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Flagler District Approves $3.2 Million Plan for Free Macbook or iPad in Every Student’s Hands

| July 24, 2013

It's that kind of switch.

It’s that kind of switch.

Within three weeks starting on Sept. 16, every student at Flagler Palm Coast High School and Matanzas High School will have the latest-generation Macbook Air, free, on what amounts to a permanent loan from the school district. The district also plans to have an iPad for every fifth and sixth grader this year and next, then broadening that to fourth through ninth grades the following year.

The $814,000 Macbook initiative is part of a four-year, $3.2 million contract between the school district and Apple Corp. that by the 2017-18 school year will land either an individualized iPad or a Macbook in the hands of every single Flagler County student from grade four and up, while every student from kindergarten through third grade will have access to individualized iPads or Macbooks at school. That’s itself part of a five-year, $20.5 million plan to improve education technology in the district.

In essence, the district will be spending $4 million a year over the next five years on technology, with $6 million of that in salaries and the rest in actual computers, smart classroom set-ups, computer labs, networking, software, and so on. The initiative is paid for through sales tax dollars. (See the plan ion a detailed breakdown below.)

A year ago, voters approved by a large margin the renewal of a half-penny sales tax supplement in Flagler County to continue funding technology improvements in schools.

The school board approved the four-year Apple lease plan unanimously Tuesday, with only a few reservations about the scope of the program and the absence of formalized policies and regulations that will frame its development. Those policies and procedures are on the way.

“I know we’re in a process of moving quickly, but proceeding with the purchase before I have policies in place with the regulations is problematic for me,” Board Chairman Andy Dance said. “But we’ve had a discussion, we have already qualified a lot of questions that parents have had about the liability issues and some of the questions about using them and some of the restrictions and things.” He wants workshops to define the policies and involve the public at every step. “We’re on the right path, definitely want to push forward and have the policies ready for review as soon as possible, and have some public input on those.”

Board member Colleen Conklin was very concerned about the immense additional workload on district technology staff, once thousands of additional computers and iPads are in students’ hands. FPC has its own student help desk already, making technical support built-in there. Otherwise, students will have access to an online help desk and will have to seek out technical help at their respective school.

Ryan Deising, the district’s technology director, who’s spearheading the initiative, is not concerned, saying the technology department already provides support for the users of some 9,000 devices, not including printing and smart-classroom devices.

“To add this amount I think is something we can accomplish,” Deising said. “One of the benefits I think to this is that having these devices in a one-to-one scenario lends themselves to be maintained better. Typically what we run into issues for support is when we don’t get timely notifications sometimes of issues because we’ve put extra computers in a cart, so we’ll get to the point where there’ll be two or three machines that we’re having an issue within a cart. What we’re hoping with his is we’ll get more of a timely response, more timely information as far as when we have issues with those devices.”

Until now, the district has made computers and iPads available to students mostly by stacking them up in carts and distributing the devices for specific uses, or day-long uses, then collecting them at day’s end. Except for the youngest students, the district is moving away from the cart system.

Deising outlined what he and the board perceived as the benefits of this latest Macbook initiative, starting with the basics: the computer that will be placed in students’ hands is the latest generation of Macbooks, issued in June, with a battery life of upwards of eight hours, and a price of $800.

Any devices no longer necessary in high schools will be redistributed in the middle and elementary schools.

“The rationale behind the decision to move in this direction,” Deising said, “is we’re in a position to make a very positive impact on digital learning. This scenario provides students with devices that are both able for the students and teachers are ready to go with. It also allows students to create digital content in a familiar environment,” meaning the Apple systems. “We have a lot of investment in time and energy as far as on the training side of the Apple tools.”

The district will begin distributing the Macbook Airs to high school students starting on Sept. 16. For the following three weeks, technology staff will schedule open houses at Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas high schools for students and parents to pick up the devices and see them set up through an orientation.

And yes, there will be paperwork, because parents will have to sign something of a contract, or an agreement, that covers liability and security issues. For starters, there will be a $50 technology insurance fee. That’s in case of theft or breakage. Parents can opt out. But if they do, they’ll be entirely responsible for the cost of repairs, or the cost of the machine, if it’s stolen or lost. Parents who can’t afford the $50 fee can have it waived for hardship.

If parents don’t agree to any of the district’s terms, students will be granted day use of Macbooks, allowing a student to check out a Mac every morning, and turn it back in at the end of the school day.

But there will also be costs associated with serious damage and other forms of abuse of the machines. A first offense will require a $100 co-pay. A second offense will trigger a $150 co-pay. If there are further breakages or abuses, the student will be required to be a day user of the computer.

The district hasn’t clarified whether the offenses add up for the duration of the student’s possession of the computer, or whether the clock goes back to zero at the beginning of a new school year—or who will have possession of the computers over the summer. Nor is it clear how the district will ensure that families that move out of county and out of state—a chronic issue throughout the year—can be tracked down if they still have possession of the computer.

The Microsoft Office suite, which includes Excel and PowerPoint, will be installed on all the Macs. Students will be allowed—and in fact encouraged—to customize their computers with such things as custom skins. The district is open to having applications downloaded to individual student computers, using their own individual iTunes accounts, but the details haven’t been worked out. But the students will not have administrative privileges on their computers.

Over the years Apple has made its wining-and-dining marketing prowess pay handsomely in its relationship with Flagler County schools as board members and staffers have made annual trips to Cupertino, Apple’s headquarters in California, where they have been lavished with attention, training and deals that Apple makes difficult to resist.

Deising  said the Apple deal has inherent benefits other companies can’t provide. “One of the big things is the quality and durability of the equipment,” he said. “The Apple equipment in my experience has been the most easy stuff to support. The durability is top notch. If you look at how they’re manufactured, they’re very, very durable, particularly the aluminum models that the Macbook Air that’s part of this proposal is.”

He specified: “We didn’t just land on moving forward with Apple on this. We constantly are looking and evaluating alternative solutions. We’ve tested multiple platforms, we’ve had Nexus tablets that we’ve worked with, we’ve had Chrome books that we’ve worked with, Netbooks, we’ve actually deployed on a larger scale, obviously the Macbooks that we have in carts as well as the one-to-one deployments that we’ve done successfully, and also we’ve piloted iPads in one-to-one as well as in carts. So we’ve really looked at a larger scope of opportunities.”

Flagler County Schools’ 5-Year Technology Spending Plan

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87 Responses for “Flagler District Approves $3.2 Million Plan for Free Macbook or iPad in Every Student’s Hands”

  1. Justin says:

    All I can say is, “W H A T ” ! Are you friggin kidding me? Someone is getting a kick back!

  2. Marjorie says:

    Did I miss something because this article did not say how this will help the children improve in learning and raise their grades. Who does this really benefit?

  3. boomer says:

    When I was in school I had one pair of jeans, one pair of shoes, and a whole bunch of pencils……..I don’t agree with this at all sorry….these kids need to learn how to use the rest of their body parts not just the thumbs and maybe the fingers….

  4. Freddy says:

    Is this really more productive than adding back two hours of classes and additional teachers. Our generation went to school without these gadgets and yes I do have an I pad and several computers paid for by myself. Also I can still do math without a calculator.

  5. brian says:

    morons , i tell ya

    • brian says:

      wow..ok, so we give these kids 3500 macbooks to take to and from you really want your kids walking down the street with 3500 in their back packs? because the thuggs, drug dealers and bullies are going to be happy to take them from them and sell them for cash and drugs..we will see these sold on ebay and craigslist within 1 week of giving them out!! or perhaps you dont believe in crime in our area..who oversees the school board? is there one person we can contact?

  6. Jello says:

    I won’t be voting for this tax next time around….if I knew this before I voted I would have voted no.

  7. Kim says:

    As a long time Flagler County resident, I don’t want to hear the school board crying about money any longer. I have a child in the school system and I would prefer to have more teachers than computers. Why can’t we place money towards people and not technology. Who is to say that these kids will use their “own” computer properly and not sell it to the highest bidder. Is the district going to provide internet access in all homes too so the children can do their homework? I can just see the amount of ipads that will be dropped on the ground by the 5th and 6th graders too.

  8. Justin says:

    How about spending that money towards giving the teachers a raise? They have not had one in years and the school board voted one for themselves! What is wrong with this picture? OVER PAID ADMIN AND CLUELESS COUNTY COMMISSIONERS!
    Funny how this money just appears?

  9. Geezer says:

    Where do I matriculate?

  10. Freddy says:

    For $50 parents can pay for theft insurance, claim a loss and sell the computers on eBay for $550 What a nice way to make good profit.

  11. tampanative says:

    For those of you who do not know, the Republican lead government of the state of Florida has mandated that every public school district shift to digital instructional materials and transition to online assessment by 2015. Another unfunded mandate passed down to the county by the state government. If you want to complain go to your legislator and flood the Department of Education at the state level with your complaints. What you did 40 years ago in school does not hold a candle to what these students are being faced with now. Also, why not look at the success of the pilot program at BTES. Maybe Flaglerlive can find out the scores of the students in the pilot program at BTES using the iPad to see how beneficial these devices will be to our students and their continued success in a technical world.

    • Helene says:

      tamp: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were in high school over 40 years ago. They seem to have done quite well beginning with paper and pencils.

      • tampanative says:

        No doubt they have done great things. Yet people like Bill Gates and may he rest in peace Steve Jobs wanted the students of today to use the devices and software they created. Einstein did great things without a calculator, the Incas made Machu Picchu with stones fitting so tight that they did not need masonry work. Expecting today’s students to not use the tools they in their daily life in the classroom is ridiculous.

        • Helene says:

          Maybe tamp, but first they need to know how to read, write, cipher, research, experiment, etc. on their own without electronics. I’ve seen kids who can barely write and I ‘m talking about printing (never mind that they don’t even learn cursive anymore so I guess they can make their “mark” for a signature in the future). Without having the school provide personal laptops, most students graduate high school today and know full well how to use a computer.
          The schools currently have computers for use by the students (when the teacher has a project they may need one for). There is no need for us to provide personal computers for each student.
          I see this as further proof of the “dumbing down of America”.

          • Keith says:

            I have to say, although I’m not sure this is the best use of the money, I have a 6 year old that is starting 1st grade this year. We put a computer in his room two years ago. He also plays video games. Because of the computer and his endless yearning to use it without having to ask mom and dad what things say, he is now able to read well enough to read most of these comments. he even leaves comments on the Nik sites and stuff. he can also sound things out well enough to spell words that would be unexpected for a 6 year old. So, I think the tech will help the students. I’m just not sure the money wouldn’t be better spent elsewhere at the moment in these trying times.

            • Kimmy says:

              That’s sad that your six year old has a computer in his room. My kids ages 19 17 and 13 were never allowed to even have a tv in their room, still to this day! they have college scholarships and have always ha a’s and b’s in school. THis proudest day I have ever had was when my 5 year old said I taught him how to read ( I think it was his teacher that did, but I will take the credit!) They need to be with people even if its easier to stick them in a room with a screen.

          • Empathy says:

            Flagler teachers are paid well, but they have to pay for their insurance. In bigger counties basic insurance is free with the option to purchase more coverage.

            Also, if voters had done their homework, the half penny sales tax was always for tech.
            If you wanted more teachers, more time in the school day, and less layoffs then voters should have passed the millage tax.

    • Magnolia says:

      It is Bill Gates and Jeb Bush who are promoting Common Core, which is an ON LINE curriculum. Tough to follow it without the equipment and the software. Nice profit to be made from this.

    • Magnolia says:

      This is FEDERAL, happening in most states except a few who have refused.

  12. Initialjoe says:

    SO, to use the full capabilities of these computers you would need to have internet at home. I’d be interested in seeing how many kids don’t have internet at home. They’re living in a fantasy world. On top of this, a MAC computer is almost four times more expensive than a Windows computer. 350/windows computer vs. 1100 for the cheapest Apple offering.

    Not smart. The iPads on the other hand are a good thing for the kids to have. There are many things that can be done with them. the computers, not so much. I’m not happy about this. I’d rather see every kid with an iPad.

  13. Binkey says:


    Flagler teachers are paid well when compared to our neighboring counties. I have a teacher friend who used to work in Flagler County and now works in St. John’s county and she took a big hit to her salary to work there, but she lives there so it is worth the conscience to her.

    I have another friend in Putnam who makes about $10 K less than someone of the same amount of experience here.

    Also, the $ was approved by the voters for a half penny sales tax as the article mentioned. Computers are the tools of the 21st century. If the district is to prepare students for the future workforce they need access to the tools.

    And remember, more and more textbook companies are moving to electronic versions of textbooks, which can provide a media rich experience for students that reading from a book and lecturing cannot do.

    Now the question is will the county use the technology to 100% of its potential? Will students use the technology to learn, research, create and collaborate? Or will kids get on the computers and just play math games in school and check their Facebook pages all day.

    Lately it appears to me that the FCSD seems to do everything to 75% of its potential. Kind of like rolling this out and approving this before policies are determined.

    • Ben Dover says:

      Binkey thats just ridicuous, it doesn t prepare them for anything none of us had computers and we learned just fine , I went to Carrabba`s a while ago I gave a 18 19 yr old kid money for my meal my change was very easy to figure out , but the register was acting up , he couldn t figure it out , my change was 350 from a ten thats pathetic!!!! calculators and computers make for stupid kids

    • Justin says:

      You may have a friend who is a teacher, But I have a wife that is a teacher in this county. They have not had a raise in years! Plus the cost of living has doubled! As for other counties, I do not care what they pay, that is their problem!
      I would like to see you pay back student loans of about $1000,000 on a pay of $40,000! You really need to pull your head out of your rear end and start smelling the roses! Flagler county is going down hill FAST! I would not be surprised if they go bankrupt within ten years! By then, We will be out of this state!

      • Curious says:

        Doesn’t $40,000 sound wonderful….with all summer, weekends and holidays off, plus no night shifts? I would like to find a job like that. I have a close friend who is a teacher here and she makes $60,000 a year because of her number of years on the job. I used to feel sorry for teachers, I thought they were paid about $25,000 a year. I don’t feel sorry for them any more.

        • Realty Check says:

          @ Curious, are you serious $25,000 a year, you realize it’s not the 1950′ or 60’s any longer correct? All summer off is a perk, but as far as no nights, I have friends that are teachers and that’s when they grade papers and create study plans. You did find a job like that, you just commented on it, go get your degree if you do not have one already, and we will give you 25K a year while you try and pay off your $50,000 in student loans. Honestly why do people feel that teachers should make such a poor salary? They are not baby sitters, they are educated individuals who studied hard and now have a career as a teacher. You want to complain, and then go to where the real money is spent in our district, the administration or better yet the school board, $30,000 a year for a part time job.

        • Empathy says:

          All the teachers I know work at least three hours every day after school, spend time on the weekends, and go to trainings and conferences over the summer. My sister teaches and when we counted her salary divided by the hours she actually works she is only making 13 an hour

  14. Marissa says:

    This story borders on malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance

    Wrongful conduct by a public official
    Doing a proper act in a wrongful or injurious manner

    A failure to act when under an obligation to do so; a refusal (without sufficient excuse) to do that which it is your legal duty to do

    Between the Superintendent of Flagler County Schools, Janet Valentine and our sleeping Flagler County School Board. which we elect to act in good faith for the voters of Flagler County, I find this outrageous and demand an investigation why they needed to exploit money in the form of additional tax when they can find money for projects like this. So, you chose computers over security is what you’re telling us. Janet Valentine needs to go now and before the new school year begins. i live in the Flagler County of Hypocrisy.

  15. steve says:

    Completely ridiculous! In this day and age where a lot of kids have no respect or discipline and the parents aren’t in the picture we are going to give the kids $1000 lap tops or ipads that they will carry back and forth to school. These computers will get broken in transport by being dropped, sat on, kicked around, you name it. I can just imagine school bus loads of kids carelessly handling these lap tops because they didn’t pay for them. Heck, most kids don’t take proper care of their electronics even when their parents pay for them.

    Can you imagine how many of these will end up stolen, with broken screens, or left at home and not even brought to school. $814,000! What were they thinking. How about buying desk top computers that stay in the classroom and are less likely to be stolen, damaged, or misused.

    What Flagler resident will ever consider voting for a tax increase the next time the school board cries poor mouth.

  16. Ben Dover says:

    And who`s getting stuck paying for this nonsense, older people with no kids in school I`m sure and all it does is raise a bunch of stupid kids that can t add , write their own essays , and watch a bunch of porn

  17. In shock says:

    I am in shock! here I read an article earlier about middle grade students having to go to school while its dark which is NUTS because of lack of funds for bus routes. Their safety is more important than them having to have I-pods and such and from what I have heard, in the news in the past, that the schools can access the things and see what ever the student is doing at that time, whether or not they are in school at the time.

  18. Ryan M. says:

    Mac? Ugh, can’t even run Solidworks on the Mac OS. Mech E problems….

    What would be awesome is if the school distrcit bought everyone a Raspberry Pi (35 dollars) and teach people to code Python. You need to buy a monitor and mouse and keyboard to use the Raspberry Pi, but that is the future of technology. Not Mac’s (I hope).

    I am also surprised Netbooks didn’t work out. They are so much cheaper and with google drive, you can use excel, powerpoint, word docs, and everything needed. Mac has nothing that Google does not.

    I also wonder what will be put in place to keep users off inappropriate websites and such.

    Lastly, what research has been done to find out how many students will want to take one? Personally, I would not have needed a macbook air at home from 2007-2011 when I was at FPC. However, I would have loved an Arduino or Chromebook.

    Perhaps I am just a google Fanboy, but how did the MacBook air beat out a Chromebook for the purposes of Flagler County School District??? Like… come on…

  19. Florida Native says:

    If the world is still here in a million years (and doubt it will be) kids will have gigantic heads with gigantic bulging eyeballs, Coke bottle eye glasses, pasty white skin from not getting enough exercise (no PE), high blood pressure,insulin dependent diabetes, twelve fingers on each hand,huge thumbs,massive brains outside the skull (see Mars Attacks) obesity beyond belief,killer attitudes,nasty dispositions, and well….you get the picture…..Listen to “In The Year 2525”,Zager and Evans,July 1969.

  20. michelle says:

    As a parent, I monitor the amount of time my teens are on the computer. Now the school board is removing that ability from me. The kids will have unlimited access to youtube, games, and other social media. Thanks.

  21. Professor Know says:

    Its a VERY sad situation for our children’s future. If Florida is going to be moving to an “on-line” learning curriculum , then I want my children OUT of Florida all together. They need to be taught to figure things out in the HEADS and not on a damn electrical device. The day is going to come that the internet will NO longer be usable (trust me on this one) and the children will have to be able to do math, reading, science, geography by reading “physical books” not electrical binary codes on a screen.

    • tampanative says:

      Let us understand this Professor Know. You are reading this article on some sort of computerized device using the internet, writing a response in the same manner. Students will be doing the same: researching, reading, writing, and completing technical projects using programs to show what they learned. If they can read and do math using a computer they will be able to do it if the Internet is no longer there.

      • Magnolia says:

        Tampanative and Professor Know: Speculating here, but I believe the professor might be referring to an incident where we not only lose the internet, but all electricity, in which case this discussion is moot. Prefer not to think about that.

  22. fruitcake says:

    It’s time for the county and city to provide WIFI service so that everyone home is covered.

  23. Gia says:

    Now we’ve got more dumb ignorant & stupid then before. Take the power out of these computers & these kids still cannot add or subtract.

  24. Robert says:

    Did the School Board wake up yesterday and say we are going to implement this program?
    It certainly sounds like they did.
    They are going to implement an IT initiative but don’t have any policies and procedures in place. They voted on a measure and are only now inquiring about the level of effort from the IT Director.

    Salary cost is greater than the unit cost. What happens after five years? Does the lease require a new unit every two years? Does anyone know or are those answers going to be figured out as they go along, the same as their policies and procedures.

    What kind of leadership did you people elect? And I would be willing to take wagers and give odds that if an election would be held tomorrow you voters would put everyone of them right back into office.

    • confidential 2 says:

      We need a new school board!!! We need People with common sense. The current school board members discontinue revenue building programs as they say to save money because of budget issues, give themselves a raise and spend money like it grows on trees. Or maybe there are money trees growing behind the government services building that we don’t know about…lol.

  25. confidential says:

    All these fraudulent overpriced tax payers funded contracts for equipment or services are materialized on the name of graft offered and taken. I just bought myself a top of the line laptop for juts $369 versus the over $800, and in 5 years will be outdated like the one’s the school board approved. This is one of the excess why they wanted the referendum passed. So now they got the BOCC passing the increase in our county tax mill. All these school board members and commissioners need to be replaced.

    • tampanative says:

      The county commission cannot pass on dollars they collect to the school board. You need to check your state law out a little more.

  26. Rain says:

    So let me get this straight….no raises for any County employees in five years, an increase in the insurance premiums they pay, and we have 3.2 million to buy mac computers and ipads. I just don’t get it.

  27. Geezer says:

    There’s nothing like real books to teach a young person how to focus.
    They require some light but no electricity. They don’t require Brighthouse Networks cable.
    (that’s my favorite feature)

    Personal computers, smartphones, and tablets are nothing but a highly distracting environment.
    They train you to jump from place to place for information, whereby your information
    is fragmented, and culled from many websites (some with faulty information) while you avoid the
    ceaseless temptation of going to social websites, texting other kids (or those silly computer games).
    After you they used to this, it’s difficult to read and turn pages on books, let alone focus on anything.

    There’s a great book that discusses what happens to your brain when you become a computer addict.
    The book: The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr.

    What a great way to induce ADD into a young brain.
    The internet is also corrupting a lot of young minds.
    I’d like to see a headline like this:
    “Don’t Cram The Internet And Smartphones Down My Child’s Throat.”

    Pour those 3-million bucks into hiring more quality-minded teachers and our foundering (or floundering) library system. Pick one.
    Yes, I love books–even the smell of books brings a smile to my face.

  28. Realty Check says:

    Before everyone flips out, did we see if there will be any cost reduction in text books or any other paper product we will no longer need? Everyone who has ever read one of my posts about our beloved school system knows I am no fan; I may even despise them for their incompetence. The future is technology, when you get into the business world there are no hand written reports or even notes, I take notes on my laptop. If our children are going to suceeed than they need the tools to do so, the problem I see is how dam sneaky the school board is with every thing they do. The example yesterday about the bus schedule, why wait 3 weeks before school starts to fix that issue, now they are adding Apple products, why was this not brought up when the special election was being held. I am all for the added technology, but our school board members and top administrators are deceptive and unfit for the positions they hold. They cannot balance a budget nor will they make the real cuts needed to fix the budget, they are about their salaries and that is it, Flagler County if you re-elect these people you get what you deserve.

    • Helene says:

      Realty, I agree with much of what you said. However, we don’t need to provide personal computers to the students for them to be computer savvy. I have 3 children who graduated from Flagler schools in recent years and all went on to great colleges. And guess what? They all knew how to research, type reports, and take notes on their laptops in college. Not one of them had their own computer from K-12th grade. They learned on the schools computers during a tech “wheel” class in the lower grades. Then if they didn’t pass the computer test on entry to high school (they did), they would have had to take a computer class in 9th grade.
      And to the notion that the top jobs available today are in the tech field – well I believe that the tech part is in the nuts and bolts of the machinery – not in being able to use a personal computer. Students know how to use a personal computer, that is not what the jobs are about. They are more of a trade type of job for the computer inner workings. There was a recent article in the news about an apprentice program that trains workers in this type of technology (this is similar to electricians, plumbers, mechanics, etc.).

      • Nancy N. says:

        If you think “research, type reports, and take notes on their laptops” makes someone computer savvy you obviously have no idea what the role of the computer in modern life is. That’s like saying someone can cook because they can read the instructions on a box of macaroni and cheese and execute them. That’s training wheels territory. Any job applicant with only those computer skills these days will be laughed out the door for any decent job.

        You don’t have to be in a computer “trade” type job to need to understand computers! I am a writer and run an internet publishing company, as well as editing a trade magazine for another company. I write HTML code EVERY DAY as part of my job. I work with PHP databases, and computer graphic file sizes and formats, and WordPress and CSS code. Any job that requires marketing skills today requires that you be able to do the things that I do with technology.

        • Helene says:

          Nancy, first of all I was responding to Realty’s point that in today’s business world there are no handwritten reports and “notes” are taken on laptops and that kids need to learn these tools. My answer, to be brief, was that the kids already learn these tools without personal school provided laptops. Secondly, the skills you mention in your argument are very career specific. Yes, of course you need these skills in any kind of MEDIA career and a student will learn these as part of their college major or trade school training. One of my children (and several friends as well), all got jobs right away after college graduation (2010 – 2012 time frame) without anyone asking them if they knew HTML or PHP. They had to move out of state to get these jobs, but most had several offers. Careers in a law firm, PR firm, performing arts, management, and finance. They all had the computer “savvy” they needed to land promising careers.

      • Mike says:

        @ Helene, I agree, but my point is there are kids (especially in our county) who do not have personal computers, they may not need one for every child but they do need a lab cart in each class. I hate to tell you but I do not even look at a resume that has an education level less than a Masters degree, the economy has made it very easy to pick and choose high education level candidates. The real problem I see is the pay scale we offer them with that type of pay scale, I have explained to my Sophomore child that he needs to plan to be in school for the next 7 to 8 years. The tech field (I do not mean just an IT repair guy) is getting more advanced then just clearing up a program or connectivity problem, it has grown to security and programming. Low level IT jobs are fading away fast, I am an advocate for meaningful education not just getting a child through school to keep the graduation rate up, sorry if I have offended you in any way with my post.

  29. tulip says:

    From what I understand in the article, the user of the computer has no administrator privileges. The student can’t download games or whatever. It will only have the software needed for school purposes. My guess would be that it will be “tweaked” so that it will be found or rendered useless if it winds up in the wrong hands.

    I had a lot of questions about this also and some of them have been answered. I still have some left.

    The reality of this world is that everything is going high tech and if the young ones don’t get taught how to manage and run this equipment they will be left out in the cold by those who have the experience. Look how quickly e-books are gaining. Look how fast everyone had to have a cell phone and how every kid has to have one. If they don’t have these things. they are left behind by their peers.

    I do absolutely believe kids need to be taught cursive, simple math, etc. the “old fashioned way” because macines to break down and they do need the brain stimulation. It is a sad fact that most young kids today aren’t encouraged to use their imagination and stimulate their brains.

    All this is overwhelming to the older generation, but the facts are it’s not the same world it was aspects anymore than it’s the same world when we were much younger. Think of what you grew up with that your parents did not have. It’s a cycle.

    I’m not ecstatic about the money and I don’t fully trust the school board, but it’s what we have to deal with, but if it helps the kids, I’m okay with that.

  30. Justin says:

    When and if my child gets one of these pieces of fruit. She will be told by me, the parent, It is not coming home! It will stay at school! If every parent follows this rule, this will defeat them and their agenda! FYI, Did you know the IT dept has the capabilities to listen in and turn on the camera? Yup, I feel this is an invasion of our privacy!
    Everyone call Janet “The useless” Valentine and tell her simply NO!

    • Anonymous says:

      In this day and age- I’m not sure how getting kids computers in school is a bad thing, but from all the comments, i guess i am in the minority

    • Geezer says:

      A little black tape for the lens, some gum for the mic(s) make a Macbook private.
      But you can take the software route and turn these things off.

      Install “Little Snitch” to monitor outgoing communications be they video or audio.
      (If you’re a Standard User vs Admin, – you won’t be able to.)
      Just ask your favorite search engine or Mac expert.

      Your concerns are very valid. I installed some remote control software to help my friends remotely
      with Windows and Mac problems, and had to remind them that I could see into their house.
      If you’re traipsing around your home in your Fruit of the Looms, remember to power down the
      camera-enabled computer.

  31. Ryan says:

    Considering you all learned so well with paper and pencil, using that logic, should we also get rid of all calculators and go back to Abacuses? Should we remove air conditioning from classrooms because in the days of yore, people learned fine without that too? Or how about projectors, or how about we get rid of the teachers laptops because students were taught so well without them years ago??

    Do you people not realize that just because something worked “fine” years ago does not mean it can be improved upon now? Computers are the future, and just because YOU didn’t grow up with them does not mean students should not be allowed to progress using what everyone has and will be using for years to come?

    At it’s core, school is about LEARNING, and why anyone would protest students learning about, and with, the most prominent technology in the world, is beyond me.

  32. E.C.H. says:

    After all the hubbub about needing to raise taxes or they may need to make serious cut-backs, they can afford to do this? Dirty pool!

  33. Longman says:

    In this day and age- not sure how getting kids computers in school is a bad thing

  34. Magnolia says:

    Government is out of control. Need to replace every member of this school board.

  35. Nancy N. says:

    THANK YOU RYAN! Standing ovation!

    I’m so frustrated listening to all these technophobes rail against technology. Just because none of you grew up with it, and are not comfortable with it as a result, doesn’t mean that your children shouldn’t be given every advantage and tool to make their education better.

    I mean, seriously, will you listen to yourselves? “Horses and buggies worked fine for my great grandparents, and didn’t pollute the planet with greenhouse gases. Let’s just go back to them.”

    All this stuff about kids being distracted…first off, if a kid wants to be distracted, they already can be. They’ll just find some other way to entertain themselves. Also, the reality of modern life is that thanks to technology we are faced with constant distractions. Part of educating and raising our children is teaching them to DEAL with that aspect of modern life, and learn to focus and filter out the “noise”. It’s an incredibly important lesson for the modern world.

    To everyone complaining about the money…this is being funded by a tax that was earmarked specifically for this purpose, and the state requires that the district implement digital classroom materials.

    For those worried about loss, theft and damage from “bad actors” I say – MYOB. Tend your own garden, teach your child responsibility, and let the district worry about dealing with the problems that may arise from the people who don’t. Flagler isn’t exactly inventing the wheel here…this sort of thing is done all over the country. It’s just that Florida is such an educational backwater that it seems revolutionary here.

    I for one am thrilled that the district is joining the 21st century with its instructional materials. It’s a huge step in the right direction towards keeping the quality of education in this district.

  36. FPCHS Graduate Class of 2010 says:

    I have never read such ridiculous comments before. Technology is the way of the future. I wish something like this could of started to be implemented while I was still a student. If you were smart you would realize that the $$$ used to pay for this is special capital money from a tax that YOU voted for to be used for Technology and can only be used for Technology. Wake up and join the 21st century. Thanks

  37. Joe says:

    Without any policies or procedures in place here is something to think about, Several lawsuits involving privacy concerns in a laptop computer distribution program at a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-area school district were settled late Monday.
    Two of the cases involved students who were given laptop computers through the district; unknown to them was the ability for school administrators to take photographs and screenshots by remotely accessing the webcam on the laptop. Read the full story here:


    I hope the next referendum won’t be for taxes to settle all the law suits!

  38. Curious says:

    Why, why, why can’t we go to an unpaid school board. Then only people who really care will be making decisions. Between this and the change in middle school hours, I’m ready to scream.

  39. fruitcake says:

    The dog ate my ipad….!

  40. LM says:

    I am not anti-technology by any means, and as a recent college grad understand the the value of computer skills in today’s economy.

    On the other hand, it is alarming to me that shiny, expensive Apple products are being put into the hands of every single school child in the county. I find that to be overkill. There are people in med school who don’t need a brand new iPad to further their education.

    Just my $0.02.

  41. Anonymous Student says:

    All of the older folks need to realize that this is the era of technology and that times have changed since they were children. This will be beneficial to students who do not already own or can’t afford any technology. Now a days many teachers give assignments that require the use of this technology to do research and make presentation or complete assignments. In fact, it is mandated by the State of Florida that all schools switch to “digital education”. While you may not understanding why that is of any significance, it really and truly is. You need to put your feelings and how your life was younger aside and think of the student’s educations and the environment that we are now living in. Technology is all around us, and the world is becoming more and more advanced everyday.

  42. Anonymous Student says:

    People should also be aware that this will not cost the school board or taxpayers anything since it is being paid for by the revenue from the half penny sales tax, which can legally only be used for technology or building reconstructions. The state sales tax rate is 6%, with individual counties being allowed to raise the tax rate in order to make more money for purchases like this.

  43. Bob says:

    I can see it now,,,,, “Jimmy, what is 8X8?” “Hang on ma I will Google it!”

  44. Brad says:

    I love this, but am concerned about the choice of Apple products. This, in my opinion, is definitely the wrong way to go for a few reasons:

    1. Apple is still not the main OS used in business and is already beginning the slide in the consumer market. So we are not setting students up for future success.
    2. Apple is significantly more expensive than other platform and equipment options.
    3. Apple is more difficult to use in a multi-user environment.
    4. The plan needs to start with a better foundation than just equipment

    The first place the District should start with is cloud platform for all students (i.e. Google Apps for Education, Microsoft Office 365). This way you would have put accounts with email addresses, applications, and cloud storage in every student’s hands. All in a system that is far easier for District staff to manage and far less costly (runs off their servers and Google Apps for Education is free). This way, equipment choice now becomes much more flexible and there is no downtime if equipment goes down. You simply sign on another computer.

    They definitely should have reached out to a consulting firm such as Coastal Cloud or Marlin consulting prior to doing anything.

  45. Pat says:

    The argument is not so much about the use of technology as it is about the total abuse of technology. Funny how these tech giants people are eager to saturate the schools with their technology but when it comes to educating their very own kids, they have created schools that are completely devoid of all this technology. One can always rely on this school district to do things contrary. Interesting article below…

    A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute:

    LOS ALTOS, Calif. — The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.

    But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.

    Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix. […]

    • Helene says:

      Thank you Pat for sharing this link. Priceless! This is required reading for everyone who commented on this thread :)

  46. Anon says:

    Will fully dual enrolled students be able to have a laptop?

  47. Sherry Epley says:

    While I don’t have children, I do have a technology background and pretty good common sense. Yes, technology is the key, not only to the future, but to the present. BUT, throwing the MOST EXPENSIVE computers at kids TO TAKE HOME (to break or loose), with no organized plan for making sure each student’s access to knowledge is “vastly improved” is nothing but FOLLY at tax payer expense.

    While our state may have mandated that students have access to digital teaching tools, does that mandate require expensive MACs over PCs, or IPADS over a good $300 lap top. . . that stays at school and can be upgraded?

    We have a governor who won’t accept federal dollars for health care or public transportation. . . because eventually the state may have to pay some of the costs to keep them going. Yet, we have a school board who is willing to spend this kind of money on “fad” computers that essentially are obsolete the day after they are purchased. . . OUTRAGEOUS!

  48. Truth Seeker says:

    I’m curious about one thing. The schools providing these computers for the students to take home, WHO is providing the internet connection (Wi-Fi) for these computers once they are at the child’s home? I mean, realistically how are the students supposed to do research if they don’t have an internet connection? We currently have a problem with children going hungry and not having adequate meals, what parent is going t have the funds to provide internet service when they cant feed their children? Please don’t say, go to the library or to a location that provides free internet because how is the parent supposed to get them there? The computers are a wonderful idea but we also need to address the issue of internet service for those low income families that are currently having trouble paying their bills let alone feeding their children! Any suggestions????

    • 16 yr old Student says:

      Just don’t let your child get the MacBook. There’s something in the article that says about your child or low income families’ children, having an alternative.

  49. Kimmy says:

    My son will not be taking one of these home when he gets to high school we have enough responsiblity making sure the books get returned! I do not want this type of liablity, there’s enough stuff to keep track of
    These computers are very delicate and thin, they will get broken easily.

  50. confidential says:

    The school administrators VIP and the Board that imposed their decision should be paying for this overpriced computers not us, the taxpayers.

  51. John says:

    I think adults need to understand why this is so beneficial. This is the future. Within 10 years, textbooks will be obsolete. There will no longer be a need to carry a whole backpack to school, everyone will have some sort of tablet/laptop. This is the onset of that. Although, I don’t think it makes sense to give them overpriced $1099 Macbook Airs, simple laptops would be sufficient enough for high school students.

  52. 16 yr old Student says:

    As a student at FPC I feel that this is a great idea! For students who don’t have the right programs in their computer or don’t have one at all it will help them succeed and keep updated on technology. I’m a windows user (laptop) but i have an iPhone and I proffer using my phone rather than my 2010 windows computer. I think with the MacBook Air it will help me with assignments that will probably include a Mac program. thank you Flagler county!

  53. Jade (Student) says:

    I like the idea, in all honesty. People complaining about how we should be using paper and pencils need to realize that the generation has changed, technology got more advanced and, it is very beneficial depending on how it’s used. That being said, I agree with the high school students being responsible for these but, no fifth grader or even some middle school child should, they’ll be broken and will cost their parents alot of money. My mom likes the idea also. Just not for the younger kids under high school. The future is near, I can’t wait to see how this will turn out though!

  54. anon says:

    Also, it’s way better for the environment. no paper= no deforestation! <3

  55. How about mandating the children stop eating all the crap in public school so they can grow healthy, think clearly and stop going to doctors instead of being couch potatoes with computers, ipads and iphones! Where do I sign up to provide organic and living foods to the school system at a fraction of the profit Bill Gates will be making for something so useless!

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