School cellphone ban used to distract criticism over autism funding: Critics

By Jessie Weisner

"Minister Eggen trusts Alberta's teachers and school boards to make their own rules regarding the use of cellphones in their classrooms", he said Tuesday.

"Smartphones have become a huge distraction in classrooms, making it impossible for students to learn effectively", tweeted Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday morning.

"Last fall, we launched the largest-ever consultation on education in the history of Ontario".

The formal announcement of the ban is expected in the near future.

Would you be for or against a cellphone ban in schools across Western New York?

Students would be allowed to bring their phones into the classroom, the government said, but usage would be reserved for educational and emergency situations.

"Ontario's students need to be able to focus on their learning - not their cellphones", she wrote.

Although some Ontario schools have similar policies in place already, the ban would require all public schools to introduce the ban in the upcoming school year. "How do we maximize the benefit of it from a teaching and learning perspective?'" he said. "Beginning next school year, cellphones will no longer be allowed in the classroom unless they are required for educational purposes, health and medical purposes, or to support special needs".

At the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board, spokesman Stephen Fields told BlackburnNews.com the board has a policy in place that leaves the use of cell phones in the classroom up to the discretion of the teacher, but it looks forward to reading the directive from the province.

The province says it will be up to individual schools and school boards.

"I think it's a good idea", says Lynn Hutchinson, a local teacher in Windsor.

The move was praised by many, but some say the ban is antiquated and a missed opportunity to teach children about responsible technology use.

A 2015 London School of Economics and Political Science paper found that "student performance in high stakes exams significantly increases" with a ban on mobile phones.

In 2015, NY ended its ban on cellphones, giving schools the authority to create their own, in part because parents wanted to be able to contact their children, and it was not equally enforceable.

That means students could use them in between classes, at lunch, and during after-school activities. The improvements were largely seen among the students who were normally the lowest achieving.

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