“More than 250 parents, students, teachers and just plain taxpayers met Wednesday night in east Cobb County to learn more about a plan to give Apple iBooks to 63,000 students and teachers. ‘Listen to your children. They know what makes them learn,’ said Carmen Harnett, a Mabry Middle School English teacher,’ Chris Reinolds reports for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Three Cobb County school board members and Apple representatives were on hand Wednesday for the first of four community meetings, designed to educate the public and answer their questions about the laptop computer program. The majority of the comments at the meeting were from people in favor of the initiative, which would provide laptops to teachers and middle and high school students,” Reinolds reports. “But parent Karen Brown, whose child attends Sedalia Park Elementary, questioned whether laptops will improve education. ‘We have children who are not learning now and what are we doing about this?’ She also voiced concern over the cost of insurance ($50) for the laptops, which will be passed along to parents. ‘Every day I walk into the schools and I am nickeled and dimed to death,’ Brown said.”

Reinolds reports, “The system announced a proposal two weeks ago to spend nearly $70 million during the next four years to start the program. Cobb officials expect the cost after the first four years to be about $20 million a year if it continues to lease 63,000 laptops at once. Apple also will provide an around-the-clock help desk as well as 100 computer servers to the district.”

Full article here.

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Report: 90 percent of emails opposed to Georgia’s Apple iBook program – February 10, 2005
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Georgia school district to propose 63,000 Macs for students and teachers – February 07, 2005