Massachusetts school forces parents who can to pay for students’ MacBooks

Apple Online Store“A new program in Beverly, Massachusetts aims to outfit every high-school student with a new MacBook. Although such technology programs are not uncommon, Beverly High School is asking parents to foot the bill upfront or through a leasing program with an option to buy the device after three years. Monthly cost is said to range from $20 to $25, with financial assistance available for eligible families,” MacNN reports.

“Parents have voiced frustration over the terms of the program, which excludes Windows systems even if the students already own one,” MacNN reports. “Superintendent James Hayes suggests the school will only have ‘one platform, and that’s going to be the Mac,’ according to a Salem News report.”

Full article here.

Cate Lecuyer reports for The Salem News, “‘You’re kidding me,’ parent Jenn Parisella said when she found out she’d have to buy her sophomore daughter, Sky, a new computer. ‘She has a laptop. Why would I buy her another laptop?’ Sky has a Dell.”

MacDailyNews Take: Because you bought your daughter a piece of junk, Jenn.

Lecuyer continues, “Parents can pay for the computers upfront or lease them from the district, with the option to buy after three years. The payments should work out to about $20 to $25 per month, Hayes said. The cost also includes free tech support. ‘We realize for some families that will be a stretch,’ Superintendent James Hayes said. In those cases, the district will provide financial assistance.”

MacDailyNews Take: So, what’s the problem? That a school made the correct technology choice and is helping those who don’t understand to make the correct choice, too?

Lecuyer continues, “Students who don’t participate will be able to borrow a school-provided laptop during the day, but they won’t be able to take it home, Hayes said.”

MacDailyNews Take: Sounds like everybody’s covered. We endorse this wholeheartedly. If they were forcing inferior Windows laptops on the kids, we’d be opposed to the forced handicapping of defenseless children.

Lecuyer continues, “Beverly will be the first school district in eastern Massachusetts to launch the laptop program. While Gateway Regional Middle School in the western Massachusetts town of Huntington also charges parents, other schools in the state provide laptops for free.”

“Berkshire County schools in North Adams and Pittsfield have been using laptops since 2003, and the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester has since 2005. Those programs are funded through a combination of state earmarks, private and corporate sponsors, and the local school districts, said Matt Mervis, an educational technology consultant who helped get the programs going,” Lecuyer reports. “‘There’s a lot of movement in that direction,’ he said. ‘There’s a strong consensus that we’ll see more and more of this.’ Unfortunately, Massachusetts hasn’t continued its financial commitment to fund one-on-one laptops, he said.”

MacDailyNews Note: Find out more about Apple’s Mac education programs here.

Lecuyer continues, “Maine, on the other hand, introduced the program in 2002, and it’s currently in all middle schools and more than half of the high schools in the state, said Jeff Mao, learning technology and policy director for the Maine Department of Education. The computers — all 70,000 of them this year — are purchased by the state, which is then reimbursed by the schools. The cost comes out of the budget. The state considers the laptops essential to learning, much like textbooks, he said. ‘Families pay in the fact that they’re taxpaying citizens,’ Mao said. But both he and Mervis said asking families to pay is not uncommon, and many such programs exist throughout the country.”

“Briscoe Middle School PTO co-president Mercene Perry, who has a sophomore son, said she supports the idea,” Lecuyer reports. “Most students will eventually buy a computer when they go to college anyway, so having the option to own the laptop is great, she said. The district considered PCs but decided to go with MacBooks because Apple offers a better package with educational and technical support, Hayes said. Plus, the software the district would have to purchase for a PC adds up.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Congrats to Beverly High School students and thank God every day that you don’t go to school in Toronto!

55 Comments

  1. They’re lucky. In my area, Md, many (maybe most) private schools require Windows tablets, aka Windows notebooks with swivel screens and optional stylus input. Haven’t heard of any with Macs. Glad I don’t have a kid in school.

  2. Well, it’s great that they are requiring students to have computers, and I totally agree that providing Macs is the better choice, but…

    I do not think it is either fair or logical to make students and their families, who ALREADY have notebooks, whether Mac or Windows, have to buy into this program. Sure, they can borrow a computer from the school, but honestly, if they have a computer, that they are happy with, then they should be able to use it. They should definitely be responsible in their actions and use of it, but it us not right to limit their choice.

  3. With the financial programs available the only reason not to condone this program is buyer’s remorse. So what if you bought a Dell? You didn’t buy it specifically because the school told you so then flip flopped over to Apple. You bought because your kid wanted a laptop. The school has determined that the required tool
    is a MacBook. Find a way to ccomply or exercise you freedom to move your child to another school.

  4. maybe the mom knows if she gets a mac then she can surf more porn and be more creative and use the little cam for amateur porn in a couple years when she’s 18… she doesn’t have to make up a porn name..

  5. Unless they are also asking the parents to buy the school books, it should have been paid for with the real-estate tax like everything else. And, not every kid will go to college. So, they are being asked to get something that they shouldn’t have too.

    Just let the kids use the school’s laptops in school if they can’t bring one from home. Let them have server storage to work on the files after hours.

    Great for my AAPL stocks. Bad choice for the town.

  6. @Jersey_Trader

    I agree, but when I was in high school I remember the laptops sucking badly.. I think we had maybe 10 in total that I think we all used once one day in a class. Seems like more and more schools getting laptops.. guess I lucked out on that. As far as the taxes thing goes..

    why the hell is it not included? Just add it into the taxes.. or better yet why is it not? Is the school not making enough so they need to charge the parents? I am highly sure there is financial help for those who cant afford it. Especially when some of them have reduced lunch.. now your gonna expect them to toss down $900 bills for a laptop?? Its nice to see schools enforcing laptops to allow kids to follow technology but how about the people who dont just have extra cash to give and are struggling as it is to feed their kid. Especially if they have 4 kids… that would be a huge chunk of money to drop

  7. I love my Mac and my iToy’s as much as any Apple Fanboy. But, there is very little research to show that laptops or other technology in the hands of each student improves education.

    In the United States, this particular model is also an affront to the basic tenants of a free public-education. It is a given that “free” is not necessarily free – I did just receive my summer tax bill.

    Anyway – back to the subject. Bad bad bad.

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