Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tom Cotton learns value of Internet

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 12:49 PM

TOM COTTON: He scorned Internet as education tool in college; it bites him 13 years later.
  • TOM COTTON: He scorned Internet as education tool in college; it bites him 13 years later.
I'm not ready to jump on the Democratic Party of Arkansas's bandwagon on this one, though it is kind of amusing.

A Party news release compares Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's recent remarks touting use of technology in school — he particularly lauded a church school's use of iPads with young children — with an article 4th (not 3rd as I originally wrote) District Republican congressional candidate Tom Cotton wrote for the school newspaper when he was at Harvard 13 years ago. A sample from Cotton:

Despite blather about the "information superhighway" in popular culture, connecting classrooms and libraries to the Internet is a horrible idea. The Internet at best brings convenience to everyday life. It allows us to check the weather, the news, the stock market and so on very quickly. None of this information helps educate children. But the Internet does not just fail to educate children; it even obstructs their education. The information on it lacks veritable scholastic quality because it is not filtered through the ordinary editing and publishing process of books and magazines. Moreover, the Internet has too many temptations—ESPNet and Playboy come to mind—to distract students bored with their assignments and looking for some fun.

Fun political research for sure — instant access via Internet to a candidate's thoughts even 13 years ago. Is not history educating? (Cotton tells AP, by the way, that the Internet has matured into an educational tool and he thinks the criticism is a sign of his strength.)

More enlightening about Cotton is the earlier part of the column linked above and the screed he wrote against liberals who "use the courts and the bureaucracy to accomplish that which they cannot accomplish at the ballot box. They push their programs on Americans by fiat, without the deliberation or compromise a diverse, continental republic otherwise demands."

Thank goodness Republicans are willing to compromise — whether on important matters like disaster assistance or trivial matters like presidential speech times — and accept majority legislative votes rather than resorting to the courts to strike down health care legislation they don't like. Speaking of compromise, Cotton has said he wouldn't have gone along with the deal to raise the debt ceiling.

PS — Republicans are womping up on Democrats for digging for trivia. To them I have four words: Hillary Clinton's senior thesis, which spawned a million GOP broadsides. Or how about that letter to a ROTC instructor? But before you chuckle right along with the Republicans for whom history started today, read Cotton. He may have become more enlightened about the Internet since college, but his general radically conservative outlook hasn't.

Democratic news release follows:

Republican Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr touted recent school visits this week praising the use of technology in the classroom, a position wildly different from one held by Republican candidate for Congress Tom Cotton who said the use of Internet in educating children “obstructs their education.”

“We’re glad to see Mark Darr crediting the accomplishments of Arkansas Democrats — which is a far cry from Tom Cotton’s radical views, “Candace Martin, Democratic Party of Arkansas spokesman said. “When it comes to educating our children, extremism has no place in the classroom, but Cotton’s comments show that he is not interested in doing what is best for Arkansas children.”

Republican politician Tom Cotton wrote in a column for his college paper 13 years ago “despite blather about the ‘information superhighway’ in popular culture, connecting classrooms and libraries to the Internet is a horrible idea…The Internet does not just fail to educate children; it even obstructs their education.”

In contrast, Darr wrote a column this week praising the work of Arkansas Democrats in incorporating technology training into the classroom and specifically cited schools that have begun using iPads in instruction.

“Darr and Cotton are peas in a pod at Republican events like the recent Arkansas Republican Party 4th Congressional District meeting. Maybe Darr should inform Cotton about the importance of educating our children the next time they see each other,” Martin said. “Cotton could certainly learn a lot by listening to Darr, learning more about the needs of rural Arkansans, and seeing how the Internet has expanded access to news, books, and research tools.”

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