NPR reported recently about the newest trend in cognitive improvement: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. tDCS, as it is known, has been shown in a scientific study with Air Force pilots to improve performance on training tests by 25 per cent. Johns Hopkins Medicine describes it as "cheap, non-invasive, painless and safe." It also doesn't take much time per session.
Now this is data that should be getting everyone excited. Here is scientific proof that we can overcome the achievement gap in our schools without cutting back on music or art. We don't need rigid scheduling formats like Departmentalization. We don't need thirty minutes of world language per day from age four onward. Children will be able to retain more with less class time.
We need tDCS.
Howard County has always been at the forefront of educational trends. I can't think of a better addition to Vision 2018 than the cutting edge science of tDCS.
You don't feel like there's enough data available yet? You feel like this would be tantamount to experimenting on your children?
But we have studies. We have data. We have an achievement gap. Are you saying you want to stand in the way of helping our children?
Okay, okay. I'm not advocating for weird science. I'm not serious about the immediate implementation of tCDS as an educational tool in the Howard County Schools.
I do want the community to get serious about understanding that implementing the Model Schools initiative without adequate time, adequate data, without public hearings on all aspects by the Board of Education, without input from parents and teachers in those meetings, and without a vote by the Board--that's weird science. Maybe even junk science.
It also subverts the democratic process.
As a parent said to me recently, "Am I the only one who feels that my children are being experimented on like lab rats without my permission?"
Let's get this decision right. Let's tell our Superintendent and Board of Education that the Model Schools initiative is exciting, full of promise, and worthy of study and debate. It's just not ready for prime time.