CEDAR CITY — The idea of solving many schools' challenges of technology funding and access by having students use their computers at home raised some eyebrows during a meeting this morning between legislators and educators.

Rep. Ken Sumsion, R-Lehi, said, "Why not take advantage of all the computers that are sitting in our homes?" He added, "My kids come home from school and they're doing stuff on the computer because the teachers are requiring them to do that."

This idea didn't sit well with Charlene Lui, chairwoman of the Coalition of Minorities Advisory Committee, who was in the audience at the meeting.

"That's assuming the home even has a computer," said Lui, in an interview with the Deseret News following the meeting. She is also the director of educational equity for Granite School District.

Lui further pointed out that even if the family does have a computer, there are homes where both parents are working and they wouldn't be home to supervise the child on the computer.

"We're looking at equity," she said. "If we're going to require this, then we need to be able to provide the means and the access."

The discussions followed a presentation by Brenda Hales, Utah State Office of Education associate superintendent for student achievement and school success. Hales detailed the importance of professional development for teachers — especially regarding technology. "Practices are changing rapidly," she said.

The meeting was for members of the public education appropriations subcommittee and the State Board of Education. The two governmental bodies jointly convened at the new Iron Springs Elementary School in the west area of Cedar City this morning.


E-mail: astewart@desnews.com