San Antonio school board to vote today on taking away students’ Apple iBooks

“Six months ago, Pleasanton High became the only school in the San Antonio area to give all its students a wireless laptop computer. The school board could vote today, however, to take them away. Frank Persyn, vice president of the school board, has proposed reconsidering the district’s four-year contract with Apple. District officials say they aren’t sure why,” Diana Reinhart reports for San Antonio Express-News. “Pleasanton’s $2.2 million contract with Apple allows the district to pay for the wireless laptops over four years. The contract includes laptops for the high school’s teachers and 950 students, training for staff, and supporting equipment such as printers and projectors.”

“‘I wasn’t consulted,’ Superintendent Alton Fields said. ‘I haven’t been told why it was put on (the agenda) or what their intent is.’ What’s clear, however, is that the board’s membership has changed considerably since the wireless project was approved in September by a 5-2 vote. Back then, the majority of the board wanted the high school to go wireless, but the current board, which was elected in May, appears less enthusiastic about the advance,” Reinhart reports.

“Persyn could not be reached for comment Monday. But as one of the two members who voted against the project last year, there is speculation he may now have the support he needs to kill the wireless venture. Two board members who supported the laptops were defeated in the May election, and another resigned. Today’s board meeting will be the first for the new members,” Reinhart reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Something unpleasant going down in Pleasanton? We’ll keep an eye on this one. It’ll be interesting to see if the board is anti-computer or anti-Apple; we’ll know for sure if they sign a contract in the future with, say, Dell.

22 Comments

  1. What do you expect? This is Texas. They routinely hold kids back by not allowing them to take certain classes. This way, it keeps the graduation rates at a higher level since the borderline kids are held back.

  2. “Unpleasant”? Ugly! In fact, it smells. What’s changed in six months? The experience? The teachers? The students? The Board is bored and can find nothing better to do?

    Or maybe there’s a real issue here. So what is it?

  3. “Two board members who supported the laptops were defeated in the May election, and another resigned”

    Maybe there was backlash against the idea of spending that much. It is $2000 per student, but one man’s bargain is another’s waste.

  4. San Antonio is not really the most forward thinking city. Being the 9th largest city in the country and the most popular destination in the country…..it thinks like a small town and they (City council) think its a Metropolitan City. Far from it. Most metropolitan cities do not rely on Tourism as their main source of funds. Guess what? The next biggest thing in San Antonio is BioTech. And Pleasanton citizens probably think that the wireless deal is a little to forward thinking that will not help students in the long run. I also think that they think that Apple is a premium machine for a premium price….and that there are alternatives. Just my theory.

  5. Don’t mean to be harsh but you don’t know what you’re talking about re TX. As a (non-Texan) education analyst, I can tell you that TX has left nearly all other states (except NC) in the dust over the last decade in increasing the academic achievement of disadvantaged students (esp. African American). There’s still a LOT to do, and believe it or not, TX is continuing to raise its standards. You need better info sources…
    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  6. Texas. Dell.

    Apple. Oooops.

    Besides, teachers don’t know what’s best for students, bean-counters do.

    Kids, skoolin’ is ’bout learnin’ ’bout the ‘real’ world, on a real compooter. One that plays hundreds of games, and keeps real men busy doing real work – a-fixin’ and a-tinkerin’. Ya don’t need no sissy compooter fer drawin picshures. Draw picshures on real compooters with CorelDraw. Hee Haw!

  7. Thanks “Wrong, Jeff” for setting Tx record straight. Its a shame that San Antonio ISD is thinking about this, but its not so much Dell. Dell is in Austin area. School boards in Texas anyway are generally little people with little power and they think they are hot sh_t. Im sure the students will raise objections now that they’ve had a taste of using well made machines. And could someone forward the articles about Maine and whoever else up north is reporting improved grades and student interest to the writer of this article and San Antonio ISD?

  8. It’s Pleasanton ISD. San Antonio ISD has nothing to do with this, I don’t think. Just a neighboring city. And Alton Fields has a .Mac account. I assume he’s a mac user. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  9. if you ever go to a school board meeting, you’ll understand exactly how things like this happen. The people who are on the local school boards generally have the cognitive ability of plankton. How something like a wireless network EVER got approved in the first place is a mystery to me.

  10. Wrong, Wrong Jeff,

    You’re blowing smoke. According to the experts on minorities in Texas…

    http://www.texasnaacp.org/taas.htm

    Read this from the San Antonio paper:

    Test expert takes TAAS to task
    By Cecilia Balli
    San Antonio Express-News Staff Writer
    September 22, 1999

    A Boston testing expert testifying in federal court here Tuesday said “savage inequalities” in Texas public schools make the use of a standardized test to determine who gets a high school diploma unfair for African-Americans and Hispanics.

    In his second day of testimony, Boston College Education Professor Walter Haney provided a sweeping summary of how high retention rates, invalid test construction, teacher dissatisfaction with the exam and a mismatch between what students learn and what they’re tested on indicates the state must end its strict use of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills.

    The legal challenge will determine whether the exit-level TAAS has discriminatory effects for minorities, who have closed the gap in test scores with their Anglo peers but continue to pass the exam at lower rates.

    “I think the difference in pass rates are primarily due to what Jonathan Kozol calls the ‘savage inequalities’ that persist in our educational system,” said Haney, acting director for the Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy in Boston. “There are huge savage inequalities reamaining in the educational system in Texas.”

  11. How much is it going to cost them to break a contract and when you buy something you have to pay for it.

    May be Apple will take them back for a fee.

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