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Follow-up to “Inevitable”: PTA Meeting
Ms. Lee, one of your favorite former high school teachers, has gotten into some trouble. Here’s what happened.You’ve been keeping in touch with one of your favorite teachers from high school, Ms. Lee. As a teacher of US Government and Civics, Ms. Lee places a high value on democracy, and the need for citizens to remain fully informed on important issues so that they can engage in productive debate. For obvious reasons, she is deeply troubled by the “filter bubble” threat posed social media and search engines. In fact, she is so adamant that filtering algorithms are harmful to democracy that she has quit using many popular sites and services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, and Netflix, and urges all of her students to do the same.
But she’s having second thoughts about this aggressive anti-filter stance after reading the book, The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly. She sends you a copy of the book and directs you to Chapter 7, “Filtering,”Preview the document where Kelly argues that filtering is something people have done for a long time, and will continue to do in the future. “More filtering is inevitable,” he concludes.
Your teacher doesn’t know what to think any more. “I feel like my efforts are useless,” she wrote in her last email to you. “Democracy is doomed. Or maybe I’m just in denial. Maybe I’ve been a fool the entire time.”After your recent email exchange, she has remained deeply troubled by social media’s impact on public discourse. This “filter bubble” threat has pushed her “to take a stand.” Last week she disconnected all the classroom computers and explained to her students that she “unplugged the room for the sake of democracy.” She then encouraged the class to join her after school the following week for an organized protest at the local school district’s offices. The school district happens to be in advanced talks with companies, Apple and Adobe, about receiving a multi-million dollar grant through a White House ConnectED intiative. This money will be used to improve the district’s technological infrastructure, which includes updates to broadband access, teacher technology training, and personal laptops for all students. “Don’t be tempted by all the money they’re dangling in front of you,” Ms. Lee warned her students.
Ms. Lee’s actions have been met with outrage from parents who consider technology education an important part of preparing students for the future. These parents believe that Ms. Lee is being reckless and incompetent, and they are considering lodging a formal complaint with the principal.
As a former star student of the school, you have been invited by the local Parent-Teacher’s Association (PTA) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. to share your thoughts on Ms. Lee’s actions, and to hopefully shed some light on your former teacher’s motivations. These parents are incredibly upset and by the end of this speech, you hope they won’t make any rash decisions (like calling for Ms. Lee to get fired). Make your speech about 500 words.
rubric：This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome How well do you explain the thought process behind Ms. Lee’s actions? This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome How well do you address the concerns of these anxious, angry parents?This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Do you adjust your language, style and tone to the audience (non-experts on the topic) and to the genre (PTA speech)?How smooth is the writing?
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