Tech investment is a pathway for better student achievement

Our congressional leaders should invest in American technology to provide equity and opportunity, the head of a small nonprofit writes.

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Oliver Curran works on a writing exercise during remote learning on December 2020 at his home in Gold Coast.

A student works on a writing exercise during pandemic lockdowns in 2020 that forced schools to rely on remote learning.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Following the mayoral runoff election, Chicago parents have a lot of reasons to be hopeful. Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson brings to City Hall a commitment to investing in our public schools so that every student, regardless of race or economic means, has an equitable chance of succeeding.

One way he plans to do this is by making sure all families have access to technology resources that form the foundation for learning and development in today’s digital world. The mayor-elect understands the importance of technology and innovation in education today; look no further than the role of virtual classrooms in keeping students learning and engaged with their teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic, or how my nonprofit, Mr. Dad’s Father’s Club, was able to connect local dads with thousands of CPS students each week for virtual story time.

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Unfortunately, our lawmakers in Congress are pushing forward on policies that would make it harder for America’s technology companies to innovate and operate, thus making it more difficult for schools and nonprofits to access and utilize their digital services. These proposals, meant to promote competition in the tech industry, would cause a slew of unintended consequences, including fewer technology resources, higher costs for school districts, and reduced security for students and parents.

In Chicago’s nonprofit community, technology is central to our ability to reach and serve vulnerable populations and deliver support when and where it is needed most. Our congressional leaders should be investing in American technology as a pathway toward equity and opportunity, not making it harder and more expensive for us to create a positive impact in our communities.

I hope Chicago can provide a road map for the kind of tech investment needed to support both our education and nonprofit systems, and that our policymakers in Washington, D.C. will put forward policies that support and defend these vital systems.

Joseph Williams, Englewood

Dishonoring Anne Frank and the Holocaust

A group that agitated for the removal of a graphic novel based on the diary of Anne Frank is dishonoring the memory of the Holocaust, though it claims otherwise.

The Florida-based organization Moms for Liberty also reveals a warped understanding of human sexuality and expression.

Moms for Liberty objected to “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation,” which was removed from Vero Beach High School. The book shows Anne Frank walking in a park, enchanted by female nude statues, and she later proposes to a friend that they show each other their breasts, according to an Associated Press account.

The group claims the book diminishes the understanding of the Holocaust, but nothing could be further from the truth. A key lesson of the Holocaust is that its mostly Jewish victims maintained their humanity despite being targeted for annihilation. Inmates of Auschwitz kept a hidden library, refugees started businesses from scratch in countries granting them asylum and Jews hiding in Europe kept on living, learning and growing.

Anne Frank, who went into hiding as a teenager, became innocently absorbed in her developing body. She wrote candidly and without a hint of obscenity about sex, among other things.

Anne Frank was about liberating human thought, expression and dignity. Moms for Liberty is about controlling them.

Craig Barner, Lincoln Square

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