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Media (Apple) Businesses Government Media Apple Politics

An iPod For Every Kid In Michigan 333

mikesd81 writes "Over at C|Net there is an article about Michigan spending $38 million to distribute an iPod to every kid, for learning purposes. From the article: 'On Thursday, House Democrats delivered a spending bill that includes the idea of putting $38 million worth of public funds toward outfitting every student with a digital music player.' The plan included measures to tax soda and satellite TV services to pay for it, among other things, to raise funds. If you recall, Duke University tried something like this with mixed results. How financially strained will Michigan residents feel about paying higher taxes to buy someone else's kid an iPod?"
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An iPod For Every Kid In Michigan

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @06:53AM (#18644957)
    Consider this:

    - the state of Michigan currently has a fiscal year 2007 budget of $920 million
    - the state government has been instructed to prepare for a shutdown this may due to lack of funds
    - next year's budget deficit is estimated to be more than $1 billion due to the single-business tax repeal that hasn't been replaced
    - Gov. Granholm has proposed higher taxes (a 2% tax on services) to cover part of the current deficit

    Combined with the problems of the Big 3 automakers (GM, Ford, Chrysler) that's been causing most of the economic slump in this area, the state legislatures have got to be daft to propose more spending on such silly projects. Now is the time for spending cuts, not increased spending!

    The state has been trying to convince students to stay in the state following graduation; I for one will run out of this state as fast as I can once I graduate in a few months (PhD in Aerospace Engineering). There is no way I want to stick around and see the state legislature and governor make the state economy even worse than it is.
  • Some problems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PhotoGuy ( 189467 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @06:56AM (#18644965) Homepage
    I like the concept, but I have a few problems with it.

    First of all, why Apple? I love Apple, and I love the iPod, but in many ways, it's a prestige brand, not something that is warranted for a utilitarian purpose such as this. You can easily find as capable and reliable MP3 players for less than half the price of an equivalent iPod. The "wow" factor and ease of integration with iTunes, are both major features of the iPod, and both totally irrelevant to the educational purposes talked about here.

    Also, learning is a very visual medium. Unless we're talking about the super expensive video iPods, then the use will be limited to audio and minimal simplistic document reading. (There are other, cheaper devices that do video and documents better/cheaper than a non-video iPod.) Are most textbooks available/suitable/useful for viewing on a 1 inch screen? Wouldn't that involve buying digital copies of all the relevant texts, and additional and unnecessary cost?

    Plus, it will disguise music use; "what are you doing, Jimmy?" "Listening to a lecture, ma'am." Meanwhile he's listening to tunes. Like it or not, school kids do need some structure and supervision; this makes it too easy to goof off.

    It sounds like someone's trying to seem progressive, and is very misguided.
  • Re:Finally! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sharperguy ( 1065162 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @07:18AM (#18645039)
    I think OLPC's would be a great idea. They are actually cheaper than iPods (and many other DAP's) and as long as you buy 1M+ of them then there's no reason why you can't. They would be much more usefull in education and since thats what they were designed for, as opposed to entertainment, it might seems much more worthwhile paying for them.
  • by ari wins ( 1016630 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @07:48AM (#18645161)
    Living in Michigan, I can tell you I was shocked to read this. We're currently facing a multi-hundred million budget deficeit (400+ iirc), and this actually stayed in? They're closing schools all over the state, our single-business tax has expired, so they're trying to get another gas tax added on (costing 3cents/gal. for 3 years for a total of an additional 9/gal), and Granholm has been trying to get an "entertainment" tax in place, meaning taxes on movies, video games, etc. etc. Our "sin" tax seemingly goes up yearly, meaning when I moved back up here from TN. I went from paying under $3/pack of smokes to over $5. Granted, that's not as high as some metropolitan areas, but the cost of living is no where NEAR those places, therefore neither are the wages.

    Frankly, I'm saddened by it. We used to have some of the best roads in the nation, and now I can't drive to work without wondering when my suspension is going to fail. It's not even a matter of avoiding the potholes, you actually have to avoid entire roads. Now you're telling me every little bastard in school is going to get an ipod? What about my nephew, who attends a private charter school? We pay property taxes, even though he doesn't attend public schools, and now you're going to tell me I have to foot the bill for this?

    I only wish Granholm hadn't been the lesser of two evils this prior election. On the bright side, however, she's done a great job turning the strengths of our states into our weaknesses, while also driving businesses (Lifesavers, Johnson Controls, numerous others) out of the area. What's next?
  • Re:Umm.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:07AM (#18645861)
    Japanese classrooms are signifigantly larger than American, yet they regularly beat the Americans in every subject. Class sizes are a myth.
  • educational iPod ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @11:11AM (#18646281) Homepage
    How is an iPod educational ? I remember way back in the 90's when I was a student :P We didn't have MP3 course materials, we had audio cassettes. A portable cassette player in the 90's cost about $20. Then when CD burners got cheap, people were distributing discs. A portable CD player in the 2000's costs $20. iPod players cost $200 right now, and I doubt they'll ever be $20, not even the chinese knockoffs. I say stick to CD players. They're cheap, they're reliable, they're ubiquitous, they're well understood by even the dumbest members of society; all facts that do not apply to digital players at this point in time.

    Of all the things going on in Michigan right now, this is not a priority. Just walk up to any state citizen and ask them what they think their government should be doing. The ones who answer "iPod!", just smack them over the head with a shovel! What most honest, self-supporting people in North America want from their government is less bullshit like this, and lower taxes. The more stuff the government buys with tax money, the closer we get to being full-on communists.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong