Monday, April 11, 2011

School budget problems resolved - Auburn, Maine

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...


Anonymous said...

Let's see what the research shows before passing judgement on the IPads. Kids entering Kindergarten today are not all exposed to books like they were when I was a kid; they have video games and TV's in their bedrooms instead. When a 5 year old opens a book and places it on his/her head, thinking it's a funny looking hat, or uses it as a fan because they've never been read to it puts them at a disadvantage. Maybe the IPads can help. Some kids obviously respond better to technology than human interaction because that's how they've been brought up. Randy, I have a question. You have 5 kids right? How many hours/days have you spent in their schools?

Randy said...

Anonymous, thank you for your comment. I'm surprised you found an entry five months old, but appreciate your comment nevertheless.

iPads may help students to read and will no doubt help in other areas. However, in a time where schools are complaining about funding.

Of my five kids, two were "acquired by marriage" after their public school days. I still worked with them in their college days (both not have masters). With my own three, I went on school field trips, attended school lunches, PTA meetings and helped with homework (which helped me realize I needed reading glasses). One of mine now has her master's, one working on his bachelor's degree.

I've been slack on posting new entries, please return and comment as soon as I start again, likely this week.