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Should Brick Students Be Given Laptops?

School board promotes one-to-one laptop program

In a tech-heavy society, with a tech-heavy job market, Brick students should go to school in a tech-heavy environment, some Board of Education members said this week.

Board member Larry Reid promoted a one-to-one laptop initiative at the school board's pre-agenda meeting Wednesday night, saying top school districts in the state and across the country are issuing laptop computers to students to help them excel at computer applications that will prepare them for college and the business world.

"I think it's something that's required to get a good job," Reid said. "I think if we want to prepare Brick students to enter the job market with the proper tools, we have to have a one-to-one computer initiative."

Reid and several other board members attended a recent workshop where leaders of the Springfield and Pascack Valley school districts in North Jersey were on hand to give presentations about their laptop programs. Reid said officials from those districts said their students were more prepared for advanced studies once they went off to college, and the program made the school districts more attractive regionally.

"Every superintendent said the same thing: if you're not involved with technology in your classroom, you're not getting the maximum return," said board member John Talty, who also attended the presentation.

Board member Len Cuppari said the program is expensive, but worth it.

"I endorse it, but it is expensive," said Cuppari. "There are a lot of things to consider, but I agree with everyone here that we have to move in the direction of technology."

Reid said most districts that issue laptops to students lease computers from a vendor, with Apple being the "vendor of choice" for most districts. Most of the districts that have launched one-to-one laptop programs have started the programs in the middle school grades, then expanded to the high school grades, then to the lower grades. Some districts have used iPads for lower grades and traditional laptops for upper grades, he said. Reid said network infrastructure would have to be built before such a program could be implemented.

Board President Sharon Kight said issues such as security and warranties for the computers are not issues in other districts.

"They have it down to a science," Kight said. "They have all those kinks worked out."

Brick school officials will travel to the Pascack Valley district in Bergen County Dec. 8 to check out their program first-hand. Talty said the board is seeking public input from the community on whether issuing laptops – which could eliminate the need for some physical textbooks – would be a good idea for Brick.

"Hopefully, we'll get some input from the public as to what they're looking for," Talty said.

Support-The-Future November 16, 2011 at 02:26 AM
It is not just getting the laptops... You have to re-write every curriculum. you have to update the electrical systems in the schools (there has to be a place to plug the laptops in to recharge the batteries... you can not depend on students to charge their laptops overnight). You have to add a lot of wireless access points in each school so their are no dead zones (and they have to be able to handle at least 200 to 300 connections at a time). You have to 'rent' the e-books which, after 2 to 3 years, costs a lot more then buying books that last 10 years. Lots of cost involved.
Support-The-Future November 16, 2011 at 02:31 AM
Please research how a school budget is designed. It uses the zero-base budget system. The budget increases as each cost item is added until you arive at the budget. The process involves a lot of decisions along the way. There is no 'surplus' in the 135mil. they do not just have millions laying around waiting to be used. All the money is spoken for and is spent over the course of the school year for the budget items voted. At the end of the school year, if there is an excess for any reason, the excess, by law, has to be used to reduce the taxes in the next years budget.
Dawn Marie White November 16, 2011 at 02:39 AM
No but N.J.E.A. Has allot to do with the guidelines that are set as to administrator per teacher ratio.
Support-The-Future November 16, 2011 at 04:14 AM
Dawn, you are seriously misinformed... The NJEA does not determine teacher-to-administrator ratios. These are determined by the individual school systems (the Board of Education) and/or in some cases the state may mandate an administrator. The NJEA advocates only for teachers.
Tom Cular September 24, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Where do you think grant money and funds from the fed and state comes from ? Wake up and smell the coffee .

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