In Brief $1,100 to Replace School Tablets September 15, 2011 Waldo Jaquith 24 Comments Parents could be on the hook for up to $1,100 for lost or stolen school laptops.
24 thoughts on “$1,100 to Replace School Tablets”
Waldo, didn’t I read here at Cville News that each tablet cost $99? I went to the apple website and see that an ipad 2–something I thought was more expensive than the tablets our kids our getting–costs $499. Why the inflated replacement cost?
So every parent whose kid gets one of these signs on to a $1000 liability? Amazing. What if you have two or three kids enrolled?
As to why it’s so expensive? Because costs for academic applications are always jacked up, and school administrators are not savvy tech consumers. This article about the county schools may be instructive: http://www.readthehook.com/100248/no-school-administrator-left-behind
I have two kids who will be getting these tablets — eventually, I’ve already head of delays on the roll-out dates — and I’m not at all willing to assume responsibility for overpriced tablets that might or might not work. Nor am I willing to pay if some other s***head kicks my child’s backpack or steals it out of her gym locker.
I’ve been dubious all along about how much thought, research, and planning went into this ridiculously-named program and now I feel like some sort of clairvoyant.
Well, yes and no. Evan S. pointed out that HP’s fire sale on tablets brought them down to $99, a result of discontinuing them. But that was selling them far below cost, just to get them out of stores so that HP could give up on a product that just wasn’t selling. Though cheap, those would have been a terrible product for the school system to buy, since they couldn’t be replaced or repaired.
Has CCS considered how to collect funds from families who incur this cost but can’t pay it? Turn their students over to colection agencies? Withhold transcripts? Is this a decent way to treat lower income familes? (Not to mention that you hardly need to be low income to be staggered by an unexpected $1,000 charge.)
My daughter at CHS says that all homework assignments will require the tablet, so opting out is not an option, unless a parent is comfortable with seeing their children fail in school
Thanks for the clarification Waldo. With two children getting these tablets, I am all fired up about this issue, as you can see from the appalling grammar and spelling in my previous post. ;)
90% of kids will function just fine with the tablets and it will enhance their education. About 5% will have some unfortunate accident with them and another 5% will be knunkleheads with them. I for one am happy to the school focusing on majority of kids that do the right things instead of the very disruptive few. Just about every kid at CHS rich or poor has a cell phone and they seem to handle them OK. Go Black Knights!
I don’t know whay we are spending all tis money on technology with no clear connection or plan to improve student learning?
I would rather send all this money on a system of training and then evaluating a program of in service and professional development to promote culturally sensitive/anti-racist teaching. We should train all educators on a three year cycle to understand students of different cultural backgrounds and then give students a survey every year asking them to rate teachers effectiveness on creating a culturally sensitive and welcoming classroom environment and how that influences their learning outcomes. We should also survey teachers every year and ask them if they feel their buildings are positive places to work in terms of race, ethnicity, and working climate.
My bet is that this would go a long way towards eliminating the minority-white achievement gap in the City Schools. The training would cost as much as the tablet program and the evaluation of it would show if it was having the intended effects. That would be worth the expenditure to me.
Why are we spending all this money on technology with no clear connection or plan to improve student learning?
This is an excellent question.
I would rather the money be spent on teachers and teacher training. I have two students in the CCS system and would like to see their screen time more limited rather than expanded. So this puts me, as a parent, in an odd situation. As Patience comments, the parents don’t really have a choice and that seems completely unfair.
You have input though. There is an election coming up and we should all be asking the candidates hard questions about this and other issues.
I read the BLAST FAQs at the CCS website (link below), which say that parents will be provided with a “schedule” of damage costs, not a contract to sign. Students will need access to the internet, and are responsible for charging their tablets at home. I know this isn’t an issue for most kids, but there are some students who don’t even have electricity let alone internet access. The FAQs direct students who don’t have internet access at home to use free hotspots like the public library or to purchase an internet service. I guess families that only have desktop computers and never bothered to set up wireless in their homes will now have to purchase wireless routers and start that whole set up, which isn’t fun. My household only managed to accomplish *wireless* access at home two years ago so it’s not inconceivable that this will be an issue for people.
I’m not sure of the exact version our kids are getting, but a quick google search showed me that the price range for fujitsu tablets range from $600-$800. Does anyone know exactly how much the ones CCS purchased cost?
Really, don’t you think that CHS will address the issues that have been brought up? I have never seen a school go to extremes to help kids like CHS does. My fourth child is now a freshman the school and CHS has always gone out of their way to help our family.
I have four children who went through CCS too. (The oldest two are in college.) As far as dealing with administration is concerned, my experience has been mostly negative.
Its a stupid idea to hand a delicate $1,100 object to a child and expect them to carry it around 5 days a week without it breaking or disappearing. It is completely unreasonable for the city to attempt to require parents with little money to share in this poor judgment.
I talked to a friend in Seattle whose school district issued ipads to students. Parents are still liable (for $500–half the cost of our tablets) but they can choose to leave the ipads at school to minimize risk to them. The FAQs at CCS say that Charlottesville High School students must bring them home because it is expected that the tablets be charged at home, not at school.
You would think some School Board candidates (or their supporters who frequent this site) would have something to say about this.
What do City Council candidates have to say on the matter? What about it being time to move on to other issues besides the McIntire Park and the dam? Aren’t huge expenditures and the appearance of nearly complete cluelessness at almost every level of our local government worthy of discussion?
Dave Norris like to pop in when it serves his purposes. Where are you Dave? Too busy planning your next sister city trip?
Are laptops for everyone who stays at the Haven or the new SRO next, or are they going to have to make do by “acquiring” one of the school laptops?
Unfortunately, our local elected officials run for office to spend money and welcome any new idea to do so. I wonder what would happen if the star quarterback’s parents refuse to pay for a tablet? Will the school system suspend him or kick him out? They plan to spend a little money each year to buy new tablets for the new students who will be using them. It will be interesting to see how much the school system spends each year buying new and replacing old tablets.
Also, for years we have been told that many of our students can not afford text books and school supplies. Now we are told that everyone can afford internet connection. How much is a wireless connection going these days? Waldo, isn’t this your area of expertise? It certainly isn’t mine. I don’t use a smart phone and my desktop is wired.
Not really—I’m a website developer, not a consumer-grade network engineer. :) I’m not sure that an internet connection is necessary to use these laptops at home. If the textbooks are on the computer and a word processor is on the computer, then an internet connection might be nice, but I don’t think it’s essential to this new program, as I understand it.
That said, the National Broadband Plan intends to provide subsidized internet service throughout the nation, and Comcast recently announced that they’re providing $9.95/month internet service to any household with a child in school who qualifies for free lunches under the National School Lunch Program. So I think that’s your price: $9.95.
The textbooks will not be on the tablets. At the parents’ meeting I attended, we learned that the school will pay the full replacement fee the *first* time a student loses a tablet, partial cost the second time and if the child is careless enough to lose his tablet a third time, parents pay the full replacement cost.
There are other issues, for example, if an “unattended” tablet is stolen, I believe parents pay full cost–maybe not for the first time–but as parents at the meeting pointed out, students can’t strap their tablets to their backs while playing after school sports. Only 20% of CHS students have lockers. We never bothered to get one for our kids; you have to sign up, it seems like a hassle. I don’t even know if there are enough lockers for all the students.
If what Patience wrote is true, looks like the price tag for the tablet idea just went up by quite a bit.
What I remember from the meeting is that Fujitsu will replace stolen tablets, the *first* time, as long as the tablet was not left unattended. Then again, wouldn’t something have to be left unattended in order to be stolen?
I don’t remember anything agreement involving lost tablets.
how can there not be enough lockers? geez, is that the case at all high schools these days? (I’m old, I’m old, I wear my trousers rolled…)
Honestly, I don’t know if there are enough lockers or not, but Dr. Taylor did say at the meeting that only 20% of students have them.
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