Auburn Maine school department has found a way to solve their budget problems. Details in the accompanying article are sketchy (non-existent), but evidently it's true. Rather than spend public funding on more books, more material for the classroom or even more teachers or aides, the school department has decided that the money would be better spent on iPads.
The iPads have apps for "learning your letters from books, that can be read, (and) finger painting your name" so it's easy to see why Superintendent Tom Morrill sees why "it's absolutely something we must do." It's amazing that anyone was ever able to learn their letters in the past.
I know you're thinking that iPads cost a lot of money, but these only ended up costing the school department a little over $700 each - 285 for only $200,000. You're probably thinking you could have bought a lot of real books for that money and maybe even some blank paper and real finger paint, but wouldn't that get the kids' hands messy? Why you might even have to buy paint aprons and how many of those can you buy for $200,000?
Hiring another teacher is out of the question. Hiring teacher's aides for the classroom is out of the question (you know, those people who only make about $15k each? 10 more teacher's aides won't do as good as an iPad). If the money had not been spent on iPads I'm sure it would have been spent on another administrator trying to Race for the Top (while sinking to the bottom).
This "cutting edge technology will boost literacy rates from 62 percent to 90 percent in two years" (or it's hoped it will).
I'm not sure what they did to solve their budget problems, but I think every school district in the US should fly to Auburn to see what they've done and immediately implement the same plan. Times being hard, trips will be limited to 3 days and district employees will have to fly coach...