Mooresville School District shining example (it’s not just about the 4,400 Apple MacBook Air notebooks)

“Sixty educators from across the nation roamed the halls and ringed the rooms of East Mooresville Intermediate School, searching for the secret formula,” Alan Schwarz reports for The New York Times. “They found it in Erin Holsinger’s fifth-grade math class.”

“There, a boy peering into his school-issued MacBook blitzed through fractions by himself, determined to reach sixth-grade work by winter,” Schwarz reports. “Three desks away, a girl was struggling with basic multiplication — only 29 percent right, her screen said — and Ms. Holsinger knelt beside her to assist. Curiosity was fed and embarrassment avoided, as teacher connected with student through emotion far more than Wi-Fi.”

Schwarz reports, “As debate continues over whether schools invest wisely in technology — and whether it measurably improves student achievement — Mooresville, a modest community about 20 miles north of Charlotte best known as home to several Nascar teams and drivers, has quietly emerged as the de facto national model of the digital school… Overwhelmed by requests to view the programs in action, the district now herds visitors into groups of 60 for monthly demonstrations; the waiting list stretches to April. What they are looking for is an explanation for the steady gains Mooresville has made since issuing laptops three years ago to the 4,400 4th through 12th graders in five schools (three K-3 schools are not part of the program).”

“Each student’s MacBook Air is leased from Apple for $215 a year, including warranty, for a total of $1 million; an additional $100,000 a year goes for software,” Schwarz reports. “Terry Haas, the district’s chief financial officer, said the money was freed up through ‘incredibly tough decisions.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Attribution: Fortune. Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

9 Comments

  1. This is just about the MacBook airs. I hear about some vchools in the newspaper closing school a month before the school year is over because they can’t pay for the electricity.

          1. They spend all of the per-student taxpayer money plus some added parental money. Meanwhile, the allow only students they choose (Parents have the extra money is a big criteria. Student is not a discipline problem is another), contrasted with the public schools that take on the task of educating all children, problems or money notwithstanding. Vouchers, just another CON job.

          2. Voucher programs hurt public schools. There are economies of scale in public schools that would decline if a substantial percentage of families/students removed their per student funding from the public system.

            Vouchers are an easy sound bite for politicians who don’t want to face the difficult task of actually improving the public school system.

            Quiviran (below) scores on two counts. Wealthier folks are better positioned to leverage the vouchers because they can add money to the voucher and transport kids farther from home to seek a higher quality school. Wealthier folks are more likely to utilize private schools, anyway, and a voucher program would just incentivize that trend. This would degrade the educational opportunities left to the rest. As Quiviran states, public schools are also obligated to educate everyone, including the socioeconomically disadvantaged and the intellectually and behaviorally impaired. Private schools can pick and choose among candidate students.

            The elementary school that my children attend has been struggling to cope with the challenge of mainstreaming kids who are not capable of performing in standard classes. As funding for full-time attendants has been pulled back, the teacher is increasingly given responsibility for dealing with these children, some of whom are highly disruptive. Things do need to change, but not at the expense of the underprivileged.

          3. Not true. The money from the voucher comes directly from the school budget, it doesn’t matter how frugal the voucher school is, the money is still missing from the public school! Which is the intent – weaken the public school in favor of private, often religious schools.

  2. Wait a minute!!!!!!

    I thought the consensus here was that the NYT was not fit to wrap fish gut nor line bird cages with. Yet MDN is citing an NYT article?????

    Consistency, please!!! 😉

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