the kids have got a point. This bothers a lot of people. But it is not so
First of all, vandals are not a big problem for Wikipedia. The number of
vandals is much lower then billion. Editors are very successful in a fight
against them so far.
Naturally appearing mistakes and biases are much worse. However, they
appear in every encyclopedia. Only editors of Wikipedia can correct them
really quickly. The success of Wikipedia is based on this possibility. It
is also a reason why Wikipedia exists.
Then, the Wikipedia does publish its sources. Everybody can check them.
The kids in your school are advised to do it too. It would be great if
they learn to do it with all information sources.
It is also very important to mention that nobody who wants to do a
_serious research_ should use encyclopedia. Therefore in cases when
students in colleges and universities are told not to use Wikipedia in
their works, Wikipedia is just an example of the encyclopedia which is
most easily accessible. Of course, it is not correct when students and
especially pupils are told they should never use Wikipedia. There are many
occasions in life when usage of encyclopedia is completely right. And
Wikipedia is a good encyclopedia.
For example, there is no serious reason why pupils should not use the
Wikipedia if they want to read about something they are interested in.
(The pupils should not simply copy Wikipedia articles but this applies to
any source.) There is no serious reason why journalists should not use it
to explain some particular term. From these points of views, Wikipedia is
a tertiary source like any other.
And finally, nothing can stop you if you want to fork the Wikipedia and
run a reviewed, closed and "trustful" encyclopedia. Do it! It will help to
everybody, to Wikipedia itself as well. (You can even make some money!)
Kids at my school are criticizing the heck out of your
Foundation and will
not trust Wikipedia because anyone can edit it. If anyone can edit, then
why do you exist? There could be a billion vandals. When the old ones get
banned, there could be new ones.