This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Laptop Program Still Making Headlines

Today's Boston Globe has an editorial that praises Beverly schools for their focus on technology, but denounces the administration's decision to charge parents for the new laptop program.

Beverly's new high school, set to open in November, should be the envy of its counterparts in other towns. With the school’s emphasis on technology, students will be able to work together more easily, including through video conferencing, and learn how to use advanced computer programs.

Unfortunately, Beverly is also obliging parents to pay extra for this tech-utopia — a requirement that violates the spirit of public education. Not only must every student have a laptop computer, but it must be a specific, expensive type: a MacBook with a price tag of $900. And since the school system couldn’t find a donor to cover the cost, students and their families will be on the hook.
Channel 7 also covered the controversy over the weekend.

We're not sure why charging $225 a year for a computer would cause so much more of a stir than the district's even more egregious policy of charging $4000 a year for full-day kindergarten; but there is no predicting what might start a media circus.

Other than the cost to parents, the most controversial aspect of the plan seems to be the requirement that students must purchase an Apple Macbook.  This Q&A put out by the administration attempts to answer this, and many of of the other questions swirling around this program.

6/17 UPDATE:  The story has now spread around the world, as evidenced by these reports from as far away as the Netherlands:

Se obliga a comprar MacBook a los estudiantes de Massachusett 
Beverly High verplicht leerlingen tot aankoop MacBook
En Massachusetts se obliga a comprar MacBook a los estudiantes

In Brazil, the story has even been translated to be happening in Beverly Hills.