Report: 90 percent of emails opposed to Georgia’s Apple iBook program

“In the first public announcement about his controversial laptop computer program, Cobb schools Superintendent Joe Redden told board members Wednesday the four-year contract with Apple computers to supply about 63,000 iBook G4 laptops will cost $69.9 million. Redden said Apple negotiated a price of $350 per computer while the other two companies vying for the contract charged $404.25 (Dell) and $381.50 (IBM). ‘It’s a very conservative number,’ said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Don Beers, who gave the presentation alongside Redden,” Jon Gillooly reports for The Marietta Daily Journal.

“Beers said $69.9 million includes all expenses – $2.5 million for infrastructure, $5.7 million for a wireless network, $10.1 million for teachers’ laptops, $33.6 million for high school students’ laptops and $18 million for laptops for middle school students. The program is funded by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax II, which sets aside almost $76 million for technology,” Gillooly reports. “Beers said the school system expects to save money on the laptop program by saving money on textbooks, reducing the number of portable classrooms by transforming computer labs into classroom space and selling the laptops to students when the leases expire.”

“Despite the controversial nature of the program – 90 percent of e-mails to school board members and Redden between Sept. 16 and Oct. 18 were opposed to the proposal, the Marietta Daily Journal discovered in an earlier open records request – there was only one public speaker at Wednesday’s meeting who did not speak about the laptop program,” Gillooly reports. “The laptop program now goes to the seven-member school board for a vote.”

Full article here.


  1. I really hope this goes through. I doesn’t look like it’s going to cost the taxpayers much money anyhow, and it helps the kids! Go for it Georgia! You won’t regret it.

  2. Hmmm… 90% of how many emails were opposed? 90% of 10 emails? …or 100 emails?

    Sounds like the Wintel droids were sending emails in opposition. How any parent or teaching professional could be opposed to this amazing deal would be beyond me.

    MDN magic word is first. How appropriate.

  3. BSOD–

    You know, it could just be that they’re opposed to the idea of laptops in the classroom in general. Many don’t feel that the expense justifies the benefits. Of course, either way they’re wrong.

  4. MDN Magic Word – TRY… he TRIED to be first post but didn’t try hard enough!

    I hope it goes through too. Seems like Apple has begun to play Microsoft’s game… take money earned on one product (iPod) and use that to subsidise entry into another area (this deal). How else could they offer such a cut rate? They just want to get in there so that they can use that to parlay to other school districts in the future.

  5. If you’re OK with it, you don’t generally write an email saying so.
    If you’re opposed, you’d me more inclined to voice your opposition.

    Thus, those statistics mean nothing.

  6. alot can be done with $70 million. I’m sure those oppossed have reason to beleive that money would be better spent elsewhere. Or kept in the pockets of the taxpayers.

    I like to see laptops in the hands of our youngsters. It levels the playing field and gives the poorest kids another chance at an education. A poorly managed program can be a terrible waste of time. I think schools are getting better at it though.

    A school system near me (Ann Arbor) just bought a bunch of iBooks. I haven’t seen their plans yet though. I just hope it’s done right and the teachers are educated and that they don’t become more of a distraction. Kids carry far too many books though and if a laptop can solve that problem I’m all for it.

    Where is the electronic paper? Chips printed with injet printers you can fold? Where’d all these inventions go?

  7. ok – you idiots need to stop with the first post crap. it never works.

    magic word – zebra
    as in racing stripes, the zebra wins the day. and no, i have no idea what the relevance is with the thread. my creativity is being zapped working on a Dell at the office. can’t wait to get home to my G5 at home.

  8. From another article I read I gather most of the opposition has to do with the fact that many don’t feel that the program that the money is coming from was intended to buy laptops. I guess it was worded pretty vaguely though.

    But boy! Talk about an agressive price from Apple!! How can they be making any money from this? They must be going for it as a marquee account and to “hook” new Apple users.

  9. Doesn’t say anywhere in that article why 9 out of 10 disagree… they make it sound like it’s because they are apple laptops, when the real issue is spending their extra money on any laptops period!

  10. I live in GA, not far from Cobb actually. This story was on the radio this morning. The problem people were having is that some of these kids can’t even read. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for laptops getting into more hands, especially Macs, but the government here seems to think the way to solve the education problem is to throw more money at it. What good is a laptop going to do if the person using it can’t read or write? A good point was brought up on the radio, too; what about giving the kids with the highest grades laptops? I’d much rather work with someone who is intelligent and can’t work with a computer than an idiot who can. Technology is not the answer to solving underlying problems with schools, and this money could be better spend on other things.

  11. I disagree Plush. Getting the computer might very well help them to learn to read and write. There is a lot of excellent educational software out there that these kids could benefit from. And if they’re in a poor home without a computer at all, this will get their foot in the door. Not to mention they’ll learn much needed computer skills that they’ll need someday out in the real world. I’ve seen first hand how much a young child can learn in a very short period of time once they’ve received their first ever computer.

  12. Maybe it’s just me, but the impression I get is that the 90% of emails are opposed to the laptop program as a whole – not specifically the purchase of APPLE laptops. Since the technology program is funded by a special purpose local tax, I don’t see any reason for such opposition.

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