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Sunday
Feb012015

Maslow and school spending

This little tongue-in-cheek interpretation of Maslow's Hierarchy has been making the rounds via Twitter and Facebook, so I'm guessing this is not the first (or even tenth) time you've seen it. And it rather neatly captures a technologist's world view. The road to self-actualization is built on a foundation of good wireless network access. That view is myopic.

As I have entered school buildings in the mornings over the past few years, I notice a growing number of students participating in school breakfasts. Our Free and Reduced Price lunch program counts are up. We send some kids home with backpacks full of food for the weekend, and in the summer schools run food to various sites around the community where kids can come to get a meal.

Some of our schools now stay open during times when extreme weather closes other schools just so some kids will have a place to stay warm during the day. Drives for warm coats, gloves, and hats are not uncommon.

We've been spending dollars on making our schools more secure - adding cameras and police liaison officers and new vestibules that force visitors through the school office when using the only unlocked door of the building.

Zero-tolerance policies on weapons, anti-bullying efforts, bus safety, low-risk playground equipment, environmental air quality studies, and Internet safety curricula are attempts to minimize a child coming to physical and emotional harm in our schools.

Establishing academic groups like Avid, creating mentoring relationships with adults, and providing co-curricular clubs, activities, and sporting opportunities are schools attempts to give students with a sense of belonging, a group identity, a social safety net. There are a growing number of social workers in our schools.

Resources and energies that may have in one era been directed to the classroom, to academics, to learning now go to meeting Maslow's most basic areas of need: physiological, safety, and social.

I am not complaining, mind you, only observing. In fact were I the Emperor of Education, I would do everything in my power to make sure all students had these basics met.

Because if these needs are unmet, if you believe Maslow, students really won't be able to learn anyway.

I think about this when funding dollars I would like to go to better wifi go other places instead.

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Reader Comments (2)

Until our wireless system was modernized this summer, we couldn't do anything to move the needle on our 1:1 program. It was a miserable year with multiple complaints daily...now we're good. I explained to our board wi-fi is the air you breath with witless devices and without that you're out of luck.

February 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Mielke

HI Nathan,

Yup, the wi-fi is important for sure. But if hungry kids can't concentrate on what they access via wi-fi, there is a problem.

Doug​

February 5, 2015 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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