I believe they are a bad idea because:
1. We cannot expect the kids to have them in class but keep them turned off. This level of self control is one that adults, looking at their phones every few minutes, do not possess. Why should we expect it from minors. In fact kids who have them in the pockets in classes where they are meant to have them off, are in turning them on.
2. We cannot regulate their access to the internet over smart phones. Parents who limit screen time,do not give their minors smart phones, discourage websites showing violence, or pornography or mindless addictive shoot-em hit-em video games, etc at home, are wasting there time when school policy allows over unfettered access through smart phones to minors as young as 13. during the break or during class. If school policy lets their friends carry them the kids get to use them.
3. Our children when adults, will be carrying around "phones" with way greater capacity then they have now. There will be a whole new way of thinking - with constant reference to the super-computer in your pocket. Who knows how we will think then, Who knows what type of education will be required or if it is required when the machine does all the thinking and they have been reared in schools which no longer train the brain, but just train us as reference operators. So I believe that we should default now to our children learning the old way, using the brain in their heads, because one thing only is certain - they will still be able to learn the technology if they have first learned to use their brains free of technology. Learning to use their brains if they have been brought up only to use the technology will be impossible.
4. Cyber bullying is an epidemic. If the schools allow this to occur on school campuses they will have to accept responsibility for the consequences of the cyber-bulllying. And apart from the nasty damage from cyber-bullying, there could be some nasty "damages" awarded to a parent against the schcool distruct.
5. Cheating is epidemic. Kids are photographing test and emailing them to each other in class. Copying, texting the whole gamit. This is happening in our schools. Stuyvesant, the elite NYC high school school chancellor had to resign because of cheating there. Kids lives have been ruined by being caught cheating. Some people will never cheat, some people will always cheat and the ones in between have the bar set way lower with access to smart phones.
6. There is no escape from the advertisers. Every communication over facebook or twitter is accompanied by a sales pitch. Every time the phone is used the child is in the world of commerce, not a place of learning away from marketing 24/7
8. There are issues of photographing people who do not want to be photographed and posting them on the web. It is illegal for someone to photograph kids on public school campuses, yet the smart phone policy allows them to do this to each other.
9. The kids sit around looking at smartphone screens during the break. This mean there is less eye contact, less face reading, less empathetic communication, less communication.
10. Communication via smart phones is reductive. A society that only communicates simplistically raises a generation incapable of complex thougts.
11. We are all raised in a bath of advertising, and locally many peoples livelihoods depend upon smart phone sales, so extra hard to push back and say why cant we extend the middle school policy, or the current policy NYC has, of no cell phones during middle school.
I am interested in the pros and cons, with a weighting to the cons due to local community businesses.