Get rid of the free laptops for public school students!!!
My homeschooled 5th grader uses a refurbished computer. As a parent I buy curriculum, supplies and also furnish my time to educate my child. My husband and I also work and pay taxes, both income and property to educate, feed and support other people's children. What's next, free memory foam mattresses for them all? Pretty pathetic when the recipients of government largesse are given (for free) much better equipment than the producers of said largesse can provide their own children.
Who polices the usage of these computers? I just read an article detailing the anecdotal observations of a parent and student that a large percentage of students use their laptops for non-school fun during class(games, email, ****) WHAT!!!??? Is it too much to ask that my tx dollars not be used for high-schoolers to look at ***********?
Huge savings could be accomplished by getting rid of this wasteful program. Extremely poor oversight just begs for abuses, and this program is a prime example.
I believe that Anonymous is correct in what was stated, but only if our schools, ALL our schools, are able to incorporate, test and verify that students are getting the computer science education that they will need to compete in a global and or national market. However, in Maine, that just isn't the case. Most districts have limited funds, smaller pools from which to hire trained, experienced computer science teachers and have adopted the idea that by handing a student a laptop, making a few PowerPoint presentations, that they've done their best and now those students are ready to enter the job market with skills that will enable them to compete with other students. Unfortunately, this is a self delusional mindset. What we have done is squander taxpayer dollars, then taken even more money from parents for damages done to laptops that parents themselves would never have entertained the notion of purchasing and given offices one more student "problem" area that needs daily addressing. I've spoken with a Vice Principal from a school here in Maine who speaking quite frankly (and off the record) stated he wishes that the laptops would go away. They've proven to be a distraction for a host of students, a point of contention between parents and schools and encouraged by enabling a new form of bullying, cyber-bullying. This is an idea that "looks great on paper, isn't worth the paper it should have been on".
To give students the proper training in computer usage, a dedicated computer science classroom must be made available, laptops must be kept in that classroom and courses in Excel, Access, Lotus Notes, Web design, AutoCad (could also count as a math credit if used correctly) be taught in them. By doing so, we will finally enable our students to compete in the job market which after all, was the purpose of the laptop initiative in the first place. Anything less than this is deceiving to our students, confuses potential employers by making them believe that these students have skills that they quickly prove they don't and in general a fleecing of taxpayer dollars, dollars that could be spent improving all the skills that our students need to get ahead. But every year, we indulge this fantasy that the simple owning of a laptop will somehow convey all the knowledge (without the actual training) that students will need. More and more parents are speaking out about this and as more of us start banding together we will be able to put pressure on our school boards and eventually the Dept of Education and maybe then the appropriate changes will finally happen that will correct this. All significant changes have started small, grew momentum and finally come to fruition. With even greater numbers of parents coming forward and questioning this, we hope to see that change happen soon.
Computers play an integral role in society, from educational purposes to controlling the operations of large corporations. The use of computers in schools prepares students for their future interactions with the machines. Computers serve both staff and students in educational settings. The amount of technology available in the school district influences the degree to which the students utilize computers. Schools often use computers in an administrative capacity. This includes maintaining student records and managing school information. Computers may be used to track student attendance and grades. Many districts maintain school email systems as a form of communication. School libraries often use an electronic system for locating books in lieu of the traditional card catalog. Each school district differs in its administrative uses of computers, with the budget playing a major role. Teachers rely on computers for planning and organizing class lessons. Online resources expand the options for activity planning, while reducing the amount of time required for researching. Teachers also utilize the computer for communication purposes. Email allows teachers and administrators to contact each other quickly about various issues. Many parents also communicate with classroom teachers via email. Many jobs now require some level of computer literacy in order to be qualified. If a child is not exposed to computers at a young age then others who have been taught computer skills will have a significant advantage in the hiring process. There are very few businesses that will provide elementary computer training to new employees, rather it is expected that an applicant already has significant computer skills and can "hit the ground running" in this area. One key benefit of computers is they provide access to the Internet. Because of this students have the opportunity to put their fingers on huge amounts of information. This is beneficial for learning because it provides more points of view on topics as well as depth of information. Both are very important in the learning process. Computers have become ingrained in our society. Everything from buying movie tickets to personal banking can require some level of computer literacy. Some companies only do business over the Internet, so if you can't access it you won't be able to use these companies' services. If you do not have computer training, many of your daily tasks can become much more challenging. Using a computer rather than the traditional paper and pencil can have a dramatic impact on the number of trees harvested. Many textbooks are now available on-line, saving huge amounts of paper. Also, students can now submit their homework through their computer without using any paper.
Read more: What Are the Pros of Having Computers in School? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_7931812_pros-having-computers-school.html#ixzz27a2FKkHx
I can't help but wonder, does anyone read this?? I've just gotten off the phone with someone from the Dept. of Education who informed me that all my laptop issues are between me and the district I live in (SAD 75) and that the DOE can't help and in fact SUPPORT the laptop initiative. I am tired of being a walking wallet to my state, donating my hard earned money for laptops I would NEVER give my child as I know him and he isn't capable of taking care of it. Like more and more parents I've spoken with, these laptops are great toys to the kids, a windfall of profit to the districts and nothing short of pickpocketing to the taxpayers supporting this habit.
Yes Teresa, you do have parents who support this desire. There is a growing number of parents in this state who are tired of being held ******* to districts that like free money. And if you don't pay up, they hold your child's diploma until you do. What about my rights?