I taught a kid to fish yesterday

The old proverb goes, give a man a fish, he eats today, teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

Yesterday, I taught a kid to fish. When I’m your congressman, I plan on teaching every American child how to fish and I’ll share the secret: it’s a $10 billion dollar investment that is much more important than a new joint strike fighter jet or continuing the Iraq war for another month and change.

There isn’t a job in this country that doesn’t require a computer, or won’t require computer skills by the time junior enters the workforce. Yet we are still using books made of paper, taking tests on paper and teaching with the tools of a society based on paper.

When we factor those costs in, as well as the additional time it takes to grade those tests, the additional waste it creates, the obsolescence factor of the information in the text books, the cost of the program I plan on pushing from the first day I get to Washington, the cost savings will be phenomenal.

Photo of the XO LaptopYesterday I bought an XO laptop for a kid in a developing country. A “third world” nation, that is going to give that child an opportunity to learn in a way that our “First World” nation can’t. Embarrassing, but true. I believe real battles are won in the minds, not the battlefield, and that our chances of staying a world power rest in a well educated future generation.

This computer and the idea of “One Laptop Per Child” was the brainchild of Nicholas Negroponte, formerly the head of the MIT media lab. His goal was the $100 laptop, and in volume, this could be true. Right now, each machine costs approximately $180, and the minimum purchase for a country is 1 million units. With 55,628,000 school aged children in the United States right now, we’re looking at a sizable investment. However, it is the best investment we can make. It’s definitely better than the 2 billion that will be spent on electing a president this year (consider the election still isn’t in full swing, and we’ve already seen the first 1 million dollar spent on election ads in a day, Dec 10, 2007).

Please note: paper companies, textbook publishers, educational testing companies all invest money in candidates to support their business model. It’s why we absolutely must have campaign finance reform if we hope to see change in the way decisions are made in DC.

And while I’m the first to admit that computers aren’t the answer for everything, there is no excuse for a student in the worlds “most advanced” country, not to have a computer.

This is not my first post on this subject, I talked about how providing Dayton Public Schools students laptops would be a game changer here:Dayton Public Schools- Now what?

We’ve all heard of “No Child Left Behind” for the last 7 years, yet, other than a focus on testing, and unfunded mandates on education from the Federal Government, we’ve yet to see tangible reform on the way we educate our children in this country.

Sending children to school without a laptop in todays global economy is a crime greater than sending a solider to war without body armor, yet, we have seen no outcry on their behalf.

This November, you have a choice to make in what kind of congressman you want. Our current congressman is good at bringing military industrial pork home to our district. Your next congressman wants to teach our children to fish.

If this is what you want in Congress in Ohio 3- please consider a donation. I only accept money from individuals, no textbook publishers, unions, or military contractors.

If you don’t feel comfortable in giving money to a campaign, please consider giving to www.laptop.org instead. Teach someone something, somewhere. It’s good karma.

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