I’m never very good at remembering things so I thought I’d try to get this down before we go out. One of the points that we discussed was the MiWiFi strategy we are hoping to develop in East Lothian.
John was taken by our ideas where we would provide a wireless network in all our schools which children could access with their own machines. But he made a great point when I suggested that one of the problems that we might face is the potential discrimination between those children who could afford a top of the range laptop/device and someone who could only afford a “bog-standard” device. John suggested that our desire to always provide equality can sometimes prevent us implementing really good ideas which will benefit all.
In response I equated this with the challenge about sports shoes – yes they can be a source of bullying but the bottomline is what you can do with your trainers e.g. if I can play basketball, better or run faster than someone who has “better” sportshoes – then it doesn’t really make any difference – the important thing is that I’ve got trainers.
John followed up with a better example – will the man who starts playing golf and goes out and buys all the best gear where money is no object, beat the man who a great golf swing and can break par with a second hand set of clubs?
Perhaps this is where we should focus our attention – it’s the outcome stupid! Sometimes we can be so tied up with ensuring equality that we actually prevent the disadvantaged from the opportunity to succeed.