Thursday, September 14, 2006


Is your district whining for free laptops for students? Never mind the time-wasting, porno, crime and waste issues that brings up, especially in low-income neighborhoods. Do the dang things even do any GOOD? Apparently, not. A longtime teacher friend send me a good Wall Street Journal article that I missed. On Aug. 31, p. D1, it was reported that:

"A preliminary study on the impact of laptops in Texas middle schools released by the Texas Center for Educational Research this spring reported that technology immersion improved student attitudes and behaviors but had a neutral impact on student achievement."

This friend, a Texas education activist, says that the study of the $14 million Texas Technology Immersion Pilot found that, one year after the laptops were divvied out, there was zero improvement on reading and math scores on the Texas statewide standardized tests. In fact, students in "immersed" schools had SLIGHTLY LOWER scores than comparison students, she said. The study came out in April 2006 and was funded by the U. S. Department of Education.

In the words of the ancient scholars: DUH. :>)

Also note that, according to the article, a plan to give 63,000 computers to students in Cobb County, Ga., was recently scrapped after a lawsuit was filed over a proposal to divert special sales-tax funds to the program.

The Journal also said The Fullerton, Calif., school district was forced to make its plans for laptops for all students contingent upon a parental vote, after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue the district late last year for passing the $1,485 cost per student onto parents.

A state-sponsored initiative in New Mexico, whose laptop distribution program has already been cut back once, is now under fire from state legislators for its high price tag, lack of evaluation procedures and mixed results.

Meanwhile, parents of students in a Henrico County, Va., flagship program for more than 26,000 students are calling for a delay in issuing laptops to middle-school students until the computers have stronger inappropriate-content filters, the Journal reported.

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