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Kirk Seminoff's Pivot Point

Community engagement editor Kirk Seminoff blogs about news and issues in Wichita and Kansas.

Pivot Point

Here’s who should make the call on cell phones in classrooms

By Kirk Seminoff

September 19, 2017 10:08 AM

High school students and parents usually have clear expectations about each of the students’ classes by the end of the first week of school. Things like tests count for 50 percent of a semester grade, or late homework being given partial credit.

It’s time that cell phone usage become another class-by-class guideline. The Wichita school board was recently asked by its teachers union to revisit the district-wide policy, which forbids phone usage during the school day. High schools may have their own guidelines, but decisions are not left up to teachers.

Suzanne Perez Tobias’ story about cell phones in the classroom included teachers who pointed out that cell phones are so prevalent in today’s world, it’s not realistic to keep them out of the classroom.

Phones are students’ calculators, calendars, note takers, cameras and personalized grade books. With ear buds, the phone becomes a music player to allow the student to work quietly and independently.

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Cell phones have become as much a part of a student’s routine as a backpack and school ID. School districts should put decisions on usage in the hands of teachers. They are best at determining if phones are needed or a nuisance.

Kirk Seminoff: 316-268-6278, @kseminoff