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New York City Schools Should Be Next to Ban Mobile Phones

Los Angeles is moving in favor of students’ well-being. Mayor Eric Adams can ensure NYC does, too.

By Michael R. Bloomberg

This isn’t working.
This isn’t working.Source: monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto

Last week the Los Angeles Unified School District took a big step in favor of common sense: It voted to ban mobile-phone use during school days. Other districts should follow its lead, starting with the largest one in the country: New York City.

Two decades ago, our administration banned mobile phones in all public schools, despite the storm of protests it generated. The ban was one of many policy changes that allowed us to transform the school system in ways that dramatically raised student achievement levels. Although it was undone by our successor, public support for mobile-phone bans has grown nationally — and across party lines.

Teachers know all too well how disruptive phones are to learning, with 72% of high school teachers nationwide calling phone use a “major problem.” No wonder: One study found that 97% of teens use their phones during school hours, receiving a median of 237 push notifications a day. Much of that screen time consists of playing video games, browsing social media and watching pornography — not exactly the three R’s.

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