Henrico County Apple iBook plan in jeopardy?

“The degree that the [Henrico County Apple iBook plan] has positively affected student education has yet to be determined. About $27.9 million has been spent on the laptops in the past four years,” Olympia Meola reports for The Richmond Tmes-Dispatch. “Internet filtering became a controversial element of the program several years ago when students were caught downloading pornography at school.”

“‘We’ve been using the best piece of software we can find,’ said Dave Myers, the county’s assistant superintendent for finance. Bidders are being asked to supply larger bandwidth to the laptops’ wireless card so the county could grant teachers the option to view all students’ computer screens electronically. School officials are also considering a filter system that works when students leave school, said Lloyd Brown, Henrico’s assistant director of technology and information services,” Meola reports.

“[Parent Steven Bass] and other parents see the omission of specific filtering requirements as a sign that school officials are trying to steer the contract to Apple, the current provider. Bass suggests that the request should be retracted and redesigned to seem less Apple-specific,” Meola reports. “‘It’s a very slanted proposal,’ Bass said. If school officials would like to go with Apple again, Bass thinks they should demand that Apple come up with the solutions. That’s not the case, county officials maintain. Brown denied any attempt to again sole-source the contract to Apple. Superintendent Fred Morton IV has repeatedly said the same. In fact, the county recently tweaked a hardware requirement in their request that made it easier for more laptop manufacturers to bid. ‘Whoever comes out with the best response will win the [contract],’ Brown said.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We hope officials take the total cost of ownership into account when reviewing the contracts and don’t act like Joe Six Pack at the local Wal-Mart and shortsightedly fixate on the sticker price alone. Besides, to go backwards from Mac OS X to Windows XP would be cruel and unusual punishment for Henrico students and teachers. Here are just a handful of articles (we have many more) that Henrico officials should keep in mind when making their decision:

Cybersecurity advisor Clarke questions why anybody would buy from Microsoft – February 18, 2005
Security expert: Don’t use Microsoft Windows, Office, Outlook, Internet Explorer – December 09, 2004
Cyber-security adviser uses Apple Macintosh to avoid Windows’ security woes – September 27, 2004
Information Security Investigator says switch from Windows to Mac OS X for security – September 24, 2004
Windows XP Service Pack 2 causing major headaches on college campuses – August 24, 2004
Scientists use Mac OS X for better performance, security – February 12, 2004
Pennsylvania school district’s PCs infected with virus; their Macs unaffected – October 01, 2003
Single Mac keeps company running while Windows machines fail due to Blaster worm – August 13, 2003

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Survey shows support for Henrico iBook program with ‘lukewarm support’ for Apple’s Mac OS X – March 07, 2005
Henrico poll finds students are using iBooks successfully – February 11, 2005
Henrico iBooks raise concerns among some parents – May 28, 2004
Henrico high school laptop program to continue, but will it still feature Apple Macs? – February 24, 2005

35 Comments

  1. The point of school is to learn… This isn’t a vocational school.

    Surfing the internet is not learning…

    Nor is spending time on IM…

    Call me old fashioned… but until one of these kids turns into the next Einstein through using a computer, computers are an unnecessary evil that must be kept out of the classroom if it’s used in place of effective teaching.

    They should be employed in a classroom only with the strictest of filters and tools…

    A failing student is a failing student… computer or not. This money would be better spent on lowering class sizes.

  2. with all due respect MDN.. go f*ck yourself.. this SHAO KAHN ad makes me want to stab you with a spoon…. MUTE KEY… ahhhh relief

    I could have sworn you said you’d turned it off..

  3. CrackA, there are definitely arguments that could be made that violence in part stems from a biological imperative since aggressive males would often have a greater chance of passing their DNA onward.

    But I have to agree that this has gotten a bit off track. Parents want what is best for their kids and I must admit that “Anal Rescue: 911” would not be high on a reading or viewing list that I would choose for my kid. The whole thing just reminded me of how overboard America can go on some issues while remaining quite permissive in others. And the fact that you can watch pretty graphic depictions of people killing each other after 10 pm on broadcast TV but are not allowed to see even mild images of people without clothes on would seem to be one of these areas.

    And as I pointed out before, I think the kids are gonna be able to get pornography if they really want to so the only benefit I can see to the filters is preventing them from being exposed to it accidently. So parents getting over-wrought over the fact that their childrem might still be able to see pornography on their laptops seems to me to be a bit of a tempest in a teacup. Put the filters on to prevent the kids from being exposed accidently and if some of them figure out how to get around the filters, I think we will just have to accept the fact that this is going to happen to a certain extent. The kids motivated enough to figure out how to circumnavigate the filters would find a way to get porn even if they didn’t have laptops. And if there were no porn at all, they would find some other way to satisfy their interest in sex. This has been happening for thousands of years and I am sure that it will continue to happen for thousands of years more.

    Preventing students from having access to laptops and all the possible benefits involved just because they might be able to use them to view some porn is an over-reaction if you ask me.

  4. if you put children to this world raise them well its your responsibility.
    at no time is it anybody else’s responsibility but the parents.
    if the parents can’t/wont take their responsibility then they should be terminated.

  5. I think that the people here who think that porn is innocent has alot to do with their age. Probably young to middle age men who view porn themselves. The problem is that porn is far from innocent. Porn breeds unhealthy views of both women and sex. Women in porn are shown to be things, not people. They are used, slapped, called horrible names, etc.

    People who watch porn usually turn to themselves instead of having healthy relationships. Porn acts as an escape. It ruins kids, families, marriages. Sex is not a bad thing, but participate in it a healthy manner in the right context. The negative impact that porn has on our country is huge.

    And to those who say that stupid parents need to parent their own kids, and that it’s their responsibility if kids get into porn obviously aren’t paying much attention. Kids and teens can run into that stuff without even trying. The ease of accessability makes it almost impossible to control. Even innocent sounding url-s like fun.com have dirty images. At least when porn was limited to stores, not just anyone could wander in. Now, all it takes is a click and a few keystrokes.

    Another note, I’m pretty sure that Tiger is going to come with parental controls built in. From what I have read, they are very good.

    – David

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