September 4, 2007

Why wouldn’t we at least try to make schools better?

This post was last updated on 10 months ago at 10 months ago

Gary Stager writes a short but challenging article on why spending money on a laptop is by far a better investment that glitter pens.

The Last Back-to-School Sale Ever

Now grant it, most who read this already agree with this but I try to consider the naysayers and doubters that one to one computing is really the nirvana for educational success.  Many argue that computers are currently not be utilized to their full effectiveness. That’s very true but in most cases it’s because of lack of access and more to the point the lack of change in teaching practice to leverage to power of technology. I also realize that the TOC (total cost of ownership) is greater than the sticker price on the laptop.

Typically a school will spend around $8,000-10,000 annually for every student. I’m not an accountant so I won’t pretend to say that I can solve all of our problems by rearranging spending. There is obviously a high percentage of fairly fixed costs but finding $300-$500 a year extra whether you use existing funds or tax increases has to be worth it.

I think this is more about leaders understanding the value. Money is really not the issue. If parents, teachers and policy makers truly felt it was critical, they’d find the money. When my kids ask if we can put a pool in our yard my response might be “we can’t afford it”. That’s really not true. The correct answer is, “that’s not a priority for our family.”

So when Stager asks, “Why wouldn’t we at least try to make schools better?” The answer….it’s not a priority.


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