Funding the California Recovery

Never let it be said that bureaucrats in Pennsylvania aren’t doing their part to stimulate the economy. Well, the economy of California anyway. Because the feds & Pennsylvania are giving a Catholic high school money to buy iPads for all of their students.

Funding for the iPads came from an allotment by the state of Pennsylvania for textbooks and technology and the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Enhancing Education Through Technology program. Bishop Canevin received $23,000 from the technology grant program, of which $19,000 will be used to purchase the iPads and $4,000 will be used for professional training and development.

Clearly, the school was in desperate need for some kind of technology solution, and iPads were a simple and reasonably priced option, right?

The school has state-of-the-art computer labs, a wireless infrastructure, business class high-speed Internet, streaming audio and video broadcasts and SMART Boards in most classrooms.

But with all of that other technology at their disposal, the high school administrators have launched some new and innovative teaching methods that can only be served by giving out free iPads, right?

“That’s a crucial component,” said Mr. Sinagra. “Certainly from day one, when the students enter the classrooms, teachers need to be ready to use the iPads.”…

In the meantime, Mr. Sinagra has an assignment for the faculty.

“Their homework, beginning now through mid-summer, is to learn to use the iPad and to research what applications would be appropriate for their curriculum,” he said.

It’s such a crucial component to the curriculum that teachers don’t even have lesson plans ready to use the devices.

I’m so pissed about this, I’m seriously thinking of printing the article, taking my highlighter to key points and sending it off with a letter to my state lawmakers and Congressman. This is a school that seemingly has everything, and we just handed them $23K in education and recovery funds to buy iPads to give out for free while not even having a plan in place to utilize the technology. Insane.

13 thoughts on “Funding the California Recovery”

  1. That’s pretty much the philosophy behind all education tech grants. “Here’s a bunch of money that you must spend on computers. Never mind that your roof leaks and your kids have no textbooks.”

    Central planning at its worst.

  2. Wait, I thought I read that the schools here had funding pulled or something? So why is PA giving money to CA and not to their own schools?

  3. This is the kind of garbage that makes me want to pull my hair out when they scream about how horrible school tax vouchers are.

    Public schools are drowning in money. They just squander it most of the time.

  4. I have a friend who teaches at a high school that is required to use iPads. The idea is to go “paperless”. He’s lucky: he teaches 8th grade math, so he still gets to use paper…but he told me about one teacher who is scrambling trying to figure out how she’s going to teach math on an iPad!

    As for myself: I found that the best computer science classes I took in college spent a lot of time in front of the chalkboard, with regular desks. If I had a computer in front of me, it was too easy to be distracted by e-mail or web-surfing.

  5. As a teacher, I find things like this absurd.

    Kids don’t need ipads to learn. Teachers don’t need ipads to teach.

    The technology-craze has gotten out of control. Yes, having projectors and screens is pretty needed (I just advanced from using an ancient overhead projected onto a sheet of butcher paper this year!), but ipads for everyone? What happens when kids break or lose them?

    I’d much rather use the money to actually improve education, rather than to play with toys.

  6. It’s ridiculous if they get to keep the iPads. However, when I was in middle school, nigh on 15 years ago, I couldn’t fathom why they would buy new textbooks every five years when they could spend that money on laptops to issue the students. Then, you wouldn’t need books, or paper, or pencils, or even lockers! My senior year of high school, during the last two weeks, we had a bomb threat EVERY OTHER DAY. It was very annoying. The novelty of having so sit outside on the football field bleachers while have of the county’s law enforcement searches your lockers gets old very quickly.

    Now, I’m back in college (again) and I can’t believe how much textbooks cost. I’d rather be forced to buy an iPad and pay for a license to use a certain book than buy the phyiscal book. Then again, that would be voluntary, as is my attendance, and no part of the public school monopoly is voluntary or consensual, and that’s the main problem.

  7. You should do this. –> “I’m so pissed about this, I’m seriously thinking of printing the article, taking my highlighter to key points and sending it off with a letter to my state lawmakers and Congressman.” In fact you should get everyone you know to do the same thing.

  8. @Matt — Catholic Schools are not public schools. In order to attend Bishop Canevin students pay tuition. Tuition for the 2010-11 school year is $7900 for Catholic students registered in a diocesan parish, $8600 for students of other denominations. Additionally they are required to pay and activities fee $375 for one child, $650 for more than one child.

    Of course the school tax vouchers are being promoted as what low-socio-economic students can use to take their(?) tax dollars to charter/private schools.

  9. @Kathy I think you misunderstood me. Public schools get far more per student than most private schools do. Plenty of research out there that shows just how much of our tax dollars get spent on public education. They just waste the money on horrible programs, bad ideas and teacher’s union predations.

    I think anyone should be able to take their tax dollars to whatever school they would like. Competition breeds excellence. Government largess breeds mediocrity and waste.

  10. Meanwhile for the same price they could have bought Dell workstations that could be used for 2 to 3 years. Brilliant

  11. Our local school district spent God only knows how much for expansion (a few new rooms, a ‘state of the art’ auditorium, a second gym when the old one was fine, and a baby grand piano, which has been used once that I know of) while the teachers have to buy paper and pencils for the students out of their own money. Crazy, just plain ole crazy!

  12. Oh, and BTW, most of the new rooms are offices for school board and other school district officials, not classrooms.

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