“The state that was first to provide laptops to every seventh and eighth grader in its public schools is taking its campaign to the high schools, and Maine’s top education official vowed Thursday that every high school student will have a laptop computer within two years,” David Sharp reports for The Associated Press.
“The 67,000 computers currently being distributed at more than half of the high schools will give students the skills they’ll need to compete in the workplace, said Don Siviski, superintendent of Regional School Unit 2,” Sharp reports. “‘The competitive world that these students are going to be engaged in — it isn’t only the United States, the Northeast or Maine. Their competitors are going to be all over the world. They need to be savvy,’ he said. ‘Schools need to join the 21st century to prepare these kids for that world.'”
Sharp reports, “Under a four-year, $64 million lease, Apple Inc. will provide each student with an Apple MacBook with a 13-inch screen, 160-gigabyte hard drive, built-in camera and a full slate of software, as well as wireless routers, tech support and warranty repairs. The cost is $240 per year per computer.”
“Maine Education Commissioner Sue Gendron wanted to expand the program into all of the state’s 119 public high schools, but had to settle with participation from only 64 this fall. The narrow window for high schools to sign onto the program over the summer and the nation’s economic turmoil prevented full participation, she said,” Sharp reports. “Still, Gendron said, Maine’s program — the first statewide program to provide laptops to students — is also the nation’s largest. The students are allowed to take the computers home, but don’t own them. The laptops have to be returned to the school in the spring.”
Sharp reports, “The laptop program began under Gov. Angus King, who wanted to eliminate the so-called “digital divide” between wealthy and poor kids. Maine started the first-in-the-nation program by distributing more than 30,000 computers to every seventh- and eighth-grader in the state’s public schools in 2002 and 2003.”
Full article here.