Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Message to One-to-One Naysayers

This morning Maine's largest newspaper, the Portland Press Herald, ran the headline Schools Feel Misled on Laptop Program. By noontime today there were 70 comments on the article. The vast majority of those comments were very critical of program, some were well reasoned, some were not. Most of the negative comments centered around the theme of the state wasting money. Usually, I try to stay out the fray when it comes to state politics, but is one topic that I had to speak up on. Below is my response to the 60+ comments critical of Maine's Laptop Initiative.

I applaud the state's effort to close the digital divide between the "have's" and "have not's" that exists between school districts statewide and countrywide.

Now is the time to invest in education, not after the economy recovers. If we have not prepared our students to compete globally by the time the economy recovers, they will be farther behind than they are now.

I completely understand the concerns of the general public and some school administrators and board members (note, I did not say teachers). And, yes, there is local cost involved in this program. Yes, this investment will require paying for the training of teachers and will require paying technicians to maintain the laptops. The difference is this investment has far more potential for return than paying unemployment benefits, welfare, food stamps, and all of the other assorted freebies the state gives away on a daily basis.

Finally, if you can watch all five minutes of this video and still think that the state is doing the wrong thing, then you need to adjust to the possibility that before too long your children and grandchildren could be the ones assembling consumer goods for India and China.

Does your school district or state have a one-to-one program? What was the initial public response? How does your community feel about the program now?

Save 20% on all books & DVDs from National Geographic!