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Massachusetts High School Forces Students to Buy MacBooks

White MacBookIn theory, it's a noble public initiative to provide every high school student with the latest, high-tech laptops. What's not so noble, though, is to make every kid pay for it themselves.

As of September 2011, every student attending Beverly High School in Massachusetts will be required to have their own MacBook as part of a district-wide campaign to modernize classroom technology. According to the Salem News, though, parents will be forced to fork out the money from their own wallets. Even if a student already has her own laptop, she'll have to get a new one unless she already has a Mac. As superintendent James Hayes says, "We have one platform. And that's going to be the Mac."

Beverly High will offer to lease MacBooks to students who can't afford their own, with the option to buy them after three years. But it'll still cost families about $20 to $25 per month, including free tech support. Should a student choose not to participate, he or she can still borrow a laptop during the day, but will not be able to bring it home.

While Hayes promises that the school will offer financial assistance to households who really can't swing a new MacBook, it's appalling that he would even put families in a position where they'd have to make such a decision. Besides, we're not sure that Hayes has really taken into consideration all of the social ramifications his initiative could have. We don't know how socio-economically diverse Beverly High's student body is, but if there's even a handful of students who have to walk around with school-issued, barcoded laptops, they would be instantly differentiable from those whose families are rich enough to purchase their own. Does Hayes really want to institutionalize another schoolyard status symbol? The superintendent's intentions may be well-founded, but his plan of execution seems painfully shortsighted. [From: SalemNews, via: Geekosystem]

Tags: Apple, apple macbook, AppleMacbook, BeverlyHighSchool, computers, education, finance, HighSchool, laptops, macbook, money, policy, school, schools, SchoolSupplies, technology, top