. Constitutional Scholar) and a Fulbright-Hays Foreign Scholar who resides in Kagman III.

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