Thursday, March 23, 2017

Maryland State Department of Education
now says screen safety is "inferred"

On March 15, 2017 the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) knowingly provided misinformation to the Senate EHE Committee in its testimony regarding SB1089, claiming that Department has plans to address the health risks posed to our children by classroom digital devices.

In its letter to the Senators (see full letter, below), MSDE testified that screen time health issues are part of its draft ESSA document.

When pressed, however, the Department now says that screen time issues are "inferred" in the ESSA draft and offers only the following reference to classroom screen time:
  1. Develop guidelines/policies related to digital content that ensures accessibility and encourages personalized learning, prepare students for College and Career, and promote academic achievement and digital literacy. August 2017 State 
  2. Provide models of best practice for the use of technology in daily instruction and encourage the use of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA) Practice Tests. 
This is unacceptable and insufficient. Our children are legally owed a safe classroom environment.  Maryland's entire medical community, including the American Academy of Pediatrics Maryland Chapter and MedChi has endorsed HB866 and SB1089, underscoring the urgency of this legislation to protect children of all ages from being SERIOUSLY AND UNNECESSARILY HARMED by the schools' hazardous equipment in a variety of ways, from myopia and permanent retinal damage to depression, sleeplessness and addiction.

The schools can't and won't protect our children. They are not medically qualified.  The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is hiding from their School Health responsibilities now too. (See below.)

We must have medical oversight for the medical hazards facing our children, introduced by the use of school-issued equipment.

Call or email Delegate Luedtke's office (410-841-3110) or contact him @EricLuedtke. Ask him to find a way to get HB866 passed, and back over to the Senate.

Each day, this legislation becomes more and more important.