Everyone knows that the more computers you have in the classroom, the better off the students are. Right?
So then, why are all these executives at eBay, Google and other Silicon Valley technology firms sending their children to the local Waldorf School? And does that mean they're big ol' hypocrites?
The first answer is easier to answer than the second: They're rich. And probably lean to the left. Waldorf Schools all over the country are filled with the offspring of rich, usually liberal, folks. Not that there's anything wrong with that. You have the money to send your children to wherever you want, send them wherever you want. Whatever your political leanings.
There's no doubt that something about the Waldorf Schools works - these children have almost 100 percent graduation and college acceptance rates. They go on to some of the best colleges and universities in the world.
Of course, it might be pointed out that there's more than a good chance their parents are well-to-do - and, probably more important, that they tend to be rather educated themselves. If you have money and are pretty smart, your children have a much greater chance of being pretty smart and getting good grades.
Nature? Definitely part of it. Nurture? Definitely part of it. And the children in Waldorf Schools have nature and nurture in spades. Good for them. (Noted: The photo at the top of this article is stock image, not a photo of a Waldorf school.)
So are their parents hypocrites for sending them to schools where there's no technology at all until the eighth grade, and even then at limited levels?
Their parents work at Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo and other companies that certainly advocate computers in education.
It stands to reason these children will never be lacking for access to technology and the ability to learn how to use it.
So for them to go to a school where technology isn't used is no big deal. Let them go and learn other stuff, like knitting (really, they learn to knit). One teacher quoted in the Times article taught her students fractions using cake. In a public school, she'd probably get yelled at because cake's too fattening.
That doesn't mean that it's a more valuable education than one with technology. Nor does it mean that we're doing it wrong in public schools. A lot of students in public schools are without access to technology outside the classroom and wouldn't have the chance to learn to use it properly if left to their own devices.
Class sizes also are much larger in most schools than in Waldorf schools - when I was a newspaper editor, we published graduation lists from all the schools in the county each year. I had to order space for most of the lists, which were hundreds of names long. I never had to request any space for the Waldorf list, which had maybe 10-15 names on it.
There's simply no way to compare the technology-free education the Waldorf students get to a public education. The advantages these children have, the small class sizes and so many other factors make trying to compare the two like trying to compare a dog and a duck.
They each have two eyes, and that's about it.
This post was written by Amy Vernon. Photo credit: Cultura/Hybrid Images/Getty Images