“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!