Thinking About Getting Your Middle School Kid an iPad? Let The State Handle That.

Well, at least that’s what Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams (R-Lyon) would want to do.  According to Jim Galloway’s article, Sen. Williams said:

“Last week we met with Apple Computers, and they have a really promising program where they come in and their recommending to middle schools – for $500 per child per year, they will furnish every child with an iPad, wi-fi the system, provide all the books on the system, all the upgrades, all the teacher training – and the results they’re getting from these kids is phenomenal.”

Apple fan boys rejoice, but can we really afford to do this?  Last time I checked, we haven’t really solved the budget problem or what we’ll do with HOPE.  Personally, I’m thinking that Apple is trying to unload its first generation iPad inventory on schools in order to make way for the iPad 2.  I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad idea, but let’s look at other priorities and even some alternatives to Apple’s product.  Amazon’s Kindle starts at $139, but it doesn’t have pretty colors and isn’t as “cool” as the iPad.  However, it could still serve the purpose of keeping texts up-to-date along with lightening the load in students’ backpacks.

If the senators take up the issue, they should at least consider all of the costs of implementation and maintenance for the Apple iPad solution vs. an Amazon Kindle alternative vs. other alternatives vs. continuing the dead tree route.  Apple makes a great and simple product, but our state senators shouldn’t take the word of the Disciples of Steve as gospel.


  1. slyram says:

    I don’t know about this deal but the future should include similar options to address the cost and weight of books in K-12 and college. To say nothing about me watching kids get off the bus without books…heading for playstation.

  2. Loren says:

    “Last week we met with Apple Computers, and they have a really promising program where they come in and their recommending to middle schools – for $500 per child per year, they will furnish every child with an iPad, wi-fi the system, provide all the books on the system, all the upgrades, all the teacher training”

    That doesn’t sound like much of a bargain. The iPad retails for $500, so this is equivalent to paying full-price for the tablet and getting the above-listed extras for free. And that value is negligible when compared to the cost to each school.

    Except it’s not even that good. I would like to believe an iPad would be good for more than one year. But at a cost of $500/child/year, that means the state might as well be buying every student a new iPad every year. That’s just an unnecessary waste of perfectly good equipment. And if that’s *not* the case, then $500 per child per year is a colossal rip-off.

  3. Max Power says:

    Seems to me as an iPad user that the BN Nook would be a more cost effective solution. It could hold all the books and includes a web browser.

    That being said is it just me or have textbooks gotten a lot bigger and heavier than when we were in school?

  4. KD_fiscal conservative says:

    This is an absolutely ridiculous idea. And yeah, it is important to insure which legislators are getting what from apple if this idea is adopted.
    1)books don’t cost the school system $500 a year per kid unless someone is getting jipped by the publisher, heck I don’t even pay close to that for college textbooks I have to buy books each semester
    2)if they try to reuse the ipads, a large % will be destroyed/stolen or otherwise reusable. years ago, in my town, someone decided one of the schools in my town preforming poorly b/c of the lack of technological resources, so they concocted a brilliant plan to give every student a laptop to use for the year. by the end of the year close to 50% were not returned or unusable. kids aren’t going to take care of things they get for free. not surprisingly it had no effect on the academic performance of students either…

  5. Kudzu35 says:

    Right direction to reduce costs but wrong method of getting there. Long term this is useful because text books can be updated with new versions digitally instead of having to ship in truckloads of new books for every grade on every subject. Digital textbooks? Yes.

    Free iPads? No. This is one case where we can look at yes I’ll say it, a tax increase. But only if your local school board wants to go this route and only if your County approves it. Let the State step back and manage the text books. The districts that can afford to purchase these items can go this route, those that can’t don’t. And to punish abuse of the technology? Slap high grade parental controls on the web browsers to not allow accessing the ugly side of the Internet and fine parents the cost of broken and or damaged (to include viruses) devices with a 10% replacement penalty tacked onto the cost of the item to the county.

  6. Jeff says:

    with an iPad (or a Nook), you can use the browser to view *anything* online. Do we really want to open the State up to that kind of liability?

    IF you must go e-reader in the classroom, Kindle would by FAR be the better option – it is a bookcase that allows you to read every book in it, nothing more.

  7. dogface says:

    AWESOME. And for Christmas, I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

  8. truth says:

    Lobbyists for Apple have obviously been very busy but very successful. Must have made quite an impression on Mr. Williams!

  9. hpb1 says:

    Silly, silly silliness. Must have been a nice meal from Apple that Senator Williams received. What better way to ‘set the hook’ for/in future electronics shoppers.

  10. Three Jack says:

    a large percentage of kids are already on peachcare, school lunch programs, w.i.c., etc., etc., etc.! now we’re going to give them ipads?! wtf are we teaching kids; pop out and get ready for uncle sugar to provide you with everything you need.

    thanks tommie for exacerbating an already out of control freeloader society.

    • Lady Thinker says:

      Well, your post ’bout sums it up. Georgia is already saying that kids are so technological savvy that cursive writing will no longer be required, that books are expensive and have to be replaced every seven years or so. Now, we are coming closer, in my opinion, to dumb down our kids and let the machines take over.

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