Imagine an alternate reality wherein Oprah, like in our world, told her entire studio audience that they were each getting a car. Now imagine that in the other world, she added a little footnote at the end: “But you have to pay for it yourselves.”
A Massachusetts school, Beverly High, is committed to modernizing its education system. This apparently means students having laptops for use in class every day and for homework at night. But the school certainly isn’t going to provide them itself, you need to buy them, unsuspecting students and your families.
The Salem News shows a pretty predictable slice of how people would react to this:
“You’re kidding me,” parent Jenn Parisella said when she found out she’d have to buy her sophomore daughter, Sky, a new computer. “She has a laptop. Why would I buy her another laptop?”
Good question, Jenn! Your reason, superintendent James Hayes?
“We have one platform,” Hayes said. “And that’s going to be the Mac.”
Oh. Well I can’t argue with that.
In an attempt to ease the burden, the school will lease computers to any students who prefer that option, but that will still come out to at least 20 dollars a month, none of which parents knew they’d be paying when they first enrolled their children at the school.
To give some perspective on the cost, via The Salem News again:
Providing laptops to all 1,200 students at Beverly High would cost the school about $1 million, Technology Director Judy Miller said. Last year, the district spent $66,569 on technology.
It’s amazing how that makes it sound even worse. “You all have to buy a laptop” is one thing, but “We’re making you all pay a million dollars total to make up for our inability to keep our promises” has a much more perturbing ring to it.
Jenn Parisella has the appropriate take:
“We’re paying all the fees for sports and extracurricular stuff,” she said. “You figure academics are covered. I’m surprised more than anything. And kind of disappointed.”