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.Channel 7 also covered the controversy over the weekend.
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.
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.