A war on ChatGPT is raging. But some K12 leaders are making peace with AI

While districts in New York City and Seattle have blocked ChatGPT, administrators in Denver Public School are exploring how to use OpenAI's chatbot as a teaching tool.

The chatter over ChatGPT bans—from both humans and the machines themselves—is drowning out many other issues in education, but not all district leaders are rushing to silence the AI technology.

While districts in New York City and Seattle have imposed ChatGPT bans, administrators in Denver Public Schools are exploring how to use OpenAI’s chatbot as a teaching tool, according to Axios. Leaders there are currently examining “what protocols we will be putting in place in upcoming semesters to prevent cheating and other misuses of this cutting-edge tech,” a district spokesperson told Axios.

Seattle Public Schools in December blocked ChatGPT and six other sites students might use to cheat: rytr.me, articleforge.com, writesonic.com, ai-writer.com, wordai.com and jasper.ai, Axios reported. “Original thought and original work is required of students, and the concern here is that sites like this can produce content that is not original,” Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Tim Robinson told Axios.

In the Washington, D.C. region, Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland and Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia have both blocked ChatGPT in recent weeks. Using technology to learn new information “must be done responsibly, ethically and cautiously,” a spokesperson for Montgomery County schools told WTOP.com, adding that the district is also developing AI guidelines for teachers and students.

Fairfax County schools invoked the Children’s Internet Protection Act because ChatGPT is “a new technology that has not yet been fully assessed for suitability of consumption by minors,” according to WTOP.

Clifton Public Schools in New Jersey and Loudon County Public Schools in Virginia have also blocked ChatGPT, according to Fox Business. “We want to make sure that our students are well-rounded, that they’re not taking shortcuts,” Janina Kusielewicz, Clifton Public Schools’ assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction told FOX Business. “Our teachers have to stay on top of preventing those shortcuts so that we can teach them the right way to do things and get a complete education.”

More from DA: How ChatGPT can actually be a force for good rather than a boon for cheaters

OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, told TechCrunch that the company is working on tools that would allow educators to identify text generated by the program. “

We made ChatGPT available as a research preview to learn from real-world use, which we believe is a critical part of developing and deploying capable, safe AI systems,” the company said. “We’ve always called for transparency around the use of AI-generated text.”

Checking on ChatGPT bans

Here’s a list of districts where ChatGPT has been banned (as of Jan. 31):

  • Clifton Public Schools (N.J.)
  • Fairfax County Public Schools (Va.)
  • Los Angeles USD
  • Loudon County Public Schools (Va.)
  • Montgomery County Public Schools (Md.)
  • New York City Public Schools
  • Seattle Public Schools

More from DA: If ChatGPT were a high school student, how would it perform? Let’s find out

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

Most Popular