The Loveland Reporter Herald uncovered a story last week that the Thompson School District is looking to purchase iPads for every Mountain View High School student, at a cost of $482,000. This report comes in the midst of the school board’s upcoming decision on the 2013 -2014 budget, which one board member calls “not fair and equitable” based on the high ratio of money spent on staff and teacher salaries to actual classroom improvements.
We find it interesting that the school district is looking to purchase one of the most expensive tablet computers available, when there are numerous reliable tablets on the market for about one third the price of an Apple iPad – and with more functionality. The trendy iPad famously does not even support Flash. More importantly, Microsoft has not released Office for the iPad, and it is questionable if it ever will. So these Thompson School District students will not be building models in Excel or creating presentations in PowerPoint on their new tablets, but they will certainly be able to update Facebook and download iTunes. Thank goodness.
Additionally, the fact that this purchase is just for one school is not something to be ignored. Why is this school special? Shouldn’t all of the 15,000 students in the Thompson School District get these fancy toys? It all seems a bit unfair to most of the student population of the district, especially when equality in public school funding seems to be top of mind for Democrats in the state legislature.
This absurdity also needs to be viewed within the backdrop of the $1 billion tax increase that Democrats want to pump more money into teacher pensions and government schools. The productive class of this state already pays the sweat of its brow to fund quality public education. Gimmicks such as iPads in the classroom are not going to change test scores, college readiness, or workforce preparedness one bit in a state where 40% of the public school grads need remediation before they take college classes. The bureaucrats in Loveland should be embarrassed to even float this idea, and ought to focus on mastering basic academic disciplines first.