Maine to more than double its Apple MacBook program to 100,000 students

“Maine is expanding its program to provide laptop computers to 100,000 students,” David Sharpe reports for The Associated Press. “The goal is to provide a laptop to every public school student in grades seven through 12 by the fall, adding 53,000 high schoolers to the program, said Education Commissioner Susan Gendron.”

“Gov. John Baldacci hinted at an expansion of the laptop computer program in his State of the State address Tuesday night, and Education Department officials announced Wednesday that they’re negotiating a four-year lease with Apple Inc. for 100,000 Apple MacBook laptops,” Sharpe reports.

“Maine started its first-in-the-nation program by distributing more than 30,000 computers to each seventh- and eighth-grader in all of the state’s state public schools in 2002 and 2003,” Sharpe reports. “About 30 high schools also have laptops that they obtained outside the scope of the original program. Now, all 120 of Maine’s high schools, along with 241 middle schools, will have new laptops under the same program at a cost of about $242 per computer per year, Gendron said.”

“The state hasn’t yet completed its negotiations with Apple, but it’s expected that the new lease will cost the state about $25 million per year, said David Connerty-Marin, an Education Department spokesman,” Sharpe reports. “The state now pays about $13 million per year to provide Apple laptops to 37,000 middle-schoolers and about 10,000 middle school and high school teachers and administrators.”

Sharpe reports, “A study released in 2007 by the Maine Education Policy Research Institute at the University of Southern Maine indicated writing scores improved after laptops were introduced.”

Full article here.

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