“Along with their textbooks and lunch money, every seventh- and eighth-grader [in the state of Maine] lugs another school-day essential from class to class: an Apple iBook,” Brian Kladko reports for The Boston Globe. “The state put a laptop into the hands of every Maine seventh- and eighth-grader three years ago. It’s a statewide program that Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts hopes to replicate on an even grander scale, saying that students need high-tech skills to succeed in the workforce. Romney’s proposal, which would be the largest of its kind in the nation, calls for spending $54 million to equip about a half million students — every Massachusetts student in the sixth through 12th grades — with a low-budget laptop. His plan, unveiled last week, depends on the availability of a laptop costing about $100, similar to one being developed by MIT.”
[MIT’s proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop that will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data. These rugged laptops will be WiFi- and cell phone-enabled, and have USB ports galore. Its current specifications are: 500MHz, 1GB, 1 Megapixel.]
“Maine’s four-year contract to lease the 34,000 computers is due to expire at the end of the school year. The state has spent $37 million to lease the computers and train teachers. Governor John Baldacci supports the program, but is looking for ways to fund it, said Lynn Kippax, a spokesman for the governor,” Kladko reports. “While Romney proposes letting students own the laptops, students in Maine don’t get to keep them. The machines are treated much like textbooks, with students returning them at the end of the school year. Only some districts let students take laptops home; in others, the schools stow them in a cart overnight.”
“Lawmakers probably won’t hold a hearing on Romney’s laptop plan until November, said Representative Patricia A. Haddad, cochairwoman of the Joint Education Committee. Haddad, a former middle-school teacher, said that for all of the promise of laptops, they will bring all kinds of practical problems: What happens when students forget laptops at home? What happens when they break them?
She even fears that some parents might sell their children’s computer,” Kladko reports. “‘That’s probably a very unkind thing to say, but you think it’s not going to happen?’ Haddad said. ‘So where does that put that child? Are you now going to penalize this kid?'”
Full article here.
Parents might sell their children’s computer? Parents, excluding crack addicts, can you imagine?!
[MacDailyNews speculates above about one reason why anyone would even think of selling their child’s state-provided school laptop. MacDailyNews is not belittling the problem of crack cocaine or any other addiction. If you feel that you are addicted to any harmful substance or activity please seek help immediately. Do not sell your child’s state-provided school laptop.]