High-Tech Childhood

 

Tuesday, September 12, 2000

Press Conference on Computers and Children
9:30am, National Press Club, Washington, DC

MEDIA ADVISORY

For more information, contact:

Mimi Noorani (301) 513-1777
Liz Brinton (202) 331-4323

Experts Call for Time-out from Push for High-Tech Childhood

Leading Doctors, Child Development Experts, and Educators Warn that Computers Pose Health Hazards, Divert Us from Children's Real Needs

WASHINGTON--As young children start school this month, they will find an increasingly "wired" approach to learning. But the wholesale computerization of American education is raising troubling questions.

Dozens of experts in child development, education, health, and technology will issue on Tuesday a statement calling for a reexamination of the assumption that computers help young children learn, and for a time-out from current policies emphasizing computers as an ideal educational tool for toddlers, preschoolers and elementary students.

Among the signers of the statement, sponsored by the Alliance for Childhood, are Alvin Poussaint, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; Deborah Meier, Macarthur award-winning Founder of the Central Park East Schools in East Harlem; Diane Ravitch, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education; and Professor Larry Cuban of Stanford University, former President of the American Educational Research Association. They join many others educators, researchers, and doctors in calling for a broad national conversation on the issue of children and computers.

At the same time, the Alliance for Childhood will release a report titled "Fool's Gold: A Critical Look at Computers in Childhood." It examines the real costs of computers in education -- billions of dollars at the expense of key educational programs and the pressing needs of low-income children, as well as serious risks to children's physical, emotional and intellectual development.

WHO:

Joan Almon, former kindergarten teacher and U.S. Coordinator of the Alliance for Childhood

Bailus Walker, Jr., Ph.D., M.P.H. Chair, Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, Professor of Medicine, Howard University, and former President, American Public Health Association.

Lowell Monke, Ph.D., former award-winning teacher of advanced technology classes for the Des Moines Public Schools, now at Wittenberg University.

Edward Miller, Ed.M., educational policy analyst, former Editor, Harvard Education Letter, and co-author of Fool's Gold.

David Shenk, author of "Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut"

WHAT:

Release of Children and Computers: A Call for Action; and The Alliance for Childhood's new report, Fool's Gold: A Critical Look at Computers in Childhood

WHEN:

Tuesday, September 12, 2000, 9:30am - 10:30am EST.

WHERE:

National Press Club, Murrow Room
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20045

NOTE:

Reporters can participate via telephone conference. A broadcast-quality phone line is available for reporters to dial-in and participate in the Q&A session. Call 1-877-282-0743.

The Alliance for Childhood is a partnership of individuals and organizations committed to fostering and respecting each child's inherent right to a healthy and developmentally appropriate childhood. The report, position statement and press release will be available at this website on September 12, 2000 at 9:30am EST.