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« Will school-issued devices stop the summer slide? | Main | Dad's computer rules updated »
Sunday
Jul092017

BFTP: Fairness - remove the word from your vocab

...fairness isn't an objective feature of the universe. It's a concept that was invented so children and idiots can participate in arguments. Scott (Dilbert) Adams

As with most districts, our technology needs and wants outstrip our technology budget. So too often the question of "fairness" comes up when allocating resources. Is such an allocation fair to the elementary program? fair to the kids at ___________ middle school? fair to ________ teacher or _________ department?

Like Adams, I don't believe fairness should be a factor in making budgeting decisions. The concept of fairness is so situationally dependent, it really has no meaning at all. 

Is it fair when the slow running zebra is caught and eaten by the lion? Seems fair to the lion; not so much to the zebra.

If two classroom computers are given to a teacher who uses them well and no classroom computers are given to a teacher who does not use them at all, should the term fairness even enter the conversation?

Instead of asking if an allocation decision is fair, what if we asked if it:

  • Creates equity of opportunity?
  • Advances district-wide goals and proven learning strategies?
  • Supports a proven best practice?
  • Enables an experiment with a high chance of success and replication?
  • Provides children with special needs a means to achieve?

Remove the term fairness from your vocabulary - even if it doesn't seem fair.

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Original post May 21, 2017

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