iPad originally uploaded by Sean MacEntee
According to this Pioneer Press article, ISD 192 is asking families to pony up to $56/yr ($28/student for up to two students per family) to insure school-owned iPads from damage. While the school will cover the costs for students on reduced lunch programs, families already strapped for cash have to come up with additional dollars which really should have been covered by the district.
From the article:
Districts across the state are putting expensive technology in students’ hands to replace textbooks, workbooks and even paper and pencils. Devices worth hundreds of dollars now often leave school buildings and go home with students.
“We need to protect those investments,” said Carl Colmark, finance director in Farmington schools, a district planning to put an Apple iPad tablet computer in the hands of every student by the end of the school year.
If the Finance Director for ISD192 is saying “we”, then “we” it should be, not “you”. While the cost savings are apparently great moving from textbooks which can last for up to a decade or more to an iPad which is outdated almost as soon as it is released to the public, it appears that school districts are looking to pass even more costs along to families who may not have wanted to make the jump into technology that is not only outdated but unlikely to be leveraged by the district effectively enough to offset the high cost. If the district wants to decide to put a $300 device in the hands of children who would lose their feet if they weren’t attached to their bodies, then they should be willing to put the additional $56/family into insurance for them.
Because the iPads are mandatory for students, parents MUST opt to pay the up to $56/year to make certain their children doesn’t break what amounts to a piece of glass. Knowing this and trying to fool taxpayers into believing their taxes weren’t impacted by that much, the district is nearly forcing families to pay even more per year in what should have been part of the levy. Cute. The district can claim this puts responsibility for the devices squarely with the kids and their parents, but to be perfectly honest, knowing what I was like in 4th grade through probably 9th grade and my penchant for losing things, I would not trust any kid with an iPad and certainly wouldn’t want the school forcing me to.
What do you think about this one? Do you think that iPads in schools are going to end up costing taxpayers a lot more in the long run due to faster replacement times than books, insurance, and outright replacement costs for damage? Should the school district have passed the insurance along as a part of the levy? Do you think the comment about putting more of the onus on the student and the family is a copout? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.