by guest blogger Mike Bock
The 1-to-1 computing movement took another blow Wednesday as a Los Angeles initiative failed to pass through a budgetary oversight committee, just a week after an ambitious 1-to-1 proposal was repealed by voters in Idaho.
The 694,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District will not start the initiative to buy tablet computers for every student in the district, as education officials rejected Superintendent John Deasy's request for $17 million to fund the program. Despite earning seven votes from the ten-person committee, eight votes were needed to pass the proposal, which was the first phase in a technology initiative that would eventually bring tablets to every student in the district.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Deasy proposed funding a pilot program for the tablet initiative by using funds from the Measure Y initiative, a bond created from a temporary half-cent sales tax bump recently approved by voters. However, much of the revenue had already been earmarked for the construction of a preschool, causing some members of the Bond Oversight Committee to balk at the idea. From The Los Angeles Times:
Tom Rubin, a consultant to the BOC, said several members expressed concern about diverting money from the early-education center, while others questioned whether bond revenue could be used to buy computer tablets and to install wireless technology at schools.
Despite the growing popularity of 1-to-1 tablet programs, Deasy has taken a lot of criticism for his big tablet push, including in this op-ed published in The Los Angeles Times. Deasy's proposal also drew the ire of various Internet commenters, whose reactions have ranged from skeptical "Can anyone cite a valid scientific study that proves "tablets" will markedly improve Johnny's ability to read or add?" to the vaguely depressing "This is stupid! We need money for educations not pieces of crap!"