Updated with more response
Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA). Andy Carvin covers it for Teachers Source (you can download the text of the bill there)
Just when you thought the media circus around MySpace had peaked comes this whopper of a story: members of Congress have proposed new legislation that would require schools and libraries to block access to online social networks.
More on the "Suburban Agenda" below the fold.
Will Richardson says of the bill, "This is disturbing on so many levels that I hardly know where to begin" go read the whole post.
Filter a website and you protect a student for a day.
Educate students about online safety in a real world environment and you protect your child for a lifetime.
Wesley Fryer says,
Sadly, some digital immigrants just don’t seem to get it. Why do so many of these people seem to be policymakers?!
This law doesn't protect the children -- it takes away the responsibility of teaching them how to be safe online.
Doug Johnson has a three-step action challenge. As soon as he posts his letter (I need guidance in this) I'll post mine.
danah boyd predicted this legislation, and said,
Because it affects both libraries and schools, it will dramatically increase the digital divide. Poor youth only gain access to these sites through libraries and schools. With this ban, poor youth will have no access to the cultural artifacts of their day. Furthermore, because libraries won't be able to maintain separate 18+ and minor computers, this legislation will affect everyone who uses libraries, including adults.
"When children leave the home and go to school or the public library and have access to social-networking sites, we have reason to be concerned," Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican, told CNET News.com in an interview. Fitzpatrick and fellow Republicans, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert, on Wednesday endorsed new legislation (click here for PDF) that would cordon off access to commercial Web sites that let users create public "Web pages or profiles" and also offer a discussion board, chat room, or e-mail service.
Fitzpatrick's bill, called the Deleting Online Predators Act, or DOPA, is part of a new, poll-driven effort by Republicans to address topics that they view as important to suburban voters. Republican pollster John McLaughlin polled 22 suburban districts and presented his research at a retreat earlier this year. Rep. Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican, is co-sponsoring the measure.
The group, which is calling itself the "Suburban Caucus," convened a press conference on Wednesday to announce new legislation it hopes will rally conservative supporters--and prevent the Democrats from retaking the House of Representatives during the November mid-term election.
The Suburban Caucus consists of (22 according to Kondrake, 50 according to Greg Pollowitz)
Rep Mark Kirk, R-Illinois
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania
Rep. David Reichert, R-Washington
Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.)
Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.)
It's the work of a group of 22 GOP Members from across the party's ideological spectrum and led by moderate Rep. Mark Kirk (Ill.), who's also tried to sell it to President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove.
Instead of a laundry-list policy agenda, Kirk told me in an interview, this agenda is designed to answer the problems faced by a suburban family as it moves through its day.
Some of the items from the "Suburban Agenda" (you can download the agenda from the Ripon Forum), from The Suburban Agenda By John McLaughlin A plan to win the new political battlegroun
- Helping small businesses provide health coverage for their employees
- Passing a school safety bill, permitting federal background checks on new teachers to prevent criminals or pedophiles from being hired.
- Requiring schools and libraries to install internet filters to protect children from child pornography and Internet predators.
- Allowing school officials to check their students’lockers for illegal drugs or weapons without the permission of the student.
- Requiring health insurance plans to be portable so that when people change jobs,they do not lose their insurance.
- Establishing what is being called a “401 KIDS tax”deferred savings account plan to give parents the ability to establish tax free savings accounts for their children.
- Requiring teachers to pass a periodic competency test to ensure they are current in their subject matter.
- Protecting homeowners’ property rights by limiting the ability of local governments to seize property for the purpose of private development.
- Limiting the Environmental Superfund legal fees to 10 percent so that 90 percent of the fund is spent on restoration
- Establishing a $5,000 tax credit for first time homebuyers to make homeownership more affordable.
- Allowing a person to set aside money, free from taxes, in a Medical Savings Account to be used to pay medical bills and insurance premiums.
- Prohibiting states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.
- Increasing federal funding to fight against gangs in schools who are linked to international drug cartels.
- Increasing federal tax incentives to individuals and businesses for donating their privately owned open space for environmental conservation.
- Stopping frivolous lawsuits against doctors by capping medical malpractice awards at $250,000 in economic damages.
- Setting a federal date requiring all doctors and hospitals to keep electronic medical records.
- Providing parents with a $1,000 educational tax credit to be used for their child’s educational expenses
The real challenge, of course, will be to make progress on these issues before November. Time is running short. Work needs to begin immediately to get this done. Legislation needs to be strategically introduced in the House in the spring and early summer,and then promoted by the membership when they return to their districts for their August work period. Likewise, Republicans also need to craft a comprehensive communications strategy to sell this plan for what it is – a positive effort to make government work.
Ooh, more freedoms gone in the name of "safety"
"We also need to clarify the 4th Amendment, so that privacy rights do not extend to school lockers, to make sure there are no weapons or drugs in school." Rep. Dave Reichert (Wash.), former sheriff of King County (Seattle), is the caucus' lead advocate on youth crime, which is also a theme of first lady Laura Bush.
The Ripon Society interviewed Riechert on the Suburban Agenda
Congressman Mark Kirk of Illinois went to about 20 suburban areas and asked the families who live there what was important to them, what concerns were on their minds. They told him the country is on the “wrong track.” Repeatedly, he heard about concerns with health care, crime, education, taxes and the environment.
Previous Posts on MySpace:
Facebook, MySpace, and the TeWinkle Middle School Case
Suspended for MySpace Parody
Value of Social Networking Software
Instead of Banning, Teach Appropriate Use
Part I--Blogging, social networking sites, schools, and risk for teen users
Part II -- Schools Banning Access and Banning Students' Online Presence
Part III--An Overblown Fear: The Internet Predator
Part IV--The Real Risk: Other Students' Cruel, Rude, or Illegal Behavior (or the Poster's Own Cruel, Rude, or Illegal Behavior)
Part V--The Benefits of Blogging, Personal and Educational
Part VI--What Should Parents and Schools Do?