Net Literacy - A Plea for Our Future

Letter to the Editor, Times-Star, Middletown, CA, February, 1997


We are on the brink of letting our children and ourselves fall behind in the Information Age, without the access or skills of finding the information we need on the Internet and in business, the "have-nots" at the lowest rung of society. Computers and the Net are the future, without mastery of these tools of the Information Age our children, and ourselves, will not be able to compete for jobs or comfortable lifestyles in the coming decade.

Net Literacy is a basic right, it should be guaranteed for all citizens by the state, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic currently are in our schools. We don't rely solely on private sources to teach our children, we provide public state-sponsored schools so that all, regardless of their economic status, can attend. So why allow our children to fail to learn about the Net? And why allow ourselves to be denied that access?

Our schools need help in reaching this goal. Only one out of 73 of our school children have regular access to computers in school and there aren't enough net-literate teachers to help them learn about the Net. Only about 40% of homes in the US. currently have computers with maybe half of then with Net access. There are several ways we can help. We can support the schools in getting the computers, and teachers, they need to get the job done by increasing and earmarking funding and we can donate computers and money to agencies like P.A.C.K. which are trying to setup after school programs for kids.

We've all seen what has happened to our library here in Middletown, reduced hours, and old, outdated books and no access to newspapers or periodicals important for educating our children and ourselves. Our library is a disgrace! If the County can't find the money or staff to bring our library into the Information Age we must do it ourselves. How about one of our local organizations like the Lions or the Middletown Luncheon Club taking the library under it's wing and getting donations of a computer and some funding to get it on the Net where we will have access to big-city newspapers, periodicals, museums, universities, federal, state and local government, and other libraries.

I will donate my time and technical knowledge to help refurbish any donated equipment and to help train staff and volunteers to use that equipment - just call me at 987-9484. I'm willing to help - how about YOU!

(C) Copyright 1996,