Schools ask parents to pay up before kids log on: Fullerton wants all their kids to have laptops. And they want all the parents to pay for them,
The public school system in this quiet city 27 miles southeast of Los Angeles is pushing the frontiers of computer technology in the classroom with a program that puts a laptop computer into the backpacks of children as early as first grade.
It is pushing the boundaries of financing, too, by asking parents to pay $500 a year for three years so each of more than 2,000 elementary and middle school children can have their own Apple iBook G4 laptop.
What if a parent doesn’t pay? Does their kid get left out? Is it like band uniforms or sports equipment that the school should pay for?
We’re going through something similar in South Dakota. The state wants kids to have laptops, and it wants the local school districts to pay for most of them. In the end, Steve, Michael, and Bill are the ones getting rich.
(But in a larger sense, do first graders need laptops? Should they have them? Can you trust a first grader with a $1,500 piece of equipment? Is it healthy to have them thinking in “computer mode” this early in their lives? Lots of questions, few answers)