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MA High School Forces All Students To Buy MacBooks

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the at-least-it's-not-ipads dept.

Education 1217

An anonymous reader sends in this excerpt from the Salem News: "A new program at Beverly High will equip every student with a new laptop computer to prepare kids for a high-tech future. But there's a catch. The money for the $900 Apple MacBooks will come out of parents' pockets. '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. Come September 2011, every student will need an Apple. They'll bring it to class and use it for homework. Superintendent James Hayes sees the technology as an essential move to prepare kids for the future. The School Committee approved the move last year, and Hayes said he's getting the news out now so families can prepare. 'We have one platform,' Hayes said. 'And that's going to be the Mac.'"

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1217 comments

iNelson (4, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541294)

...so the poor kids will have iPads?

iHa!

Re:iNelson (1)

metachimp (456723) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541356)

Something tells me this is one of those districts that doesn't have any poor kids. Those districts have to share a single IBM PS/2.

Re:iNelson (-1, Offtopic)

Svippy (876087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541662)

IBM PS/2.

Ugh, IBM PC/2! PS/2 is the connectors, PC/2 was the overall product, PS/2 does not include a computer, it's just a connector. Or wait, are you saying they are going to stare at a PS/2 connector?

Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (5, Informative)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541304)

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.

Which essentially means that the program is voluntary. The school is hoping to be able to save money by not having to provide computer labs.

Re:Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (1)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541328)

You have a strange idea of "voluntary" when it comes to High School.

Re:Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (5, Insightful)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541414)

High schools have a strange sense of "voluntary."

Re:Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (5, Interesting)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541376)

Yes. Completely voluntary. Until the first homework assignment comes around and the kids who don't participate have to stay late and work through lunch.

Re:Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (1, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541678)

So just like the real world. :-)

The person below me made the point about parents paying for these MacBooks via taxes. Yes. They also pay taxes when they don't send their kids to school at all (i.e. homeschool). That's the unfairness of a monopoly in a nutshell. It's the government equivalent of having to send $1000 to Microsoft every year, even if you never use MS operating systems.

Re:Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (1)

MaerD (954222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541686)

They're preparing these kids for the Real World (tm). Hence the ban on "personal laptops" and the enforcement of a standard platform with whatever arbitrary crapware/spyware/etc the school system decided was needed!

Re:Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541438)

Which essentially means that the program is not voluntary.
They just get the option of paying for the school's crazy macbook program either directly or via taxes.

Re:Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (1)

GreekPimpSlap (925925) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541552)

Which essentially means that the program is voluntary. The school is hoping to be able to save money by not having to provide computer labs.

actually i live in the next town over. fairly small and not ritzy like Swampscott, Peabody, or Marblehead. I am sure there are plenty of people in this town that wont be able to afford this. I's snap if i was forced to buy a MacBook or the like.

Re:Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541634)

My family's from Salem, and I grew up in Newburyport, so I know the area very well. Did you even read what I wrote? Students are NOT being forced to buy laptops-- they can borrow them if they need to.

Re:Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (4, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541724)

And then they'll get a project, or a homework assignment, or just plain harassed and abused in one way or another until they cough up the $$$.

This is a SCHOOL we're talking about.

Re:Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (5, Insightful)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541610)

Sorry teacher. I'm not rich enough to do my homework.

Obligatory Comment (1)

mederbil (1756400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541316)

They're preparing them for a technological future with MACS!!

Sorry - this was obligatory. :(

What are they going to do? (5, Insightful)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541330)

Suppose I were the parent of an underprivileged child. Suppose I live paycheck-to-paycheck, and don't have room in my budget for this. What the hell is the school going to do when I refuse to adhere to this absurdity? Fail my child? This wreaks of something illegal.

Re:What are they going to do? (4, Funny)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541402)

I would assume that the reason you are so underprivileged is because you failed to learn how to read in school. The article clearly states that the children will be provided with laptops during the school day if they can't buy one. They just can't bring it home since it is school property.

Re:What are they going to do? (4, Insightful)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541448)

"They'll bring it to class and use it for homework."

Hard to do homework if you can't do it at home.

Re:What are they going to do? (4, Informative)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541590)

I know it's really hard to click a link, so I'll provide the relevant part for you:
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," he said. In those cases, the district will provide financial assistance. 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.

Re:What are they going to do? (5, Insightful)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541706)

The fact that they make it slightly less of a challenge doesn't make it acceptable. They directly sponsor the most expensive vendor in the market and encourage parents to spend unreasonable amounts of money on unnecessary equipment. What are they going to do when high school students lose, destroy, and otherwise render unusable $900 equipment that they do not own? They're going to charge parents. Their only goal is to externalize costs, not help students.

Re:What are they going to do? (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541672)

It should be pointed out that nowhere in the article is it stated that homework assignments can only be done on school-provided laptops.

Re:What are they going to do? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541418)

perhaps you should have read the article... then you would know.

Re:What are they going to do? (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541434)

Suppose I were the parent of an underprivileged child. Suppose I live paycheck-to-paycheck, and don't have room in my budget for this. What the hell is the school going to do when I refuse to adhere to this absurdity? Fail my child? This wreaks of something illegal.

RFTA: if you choose not to or are unable to participate, your child will be able to use a loaner during school, but not take the loaner home.

Re:What are they going to do? (1)

berzerke (319205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541456)

...What the hell is the school going to do when I refuse to adhere to this absurdity? Fail my child? This wreaks of something illegal.

No, it wreaks of someone getting a kickback under the table.

Re:What are they going to do? (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541538)

This wreaks of something illegal.

No, it wreaks of someone getting a kickback under the table.

Which, uhh... is illegal.

the word you're looking for is "reeks" (1, Informative)

Chirs (87576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541534)

"wreaks" means to demolish or damage

Re:What are they going to do? (1)

Kildjean (871084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541592)

Find another job and work your ass off so your child has an unparalled education.

Not surprising (1)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541340)

And this is what you get when you put technical decisions in the hands of people who call their tower a "CPU." Any competent content administrator should be able to deal with their data moving across windows, linux and mac systems. This is expensive ignorance at its finest.

Re:Not surprising (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541578)

Isn't this the same argument Mac and Linux people made to the pro Windows contingent 5 years ago? What was the argument then? Oh, yes, I remember - technical support costs are less when we only have to support one platform.... Not surprisingly most of us will agree that the all-one-platform is a bad idea, particularly when the school system is forcing the student into a 900.00 purchase. But, there really isn't a good solution I've heard yet to cover the problem of when the student needs a laptop and the system doesn't have the funds to put one in the students hands. And I don't think it matters what platform it is, we 'd be having the same discussion if the platform was Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, or colormeelmo.

Re:Not surprising (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541612)

Exactly! I was just thinking that they should probably just require a portable computer that can connect to wireless and has a modern browser and leave it at that. Have the teachers and students use Google Docs or the equivalent and make sure the classes, common areas, etc. all have good WiFi coverage and you are pretty much done.

Re:Not surprising (1)

AdamBv1 (1382569) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541688)

It could be worse, they could the a group of people who call their tower a hard drive.

Sounds more like parents will (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541364)

A new program at Beverly High will equip every student with a new laptop computer

Odd, from reading the summary, it sounds more like the parents will do that, while the 'program' will just require it.

My two cents (5, Insightful)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541372)

Is it really necessarily to require every student to have a laptop in order to learn? Are they saying it's nearly impossible to correctly teach students without this technology?

And sure, while technology makes things easier to do, it almost feels like they're blaming the lack of technology for not being able to properly teach the students. But, that's my opinion.

Re:My two cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541492)

You are not alone in thinking that.

Re:My two cents (4, Informative)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541566)

I remember when you couldn't use a calculator until you understood what you were doing on paper. Even then, show your work questions sort of kept it so that you needed to know what you were doing.

I suppose with QuickTime X ability to record the screen they can show their work, if you can call mindlessly punching keys work.

Re:My two cents (4, Insightful)

techstar25 (556988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541644)

Is it really necessarily to require every student to have a laptop in order to learn?

Albert Einstein didn't have a laptop in school.
Ben Franklin didn't have a laptop in school.
Stephen Hawking didn't have a laptop in school.
Thomas Edison didn't have a laptop in school.
Nikola Tesla didn't have a laptop in school.
Even Bill Gates didn't have a laptop in school.
They turned out okay.

Re:My two cents (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541696)

I think it's crap. Today's kids can't read or write worth a damn. They'd be better off just eliminating computers from classrooms altogether, and concentrating on teaching the basics. I never needed a computer, or anything besides a calculator, for high school or any of the basic college classes (obviously, computer programming classes were a different matter).

Honestly (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541374)

Laptops prices aside, which aren't that different between similar specifications anyway, how is that different than schools who forces students to use Windows?

Re:Honestly (3, Funny)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541428)

You can't say "the 900 dollar mandatory price tag aside" and then say there's no issue. Putting a statement that you want to ignore the major issue in your post doesn't make it go away.

Re:Honestly (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541626)

Good point, but I would submit the fact that 90% of all people who have a PC have Windows to go with it would be an excellent answer. Yes, the school could also (bad car analogy FTW!) standardize on right-hand-drive vehicles to drive in their parking lot so everyone is driving on the same side of the road, but that's ignoring an underlying standard that pretty much everyone already has a car, and it's probably a left-hand-drive here in the US.

I know standardizing will make the school admin's jobs easier, and I don't think tax dollars should be buying laptops, so as far as this program goes it makes a certain sense. Pick a standard, make the parents buy to that standard, offer in-school loaners for kids who need them.

But if they need to standardize on something it would seem to make sense to standardize on something that most people already have. If you don't already have it, you can get a basic netbook for $250 to run Windows, and a decent laptop for under $500 rather than forcing a high-school student to be responsible for a $900 machine and their parents responsible for replacing it when it gets dropped. I bet Apple won't offer the same deep discounted price of $900 on the MacBook when Little Jimmy drops his first one in December, and his second one in March.

Re:Honestly (2, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541628)

The difference is that, by making this a requirement, this amounts to a tax to attend school. And, the tax isn't even being paid to the school district, it is being paid to Apple.

Obligatory flame seed (1, Insightful)

jbeach (852844) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541382)

Macs are at least a step up from Windows in terms of viruses and security - which I expect is why the school chose macs rather than pc's. Keeping a bunch of PC laptops free of viruses would be a nightmare for any public-school IT department. If they even have an IT department, and it isn't just a second job piled onto the computer teacher's desk.

Re:Obligatory flame seed (1, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541542)

Macs are at least a step up from Windows in terms of viruses and security - which I expect is why the school chose macs rather than pc's.

Oh please. They are "requiring" Macs because they have more chic style cache. The people signing off this policy probably don't have a clue about security. But damn, that Mac book is very cool looking indeed.

Also, the *ARE NOT* requiring students to *BUY* one. Those that choose not to can check one out at school (though not take them home).

I think the whole idea is ridiculous, and focuses on the wrong things. High school kids can barely write legibly, can not spell nor understand basic math. These are the issues the school should be focusing on.

Re:Obligatory flame seed (2, Funny)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541648)

They are "requiring" Macs because they have more chic style cache.

It's built right into the hardware? That's awesome and creepy on so many different levels.

Re:Obligatory flame seed (3, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541554)

Macs are at least a step up from Windows in terms of viruses...

Yes (popularity).

...and security

Lol. No.

Re:Obligatory flame seed (1)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541728)

Keeping a bunch of PC laptops free of viruses would be a nightmare for any public-school IT department.

except the laptops belong to the students and therefore are not the responsibility of the school in any case.

Wrong To The Root (5, Interesting)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541384)

Public schools should never require parents to pay for expensive items or programs. This is dead wrong. Many parents no longer have a job nor savings. How will their children get by in school? Further why in the sam hell would anyone push Macs on the kids? There are alternatives such as Linux that could save these families a fortune on PCs.

I'd need an exemption (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541388)

As a member of the Stallman Cult, I am morally and religiously obligated not to work with closed platforms!

Public school? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541392)

If this is a public school then it's flatly ridiculous to require that kind of expense. It would be extremely limiting to low-income families (not to mention the embarrassment of not being able to afford these things).

With that said, anyone that names their kid "Sky" can probably afford a $900 laptop without even thinking. I'm guessing the population of this particular school is fairly well to do.

WTF (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541394)

So, they'll prepare on a minority platform, which will provide no additional real-world experience at all. Unless they're an artist or writer, they need to learn the dominant platform and tools. As much as I dislike M$ they have 90% of the market share for business, and EVERY employer requires M$ Office experience...

Re:WTF (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541444)

BS.

UNIX is very alive an well, and OS X is based on UNIX, and so are the majority of other platforms that are needed if you are to get ahead in technology.

Plus, MS Office is on OS X...

Re:WTF (1)

emkyooess (1551693) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541548)

PARTS of MS Office is in OS X. Outlook is not. PowerPoint is not. The statistical [and other] add-ins for Excel are not (nor any of the other extremely useful VBA stuff).

Re:WTF (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541646)

...Because high schoolers are going to be using VBA and obscure plugins for Excel?

Outlook isn't a problem because the move has been towards web-based access with clients for only mobile platforms. And as for PowerPoint, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Office_2008_for_Mac [wikipedia.org] PowerPoint is included.

Re:WTF (1)

Cronock (1709244) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541720)

Office for Mac 2008 has Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Entourage (a horrible Outlook copy). Office 2011 will replace Entourage with an actual port of Outlook (it better be better than Entourage or I'm going to have to stab somebody). You might want to look up information before posting.

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541636)

Crossover Office is available, yes. To the tune of xxx more dollars. Or MS Office for Mac, which is xxx more dollars still. That stuff ain't cheap.

Re:WTF (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541540)

It doesn't require a lot of experience to switch between Windows and Mac. I'd expect someone with experience with one platform and absolutely zero on the other to be up to speed in a day or two.

Re:WTF (1)

Svenne (117693) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541666)

And as everybody knows, MS Office is not available for Mac.

Re:WTF (4, Insightful)

StayFrosty (1521445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541752)

Schools should teach students how to think, learn and figure things out; not how to use one particular program or operating system. Then the platform used for teaching wouldn't have to be the same one used in the real world. Besides, My learning how to use Office 95 and Office 97 in High school was worthless when 10 years later Office 2007 came around and they changed the entire UI. Luckily, I spent my time in school learning how to learn for myself. The transition wasn't that terrible. Many other people where I work learned by memorizing where the menu options were and ended up being completely lost in Office 2007.

EVERY employer requires M$ Office experience...

This isn't always true either. I doubt the largest employer in the city where I work require any computer skills for the assembly line workers. Neither do the construction companies whose employees are expanding the building I am sitting in. If you are talking about white collar jobs, you might have a point but most of these require a degree of some sort. Anyone graduating with any sort of degree is going to have used Microsoft Office at least a little so what students use in High School is irrelevant to the real world.

Linux Netbooks (5, Insightful)

ZeroSerenity (923363) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541408)

Probably a far better idea to get them all netbooks. They're cheaper and they will draw less irk from parents. Besides, what can a Mac do that Linux can't when it comes to schoolwork? And I'm not going to even mention using Windows and how much a joy that could be.

Re:Linux Netbooks (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541680)

It would be much less of an administrative hassle to use an underpowered ARM platform running Linux so that it can't be co-opted tor playing contemporary games.

Re:Linux Netbooks (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541682)

Because the majority of the businesses in this country dont use Windows? Hire some IT staff worth a damn and teach these kids on what is being used. Be realistic.

All I can say is... (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541420)

Fuck those fundamentalist idiots. They're part of the reason the world can suck at times. I'd burn them all for the pitiful education that they not only reveal but also pass on to younger fellas.

One platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541430)

Your one platform should be the web. Nothing else makes sense.

Re:One platform (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541518)

I'd wholeheartedly agree if it weren't for the fact that "the web" is a terrible platform.

Before anyone gets in a huff... (5, Informative)

Jorkapp (684095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541450)

FTFA:

"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," he said. In those cases, the district will provide financial assistance.

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."

---

IMO, $20-25/mo is a fair plan. That should be well within the finances of most families, and as they noted, they will provide financial assistance.

That said, using a unified platform is not a bad idea, but why make students buy heavily marked up hardware? Why not Netbooks with Linux?

Re:Before anyone gets in a huff... (4, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541564)

Last I checked, every child in the United States is entitled to a free education up to the 12th grade. If one has to pay even $0.01 a month to get an education, then the education is not free.

Re:Before anyone gets in a huff... (1)

nj_peeps (1780942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541694)

Agree, the parents should not have to buy a laptop, mac or otherwise, for use in public school.

Re:Before anyone gets in a huff... (1, Insightful)

wynler (678277) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541746)

It's not free.  It's payed for by taxes.  So even though the parents don't get an education bill each month.  They still get a property tax bill, and an income tax bill, and a sales tax on every purchase.

Re:Before anyone gets in a huff... (1)

phoebusQ (539940) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541750)

I must have missed the part where buying the laptop is required in order to obtain an education. You must have missed the part where financial assistance is available if you need to for the laptop, and where loaners are available for those that don't want to participate at all.

Re:Before anyone gets in a huff... (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541582)

Why not Netbooks with Linux?

Those aren't nearly as shiny. How will a dull utilitarian machines ever capture the interest of high school students?

Reality? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541458)

How is forcing all the students to use Macs in a world dominated by windows PCs preparing them for reality?

These people are fucking stupid.

Multiplatform will prepare our students far better (2, Interesting)

lasmith05 (578697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541462)

If we are training kids for the future we should definitely have them use a windows/linux variant. I remember back in the university our C++ class had a computer lab that was split between Macs and PCs. The PCs would always be all in use and I had to make do on a mac. I definitely did not enjoy having to do everything differently than the majority of the class, but my teacher appreciated me taking one for the team. If anything I think having a multi platform environment would be good for students having to deal with different platforms at different companies.

Re:Multiplatform will prepare our students far bet (2, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541632)

If we are training kids for the future we should definitely have them use a windows/linux variant.

Is using Windows so hard that you need training to use it? In that case, we shouldn't be training the kids to use it, we should train them to say "no" if their boss wants them to use windows. But you may not have noticed a subtle change: While the CTOs still use their Windows PCs more or less unhappily, their CEO bosses use iPhones and iPads and MacBooks Airs. When these kids leave school, the change won't be so subtle anymore.

Yes, they'll be well prepared for the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541468)

When they enter the corporate world and probably never see a Mac ever again.

I never get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541476)

I don't get why school/educational institutions use Macs. 99% of businesses use Windows. Don't they want there kids to be prepared when they leave schools? This is once again a dumb school administration making a decision in a vacuum

AC

better off (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541702)

They'd be better off requiring Mandarin for all the students, to provide for their future when they need to talk to their bosses.

Some perspective: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541482)

The median income for a household in the city is $53,984, and the median income for a family is $66,486. Males have a median income of $45,348 versus $35,659 for females. The per capita income for the city is $28,626. 5.7% of the population and 4.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 6.5% of those under the age of 18 and 5.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly,_Massachusetts#Demographics

Laptops in High School? Meh (5, Interesting)

bieber (998013) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541496)

The first three years I was in high school, the school had this ridiculous program going on where they issued every student an iBook. Teachers tried to make us use them, but seriously, how useful is a laptop in high school math? Admittedly, it was nice for language and social studies classes to have something to type/browse Wikipedia on, but the hassle of carrying them around, dealing with the constant breakage, and etc. far outweighed the benefits to the students. And when you look at the $2 mil that the school district spent on the program, the whole thing just seemed like a really bad joke.

Ubiquity (1, Insightful)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541514)

Ignoring the issue of forcing parents to come off $900: Why go with Apple? A Linux-PC is free+hardware and a Windows platform is the most probable system these kids will wind up using at work. I don't think Hayes is being terribly objective here.

Re:Ubiquity (1)

Vahokif (1292866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541638)

That and Apple hardware isn't exactly cheap either.

Re:Ubiquity (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541664)

Obviously the remove monitoring software is only available for Mac.

Dude (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541516)

I got a Dell :(

This is very unsafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541520)

How many of these kids are going to get robbed on the way to and from school when the bad guys realize that the kids are guaranteed to be carrying $900 in computer gear?

Oh, really? (2, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541524)

Sounds like a lawsuit to me. The school board is requiring people purchase a specific computer without reimbursement to get an education. Last I checked, everyone in the U.S. is entitled to a free education up through high school.

Re:Oh, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541690)

That is a right given by the State not the federal government.
The state and local government has the right to "tax" people for the funding for schools.
So this is a tax on people who have children in school.
I am not defending the action of the school I am saying it well within the right of the state/ local government to do so.

One day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541546)

...our children won't even know how to write.

But it'll be okay because everything will be shiny and digital.

Outbribe (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541570)

Perhaps it would be cheaper for the parents to collect a bigger bribe than Apple offered the Superintendent to require their expensive laptops. Or just get him fired for accepting Apple's bribe in the first place.

I'm not an apple guy, but... (2, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541580)

... I would say there is some wisdom is chosing apple for that purpose. If they instead opted for a Windows laptop it would be nearly impossible to standardize. Even if they said "everyone go buy a Dell model ABC123" you wouldn't get very good consistency, because inevitably some parents would try to substitute something else (and yet others would substitute by accident). On top of that you do have the problem with the Windows (in)security mentality that leads to crashing systems all over the place.

So if the purpose really is for the kids to learn subject material that doesn't include how to fix the computer, then the apple probably isn't a bad choice after all.

Re:I'm not an apple guy, but... (1)

Yaos (804128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541642)

I've not had Windows crash in years, try again.

This is nuts! (1)

No2Gates (239823) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541586)

This sounds like a Communist school.
This guy is the ultimate Apple fanboy.

This will never fly (1)

ForAllTheFish (1191163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541604)

The school probably doesn't realize how much it's going to cost to install 20-30 electrical outlets in every classroom. If its for learning, they can't rely on the students to keep 'em charged.

Stupid. (2, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541606)

Outside of a programming class why the hell do high school, hell even college students, need a laptop for school? I guess it's because of idiocies like this that we spend more, by far, per student than the rest of the world.

How the worm has turned (1)

doginthewoods (668559) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541614)

It wasn't too long ago that Some school systems refused to support Macs, refused to allow them into their networks, some schools requiring PCs only. Times have changed..

Apple should do well (1)

Robadob (1800074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541630)

Apple's going to do well out of this, considering there was something about other school districts have started to adopt this/similar schemes.

God I love these "You must run xxx OS" edicts (5, Interesting)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541656)

My daughters school added the requirement that she have a laptop for school. The school here said that it must run Windows and have Microsoft Office on it.

I gave her a new Toshiba with Fedora Core and open office. She is happy with it, then I get a note from the school that It must be Windows because they had software to install that required windows. I told then that if they would let me know what the software does I would be more than happy to find a similar package for Linux or to set it up in a restricted virtual environment.

Never hear another thing from them. IMHO if the school wants to require an OS or Specific software packages then they need to pony up the money for the laptop and set it up the way they want it.

Absolutely SURREAL (4, Interesting)

repetty (260322) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541658)

As a Mac user of 23 years, I've gotta say that this headline is abso-fvcking-lutely surreal.

It seemed like Mac users pissed and moaned for decades about being forced to abandon their platform as schools moved toward cheap PC running Windows 3.1 et al.

Is today backwards day?

Please.. (5, Funny)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541674)

Direct your hate mail this way: jim.hayes@beverlyschools.org

For those of you posting without RTFA (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541754)

"We realize for some families that will be a stretch," he said. In those cases, the district will provide financial assistance.

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.

This isn't clear whether they mean the "financial assistance" is limited to the borrowing, or if there's some other financial assistance program where they basically buy the laptop for you. But either way nobody is *required* to buy a $900 laptop. It just might be less convenient, depending on what they meant by "financial assistance".

Also,

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.

"When it came down to it, there was a minimal difference in savings," he said.

So they are arguing that even though $900 is a lot for a laptop the other software they would have to buy for a Windows-based machine would make the prices comparable anyway.

It is a clever program teaching students to fix other students' computers and such. Though which parent is going to hand a $900 laptop they just bought to a high school student to fix when it's probably still under warranty?

Really though the best thing they could do to "teach" these kids is to have mac as the only supported platform and if the kids want to use a different one they have to figure out how to do the equivalent work on their platform of choice. Some parents (and students) might complain, but getting your hands dirty is how you learn.

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