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Education Portables Portables (Apple) Apple

MA High School Forces All Students To Buy MacBooks 1217

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-it's-not-ipads dept.
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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MA High School Forces All Students To Buy MacBooks

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  • by raddan (519638) * on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:33PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:38PM (#32541418)

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

  • by Jorkapp (684095) <jorkapp@nOspAM.hotmail.com> on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:40PM (#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?

  • Some perspective: (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:41PM (#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

  • by Chirs (87576) on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:44PM (#32541534)

    "wreaks" means to demolish or damage

  • Re:My two cents (Score:5, Informative)

    by 0racle (667029) on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:46PM (#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.
  • by SkankinMonkey (528381) on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:48PM (#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:iNelson (Score:5, Informative)

    by nysus (162232) on Friday June 11, 2010 @04:54PM (#32541748)

    What are you talking about? In 1991, I purchased an IBM PS/2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Personal_System/2 [wikipedia.org]

  • by swordgeek (112599) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:00PM (#32541896) Journal

    What comes around goes around. Before Apple was the 'small elite' of computers, it was the 900-lb gorilla against the world of Commodore, Atari, and the rest.

    The important take-home lesson here is that regardless of the platform, monocultures don't last. Unfortunately, the lesson seems to be lost on the decision-makers. (over and over and over and over...)

  • by milkmage (795746) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:02PM (#32541950)

    suppose you could fucking read? that's kind of the point of slash dot and the internet in general. maybe these kids "forced" to buy something will have an advantage over the likes of you someday.

    "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."

  • by MistrBlank (1183469) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:04PM (#32542014)

    Not all employers provide work materials, hell I have to pay for parking where I am.

  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:10PM (#32542142)

    Matlab (no h) is very much most highschool math. Heck what it is used for is shot more towards Graduate level courses and above.

    I mean I suppose you could pay $10k seat for matrix algebra.

    Maple would be closer to what a highschool student needed.

  • by The Spoonman (634311) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:16PM (#32542232) Homepage
    I think the assumption is that if there's a line that says "They'll bring it to class and use it for homework", then they'll probably need it for homework. Now, possibly not ALL homework assignments will require it, but it's in the summary AND the article.
  • by cervo (626632) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:17PM (#32542258) Journal
    That's exactly why they shouldn't be using laptops, too many distractions. I see it in grad school as well, people on laptops surfing the web, etc... and not paying attention... Except for one dude who was chatting with someone on msn, looking at jewelry on the web, and he answered an advanced question from the professor... But he's a super genius.... For doing reading/writing/math you don't need a laptop. In other classes it could help (mostly where you need to take a bunch of notes, or the class is at a computer lab [programming, typing, business software]), but it could also be a distraction, especially among teenagers who like to play games all the time... It's probably better to have them paying more attention in class...
  • by rickb928 (945187) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:29PM (#32542464) Homepage Journal

    Well, having had some experience with the Maine Laptop Initiative [maine.gov], their MacBooks did experience downtime due to system problems, and of course inevitable hardware failures.

    School administrators that I worked with (I did Novell support for a few schools, and integrating their MacBooks into NetWare was nontrivial, but went pretty well) complained the most about having to re-image drives. They spent quite a bit of time optimizing that process, but there are only a few ways to re-image a MacBook, and none are fast enough. I could not get ZenWorks to do it, despite some heroic work by Novell engineers as a pet project. Oh well...

    We were required to re-image the machines to a base system image after many repairs, most specifically hard drives and system boards. Data backup and restoration was the responsibility of the student and local administrators. It's their policy, we just had to follow the rules.

    Our little business did well providing non-warranty repairs until both Apple and Apple dealers realized they were being cut out of the loop in a big way. I left before Apple got hard and cut off parts access. That was the end. But we saved some schools a little money along the way.

    The MLTI has many lessons for other systems. Worth looking into before your school board leaps off the cliff.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:31PM (#32542504) Journal

    >>>I'm too worked up about all the road taxes I pay that go to roads I don't drive on.

    You don't pay road taxes (gasoline taxes) if you don't drive. Duh.

  • by steelfood (895457) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:34PM (#32542546)

    Actually, wreck [reference.com] means to inflict or execute.

    Wreck [reference.com] means to demolish or damage.

  • by SpaceCadetTrav (641261) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:47PM (#32542800) Homepage
    They did this in Fullerton, CA. There is a story and a video clip here: http://www.fullertonsfuture.org/2009/fullerton-school-laptop-program/ [fullertonsfuture.org] If you didn't pay $1,500 for an Apple laptop, your kid would get shipped off to another school on the other side of town. The ACLU got involved, but settled for a weak compromise - if you submit your personal financial information to the school district, they may decide that you can get public assistance. Otherwise, you are forced to pay for the laptop.
  • Re:iNelson (Score:3, Informative)

    by Assmasher (456699) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:54PM (#32542894) Journal

    "Variously attributed to Lincoln, Elbert Hubbard, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin and Socrates"

  • by rickb928 (945187) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:56PM (#32542920) Homepage Journal

    I would have looked to ThinkPad T series first, but Vaio gets mixed reviews. ThinkPads are only notebooks I would buy used, and I've never been disappointed.

    Toughbooks are the best, but that's a different category. Some people claim Fujitsu makes good stuff, but not in my limited experience.

    So there is nothing that I would consider to be in the median price range that compares.

    And for a school, good enough should include being tough enough to live through a high school career. Maine's Laptop Initiative gave them to middle schoolers. It was comical to hear the explanations for cracked screens. There is, of course no explanation for a cracked screen, certainly not for one with a .22 hole in it.

  • Re:iNelson (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @06:06PM (#32543052)

    Yeah, Beverly is a far nicer 'hood than my old stomping grounds in Salem and Lynn.
    I just don't get that schools back their asses and wallets in a corner with a company whose piss poor software costs lots, prepares no one for anything since the serious and real world compute on Winblows and *nix ( not that Mac uses a *nix variant on a P.C., but that business practices , philosophies and product hobbling make Mac useless for anyone living outside cartoon-land.)
            Anyway this is Massatushits and the poor can just eat cake or wait till some well heeled Kennedy or such makes a " tax deductible gesture" of outrageous wealth to "help the kids". There are 3 kinds of people in Taxachusetts, Democrats, poor whose votes are bought by Democrats and the homeless. Republicans fall under the tourist category. You might as well write the kids from Beverly off as the uneducated who will end up with no job and only daddys money to support them. Won't you give?

  • Re:iNelson (Score:1, Informative)

    by Hylandr (813770) on Friday June 11, 2010 @06:08PM (#32543086) Homepage
    The Bible pre-dates all those.

    Score one for the big guy...

    - Dan.
  • Re:iNelson (Score:3, Informative)

    by pablodiazgutierrez (756813) on Friday June 11, 2010 @06:40PM (#32543460) Homepage

    It's caramba.

  • by HuguesT (84078) on Friday June 11, 2010 @06:48PM (#32543544)

    They probably mean the file server will use AFP [wikipedia.org], which few clients support. However there exist a client FUSE module [sourceforge.net], so linux & BSD should work OK. Now there are other server bits that Apple provides, such as calendar servers [apple.com], it could get hairy.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday June 11, 2010 @06:58PM (#32543700) Homepage

    If your school did that, then they probably violated the constitution of your state. The school is supposed to provide all those sorts of things to any student - anything else is discriminatory towards poor students (not that there aren't other ways public schools do this, but this is particularly blatant).

  • Re:iNelson (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @07:10PM (#32543864)

    Proverbs 17:28

  • Re:My two cents (Score:5, Informative)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Friday June 11, 2010 @08:38PM (#32544838) Journal

    Einstein finished secondary school in Aarau (Switzerland), and then graduated from the Polytechnic in Zurich, and even finished his doctoral studies. So he very much did stay the course. It's just like a student changing one high school for another.

    Einstein is definitely not one of those "succesful dropouts". Please stop spreading misinformation.

  • Re:iNelson (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @08:39PM (#32544864)
    The Bible predates Socrates?
  • I suppose the next ideal evolution will be getting the textbooks onto the computers. That would be an entirely new level of awesome.

    I read where that's already being done. Some schools in Africa had satellite dishes installed. Then instead of having to distribute new editions of printed books, ebook are quickly downloaded and copied to laptops. This is both quicker and cheaper. An article on a World Bank blog asks "Can eBooks replace printed books in Africa? [worldbank.org] An experiment".

    Falcon

  • Re:iNelson (Score:3, Informative)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Saturday June 12, 2010 @02:10AM (#32547106) Journal

    IBM didn't offer a "standard" mouse interface until the PS/2, and even then it took several more years to weed out the proprietary "bus mice" and RS-232 rodents from the marketplace. This was partly because common AT cases didn't include a knockout for a PS/2 mouse, combined with the fact that motherboard makers always seemed very reluctant to move the PS/2 interface (if they even offered one) to a blank ISA panel.

    Really, it doesn't seem that PS/2 gained wide acceptance until ATX made back panel knockouts useful and replaceable, thus providing a good place for a PS/2 mouse connector. And since, IIRC, IBM had nothing at all to do with the ATX spec, I don't really think they deserve much credit for the PS/2 mouse's eventual widespread acceptance.

    So, though I myself think that IBM contributed a whole lot more than a couple of peripheral interfaces to the development of the PC, I must conclude for the sake of argument that your post is, at best, 50% correct.

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