Gov. Doug Burgum’s recent comments about increasing the use of technology in the classroom raise serious concerns about the direction of education policy in North Dakota. The education of our children is too important to be subjected to the latest tech fad that reduces human interaction.

Education is not a transaction between two parties, it is a relationship between students, parents and schools that strives to develop critical thinking skills, the ability to communicate ideas and use information and data to solve complex problems. These goals are achieved through engaging children in the classroom and challenging them academically, socially and emotionally to reach their potential. Well-prepared, committed teachers are the linchpin of education and the keys to its success. Technology plays a supporting role in the classroom but to think technology would replace the give and take between teacher and student reduces education to a business transaction.

The public school education in North Dakota is robust, challenging and sets children up to be successful whatever they pursue. It is a student-centered, teacher-guided system that brings out the best in each child. I speak from experience about the excellence we have in North Dakota: two of my children are midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy and another child won a State Department scholarship to study Russian language and ballet in Moscow last summer. Teachers in Bismarck schools challenge their students, push them to achieve their goals and create an environment where intellectual risks are rewarded. To think technology could replace these important human interactions displays a stunning lack of understanding of what teachers do each and every day.

The Internet will never replace the relationship between teacher and student. After all, no one credits technology with their success, instead will credit a teacher who took an interest in them.

Sabina Gasper, Bismarck

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