Stillwater, MN students to get 2,300 Apple laptops; some parents raise objections

“The Stillwater Board of Education approved a plan to give every junior high student in the district a laptop computer to use at home and school, despite requests from dozens of angry parents to delay the decision,” The Associated Press reports. “Monday night’s 4-2 vote allows the school district to continue negotiations with Apple Computer on the five-year, $2.85 million proposal. The laptops would go to about 2,270 students and 135 staff members at two junior high schools by next fall.”

“Many of the 75 parents who packed the three-hour meeting expressed concern when district officials only had a funding plan for the first two years. Others criticized the district for not giving the public enough information,” according to AP. “‘I thought my son was joking when he brought this home,’ Lakeland resident Missy Junker told the board. ‘It makes me think you don’t want any opposition.’ Several parents told the board that junior high students aren’t responsible enough to handle such an expensive machine. Many said their students go through a $100 graphing calculator each year because they break or get stolen.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Some of these parents who are objecting seem to be ignoring the remarkable successes of school systems adopting Apple technology. Places like Henrico County Public Schools, Richmond, VA, the State of Maine, right-next-door-to-Stillwater, Mounds Park Academy, St. Paul, MN, and others should be examples to these parents who, right now, seem that they’d prefer renaming Stillwater, “Backwater” rather than embracing a wonderful opportunity for their sons and daughters.

16 Comments

  1. It seems from tha article the parents just think it’ll be money down the tubes because kids will break them…They aren’t objecting to Apple computers, rather their money being spent on laptops, which some feel are easily stolen/destroyed.

  2. Seems they are more concerned about having ANY laptop (unless the cheapest of the cheapest). It is true though that in other district even trouble students changed attitude and general behavior vis-a-vis school activities.

  3. Those “evidence of improvement” issues are probably acknowledged and they may be supportive of those improvements for the sake of the students. I think the concerns are valid. The parents just want to make sure they are not liable for the loss of the laptops by their own children. They just feel it’s a big responsibility for them to be lugging around a $1200 CPU. I wouldn’t but my own 13 year old a laptop to take to school for fear of loss at a school where kids can steal it.

  4. When everyone has one, the reasons to steal one diminish greatly.

    Perhaps there is a way to insure them against theft and damage at a relatively low cost.

    I hate it when something new comes to a community, and they act like no one on the planet has ever done it before. All they need to do is talk with the administrators of school districts that have already done it, and find out the positives and negatives, as well as any hidden costs. Stop myth-based debates (acting like the kids themselves) and get the facts!! Geeesh!!!

  5. How about looking at the Maine and Henrico programs and seeing how they solved this so-called “issue?” Or is that too sensible or logical for Backwater, MN? Apple, how ’bout explaining it to them with real world examples like Maine, etc.

    The world is filled with morons.

  6. So basically the parents are morons for being concerned about how their tax money is spent on their kids?

    I give a lot of credit to these parents for voicing their opinions about this. Too many parents today simply could care less.

    And as far as looking at what worked elsewhere and applying that, it sounds like roses but the success one group has does not guarantee the next that same success. The more discussion that occurs now about the pros and cons of this idea amongst tax payers and the administration the better. In the end their decision will have been well thought out and most apprehensions people may have had will no doubt be put to rest.

    This isn’t myth based debate or a bunch of morons having a pig roast, it’s parents wanting to make sure that yet more of their tax money doesn’t get wasted and hurt the people it’s supposed to help: the kids.

  7. Discuss it until you’re blue in the face or get the laptops in the hands of the kids because doing so raises achievement of the students in every case. These parents are idiots. Get moving or get the hell out of the way. 2,270 students and only 75 parents showed up to voice concerns. Simple math shows their irrelevancy.

  8. There you go, let’s completely disregard the entire post I made and focus one one minor error. Good job by you to spot it!

    So Fred this get out of the way idea of yours, what if the district were to buy Dell laptops instead of Macs with no dicussions. Just release a “here’s how it’s going to be” statement and get the kids Dells without discussing the issue with the parents and teachers. Certainly you’d be happy with that too, right?

    Also, 75 parents are irrelevant because the are the very small minority. Well that sounds to me like a great argument not to use Macs in these schools, since they are the irrelevant minority as well. Excellent idea.

    This boils down to not even being a Mac/PC debate. It’s just about parents wanting their concerns adressed before the decision is final. It’s not stonewalling, it’s genuine and completely justified talks.

    One parent comments on thinking it was a joke that their child brought home the laptop. This parent was not aware that their tax money had been spent on laptops for students until the moment the child brought it home. Maybe it was the parents fault for not knowing. Maybe it wasn’t. But imagine your disappointment and concern if your child gets home from school one day and says “look at what they gave everyone at school today” and hold up a pretty, shiney, sparkling brand new Gateway.

  9. Some districts that are doing this require parents to buy a $50 insurance policy. People have been doing this for a long enough time that the companies have figured out the loss…

  10. First of all, laptop programs have had TREMENDOUS success in both the state of Maine and Henrico County. I don’t see them having had problems with broken/stolen laptops.

    Secondly, I find the parents mentioned in the article very patronizing to the kids. You expect kids not to have respect, then they’ll follow your example and won’t respect people, property, laptops, whatever.

    If you want kids to learn responsibility, adults have to be willing enough to entrust them with some responsibility, not make high falutin’ patronizing knee-jerk comments about kids not being able to take care of laptops. These parents are just fearful because they don’t know a damn thing about computing or learning, for that matter. Education is all about the bottom line, right?

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