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An iPod For Every Kid In Michigan

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the kids-today-i-tell-ya dept.

Media (Apple) 333

mikesd81 writes "Over at C|Net there is an article about Michigan spending $38 million to distribute an iPod to every kid, for learning purposes. From the article: 'On Thursday, House Democrats delivered a spending bill that includes the idea of putting $38 million worth of public funds toward outfitting every student with a digital music player.' The plan included measures to tax soda and satellite TV services to pay for it, among other things, to raise funds. If you recall, Duke University tried something like this with mixed results. How financially strained will Michigan residents feel about paying higher taxes to buy someone else's kid an iPod?"

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Attn. Linux Users (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644785)

Q: Why does 'Open Source' software suck so bad?
A: Because the programmers can't see the screen [ukdirtypanties.com]

lol

Typical Linux User. [ukdirtypanties.com]

Oh, and FIRST POST, faggos.
GNAA 4 LYFE

really? (4, Insightful)

sam.thorogood (979334) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644787)

Please allow me to contribute the obligatory "yes, because blackboards and chalk have clearly failed us" response.

Re:really? (0)

MidnightBrewer (97195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645327)

The problem is, nobody's yet figured out a way to make 30 copies and then take the blackboards home with them. It's not like audio lectures are a new thing here, plus there's that whole "saving paper" idea.

Re:really? (5, Insightful)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645511)

Observationally, as a teacher I would like to suggest that the kids could try these revolutionary ideas instead:

Take notes.
Read their textbooks.
Email the teacher (my kids do this one a lot)
Actually pay attention.

I see this as giving the kids a device they won't use for the purpose intended (for the most part anyway), and as just another silly idea from the Ivory Tower folks. This won't save one ream of paper IMHO. Schools burn through paper like you wouldn't believe.

Re:really? (1)

Gigaflynn (1008043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645569)

this is the maddest idea ever to come out of capital hill
honestly, do they seriously think kids will use these to study
anyways, i think poor kids'll just sell them (no offense meant if you are poor)

Re:really? (1)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645689)

This is a state thing not national. I agree with you... there is a 0% probability that this will work.

Umm.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644801)

Why not spend the money on text books or library books or classrooms or teachers? Or all four?

You have got to be kidding.. (5, Interesting)

ari wins (1016630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645161)

Living in Michigan, I can tell you I was shocked to read this. We're currently facing a multi-hundred million budget deficeit (400+ iirc), and this actually stayed in? They're closing schools all over the state, our single-business tax has expired, so they're trying to get another gas tax added on (costing 3cents/gal. for 3 years for a total of an additional 9/gal), and Granholm has been trying to get an "entertainment" tax in place, meaning taxes on movies, video games, etc. etc. Our "sin" tax seemingly goes up yearly, meaning when I moved back up here from TN. I went from paying under $3/pack of smokes to over $5. Granted, that's not as high as some metropolitan areas, but the cost of living is no where NEAR those places, therefore neither are the wages.

Frankly, I'm saddened by it. We used to have some of the best roads in the nation, and now I can't drive to work without wondering when my suspension is going to fail. It's not even a matter of avoiding the potholes, you actually have to avoid entire roads. Now you're telling me every little bastard in school is going to get an ipod? What about my nephew, who attends a private charter school? We pay property taxes, even though he doesn't attend public schools, and now you're going to tell me I have to foot the bill for this?

I only wish Granholm hadn't been the lesser of two evils this prior election. On the bright side, however, she's done a great job turning the strengths of our states into our weaknesses, while also driving businesses (Lifesavers, Johnson Controls, numerous others) out of the area. What's next?

Re:You have got to be kidding.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645395)

Same here! I plan on writing my state representative about this! It's insane. We're in a deep budget crisis and they want to buy kids iPods? What genius came up with that idea? I can think of a million other more useful things schools need. How exactly will these iPods be used for educational purposes? Books on tape? lol Seriously.. If they want the kids to be able to transport files to and from school, why not USB flash drives? Why do they need a freakin' iPod?

If the state does this, they'd better buy some of us tax paying adults an iPod too! I work for a living, pay taxes, and I don't even have the extra cash laying around for one.

This is pure stupidity!

Re:You have got to be kidding.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645433)

There's no such thing as a private charter school in Michigan.

Re:Umm.. (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645469)

Well, the idea is that they'll be used kind of like text books, I guess.

WRT to teachers, of course that's the best and surest way to improve education. Lower class size. If class size wasn't important than the elite in this country wouldn't be sending their kids to prep schools where classes are four or five students sitting around a table with a teacher.

While increasing the number of qualified teaches is almost a surefire way of improving education, it's also the most expensive. Since it's the most expensive thing you deal with, often money is well spent just to improve the effectiveness of our use of teacher time. This means hiring aides to handle non-teaching chores, specialists in math and reading and so forth.

My attitude toward something like this is like my attitude towards an Iraq troop surge: the idea itself is neither nor good nor bad, it depends on whether you have a credible plan to use them. I'm not saying that the iPod idea is a good one, but it is not necessarily bad. Just because iPods are a lot of fun doesn't mean they can't be used as serious educational tools. If money is tight, then creative ideas for marginal improvements are actually more worth looking at. If we were swimming in dough, the answer to the best use of our dough would be simple: reduce class sizes.

I have a feeling that the idea will go down in flames, because the public instinct is exactly the opposite. When we're flush, we might consider something like this. When money is tight, we obsess about things we can't afford.

Re:Umm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645827)

What are you basing your assertion that lower class size == better result? That's been shown time and time again not to be the case. You need look no further than class sizes in countries that consistently demonstrate a better academic result by focusing on academics rather than "social studies." Chicago Math, anyone?

You might not even have to go outside the borders to do it. Private and parochial schools produce better educated students with large class sizes, *and* for less money than public schools.

The problem is the mis-guided policies and curriculum of the government-controlled public schools - not the size of the classes.

#permission to mod down for insufficiently leftist sentiment approved

Re:Umm.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645515)

I'm all against this OiPC (one iPod per child) program, as those poor starving kids should at least get more food and clean soda before being equipped with free Xboxes and iPods.

Re:Umm.. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645657)

Teacher wages aren't that big of a problem here. Michigan has been in the top ten of states ranked based on wages for a long time, and almost the top based on benefits. I know several teachers in my private life too, and they aren't hurting by any stretch of the imagination. The biggest complaint is really bone-headed educational policies and bone-headed administration.

Re:Umm.. (2, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645727)

Its called bread and circuses. The Democrats must be real desperate to get re-elected in Michigan.

Who will monitor the usage? (5, Insightful)

ShadowFalls (991965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644805)

It is hard to see how they could keep these iPods from being used for purposes other than educational. Who pays for stolen ones or broken ones? Some parents can't afford one to give to their kids on their own, to replace one would be atrocious. In the end, this is just more politicians wasting time on things that do not really matter instead of focusing on the things that do.

obligatory (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644809)

I for one welcome our 640k michigan kids on a ipod wheel lords... taxsuckers. -- samsung yp-u1 2gb, snap!

This is a horrible idea. (5, Insightful)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644825)

Or, at least, it is a horrible idea unless I can manage to be declared eligible.

Seriously, how about spending the millions of dollars on teachers? I just can't see any real requirement for a DAP for educational purposes. Want the students to be able to listen to lectures as home? Put MP3's on the school website and let students listen to them at the computer or put them on their own DAP. Need students to be able to listen to audio on their own while in class? 30 million dollars buys a lot of blank CD-R's, and CD players are a hell of a lot less expensive than iPods.

30 million dollars also buys a hell of a lot of teacher bonuses. IMNSHO, Investing in teachers will have more of a benefit than whatever hair brained scheme they have cooked up for the iPods.

Re:This is a horrible idea. (5, Insightful)

PhoenixAtlantios (991132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644863)

It's sad that I managed to decipher IMNSHO without pausing to process it, even though I've never seen it before. The Internet has corrupted me =(

I have to agree with the idea of investing money in teachers instead of the students though. Plans to give students free iPods and PSPs just seem to be extremely short sighted, as when given the choice between working and playing games/music I'm fairly sure I know which one most teenagers would choose. Giving the teachers laptops, maybe giving them Broadband for free at home, etc. would likely have a more beneficial effect on learning.

Re:This is a horrible idea. (5, Informative)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645273)

I have to agree with the idea of investing money in teachers instead of the students though.

I am so tired of hearing about how underpaid teachers are. It's like a mantra that people just repeat and repeat without giving a whole lot of thought to. While it holds true for private schools, public school teachers have it pretty good.

Teachers' salaries in Michigan are among the highest in the nation at an average $54,474/year. And that's with an average education just slightly higher than a B.A.. In my area the state university's Teacher's College has the lowest average SAT & GPA of all of the programs in the school.

In addition, they only work 9 months out of the year and have every weekend, holiday and summer off. If a teacher chooses to work the entire year (teaching summer school), like most of us, he/she would make $72K. Add the excellent bennies that most public school employees have and I have a hard time shedding too many tears for them.

Re:This is a horrible idea. (3, Informative)

rbannon (512814) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645401)

I work in a state funded school where 65% (contact hours) of the teaching is done by very low paid part-timers. To give you an idea of how low paid, a typical course is $1,500 (maximum $2,250) for a four month semester. These teachers are not given any benefits and can be fired at any time. Salaries at my school are only reported for full-timers, so wages may seem high. Yes, I know teachers who are making more than $100,000! Yikes, that hurts, especially when my take home pay after 20 years is less than $400/week (I'm tenured and full time). I am also highly qualified, with an MS (engineering) from an Ivy League school.

So please stop looking at what your government wants to tell you about teacher wages --- they're only reporting full-timers!

-rB

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645429)

Actually I got my info from the American Federation of Teachers. Sorry, it's a pdf [aft.org] .

Re:This is a horrible idea. (2, Funny)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645313)

It's sad that I managed to decipher IMNSHO without pausing to process it, even though I've never seen it before. The Internet has corrupted me =(
You think that's bad? In the past couple weeks, I instantly deciphered GMAFB and GAS (in the context of guitar/bass players). I think I need a break.

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644895)

Its an interesting idea.

If some of the free content producers (podcasters etc) got their act together and offered content as well as the paid content producers, it might take off.

I'm in favour of audio teaching material. My son is accustomed to listening to audio lectures and books whilst playing his games now. It's not perfect, but as an extra to his normal studies it seems to work.

Unfortunately its likely that this will turn out to be yet another idealised liberal concept that fails in the face of cold hard reality, perpetuated for several years in spite of obvious failure in order to delay collapse so the people who organised it can save face.

too pessimistic?

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644937)

Even if it fails its not that big of a deal. Its actually pretty cool.
Lets face it, 30 odd million is pocket change for the government.

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645257)

This is not a federal budget. It is a state budget.

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1)

Punch-Drunk Slob (973904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644907)

What's so horrible about this [improveverywhere.com] ?

Re:This is a horrible idea. (5, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644939)

This is a horrible idea. Seriously, how about spending the millions of dollars on teachers?

You could spend the money on teachers, but will this give your kids THE BEST MUSIC PLAYER in the world? I don't think so.
Everyone could come up with the idea of giving the teachers money. But we have to DARE to be DIFFERENT. This is what distinguishes a follower from a leader. Are you a follower or a leader?

So, I think it's an INCREDIBLE IDEA. It's the BEST. IDEA. IN THE WORLD. EVER.

And that's nothing, EVERY KID IN AMERICA should have an iPod. Hell, every kid in the world should have one. Why spend all this money on inventing and producing OLPC, when iPod is here. Does OLPC even have headphones? Does it have a clickwheel? NO, it has a keyboard. Keyboards ARE BORING.

I know it, you know it, and the children know it: THIS is what really iPod is: raising the IQ of the children!

- Steve J.

Sniff...Sniff.... (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645187)

Is that....sarcasm that I smell?

Fortunately, in this case, I think that treating this idea with anything other than sarcasm lends it too much credit. All politics aside. I'm not bashing it - it really is a stupid idea.

How about the Pennsylvania Fund for Broke College Students who are holding their source code server together with duct tape and prayer? Namely, me. If they get music players, I demand that I be upgraded to an opteron at tax payers expense.

Re:Sniff...Sniff.... (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645255)

Namely, me. If they get music players, I demand that I be upgraded to an opteron at tax payers expense.

You clearly aren't after the BEST. Why have run-of-the-mill Opteron? They have just couple of cores. Nowadays, couple of cores is like a pocket calculator. Especially to Ruby on Rails.

You don't have money for THE BEST? Then you have even less money for THE WORST, so THIS EIGHT CORE MAC PRO [apple.com] is the PERFECT machine for this, or any, purpose. It's created ESPECIALLY FOR HOLDING SOURCE CODE, by our top engineers.

You don't just want it, you NEED IT. Treat yourself eight cores, and do it NOW, as next year we're releasing the 16 core Mac Pro and this one will be like a pocket calculator to it.

- Steve J.

Good point! (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645315)

I was trying to be economical... That, and a mile down the road at work I have a dual processor, dual core, dual logical core Xeon 5000 1U. So, I have 8 logical cores...but, alas, you are correct; that isn't 8 physical cores. And I need a machine that reviews couldn't peg in benchmarking! Why, how else, could I keep my code safe? I'm going to write my representative immediately! Thank you, kind sir! I salute your sarcasm! :)

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645565)

You could spend the money on teachers, but will this give your kids THE BEST MUSIC PLAYER in the world? I don't think so.
Everyone could come up with the idea of giving the teachers money. But we have to DARE to be DIFFERENT. This is what distinguishes a follower from a leader. Are you a follower or a leader?

So, I think it's an INCREDIBLE IDEA. It's the BEST. IDEA. IN THE WORLD. EVER.

And that's nothing, EVERY KID IN AMERICA should have an iPod. Hell, every kid in the world should have one. Why spend all this money on inventing and producing OLPC, when iPod is here. Does OLPC even have headphones? Does it have a clickwheel? NO, it has a keyboard. Keyboards ARE BORING.

I know it, you know it, and the children know it: THIS is what really iPod is: raising the IQ of the children!

- Steve J.


How much do you want to bet that this guy is a kid from Michigan?

Re:This is a horrible idea. (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645575)

Hi Im senator lumpy and I am looking for support for the "give america grilles bill S158774-2". Children all over are forced to go out in public without a grille in their mouth causing ridicule and low self esteem. Giving every child in america a grille will help their education.

Wont you think of the children? Call your Senators and Represenatives and say you support S158774-2.

BTW: ignore the minor text at the back that says the bill also invokes martial law in the USA.

Thank you and God bless america!

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1)

gafisher (865473) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645147)

http://www.recallgranholm.com/ [recallgranholm.com] is one reaction for about 75% of Michigan. The state's schools have fallen behind almost as badly as its economy under "Generous Genny" Granholm's governance, but now that her Party has control of the State House her solution to every problem has been to tax what's left of Michigan's worst-in-the-nation economy to pay for a spending spree Louis XIV never dreamed of.

It might be possible to defend supplying MP3 players, even iPods, to some students if those players were used to store lectures, language practice, famous speeches, even music lessons for those in related classes, but now that it's come to light that these are/were to be iPod Shuffle players, which present content in random order, even the most liberal interpretation of this proposal falls apart.

However, even if this was a really good idea, it's just not defensible to throw an untried ed-tech experiment into a public school system that trails the nation despite above average per-pupil spending in a state that's expelling businesses and seeing taxpayers drop out as badly -- and as quickly -- as is happening in Michigan.

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645283)

30 million dollars also buys a hell of a lot of teacher bonuses.

I think the problem is that the PO's already been signed, so the teachers would have to take their bonuses in iPods.

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645471)

Investing in teachers will have more of a benefit
I agree, but it's harder to do something like raise salaries or benefits, since that requires perpetual funding. While I understand you said "bonuses", which wouldn't require additional funding, with that scheme you need someone to establish bonus performance criteria, then someone to collect and monitor the performance, and someone to issue the bonuses (after providing reports to all concerned parties), and someone to provide oversight — that's probably enough work for a small-to-medium sized administrative consulting company, which will either cost more money (nowhere near $38M, granted), or decrease the bonus pool substantially.

I did not RTFA, but I hope that it uses "iPod" as a euphemism for DAP. I see no compelling reason to pay the premium for an iPod when a variety of equivalent (for this purpose) players are available for less money. Unless, of course, Apple is offering some kind of educational discount, but it would have to be pretty hefty to make the iPod a compelling choice.

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1)

bbernard (930130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645531)

Has anybody checked the local economy in Michigan lately? Let's look at the pillars of their industry.

1. Paper industry. This one has been on the way out for about a decade at least. Fortunately, they've laid off about everyone they can already.
2. Chrysler/Ford/General Motors. Survey anybody who works for one of these companies, or for any of the thousands of companies that were built to do business with them, and I doubt you'll see too many of them who think they'll have jobs within the next 5 years.
3. Pharmasuticals. Well yes, these companies are, in general, doing ok. However, they've been pulling out of Michigan for some time now.

All this leads to the question: When there's not enough jobs for people in the state, and you can't sell your home because nobody is moving into Michigan (unless it's a cabin in the woods) so you can't afford to leave, are you really going to believe that the best use of your tax dollars is buying every kid a music player?

For crying out loud Michigan! Figure out how to create some jobs, not how to isolate kids by ensuring they don't ever talk or interact with others because they've got ear-buds in all day.

I'll get off my soap box now.

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645549)

I live in Michigan, I have a child in the school system and I can tell you, its horrible. So bad that last year I pulled her and put her into a private school even though we cant afford it. I live in one of the best rated school districts in Michigan and the schools suck. The kids run rampant, the level of education is horrible. They spend money on silly crap instead of competent teachers and are more interested in consumerism than education.

Biggest problem is the schools that pay the most don't have the best teachers, they get the oldest teachers. The ones that are more interested in retirement than teaching. MY daughter had in 7th grade 3 teachers that basically did nothing their entire last year so the kids learned nothing. And let metell you the ratio of teachers that actually care abou the kids education drops drastically as you get closer to that retirement age.

Unfortunately the real teachers that care about kids and their education are in the inner city schools and low paying schools. The ones that took a job that paid slightly better than Burger-King and has to deal with school violence are there for the kids and their education. Because private schools typically dont have the Tenure crap and do not tolerate union garbage the teachers have to do their job and educate. Because they also have far smaller classes they can accelerate the smarter ones and do things that the public schools cant. This year the kids in the physics class will be going to Great America, before riding any ride they have to calculate the G forces and rates of acceleration as well as angular forces of each ride, bonus points for calculating the KW energy needed for each to run as well.

Re:This is a horrible idea. (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645795)

before riding any ride they have to calculate the G forces and rates of acceleration as well as angular forces of each ride, bonus points for calculating the KW energy needed for each to run as well.
Oh that's so cute! You actually believe they're going to do it.

Finally! (0, Flamebait)

Yoozer (1055188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644831)

Oh well, this proves that Microsoft is not the only one that can buy politicians. :)

Ye gods, I've rarely heard an idea that's more stupid. Now, if these were OLPCs... but that'd mean Michigan would be a developing part of the country.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644921)

So you've never been to Detroit?

Re:Finally! (2, Interesting)

sharperguy (1065162) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645039)

I think OLPC's would be a great idea. They are actually cheaper than iPods (and many other DAP's) and as long as you buy 1M+ of them then there's no reason why you can't. They would be much more usefull in education and since thats what they were designed for, as opposed to entertainment, it might seems much more worthwhile paying for them.

Is it really Apple iPods? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645229)

Oh well, this proves that Microsoft is not the only one that can buy politicians. :)

TFA is very light on verifiable facts. It links to an editorial, not a news article. I dug arounbd for a while but couldn't find what the proposers of this idea actually said, only those attacking them.

But one thing, it does say "MP3 player or iPod". This could very likely mean that "iPod" is being used as a generic term; like "walkman", "hoover", kleeenx", as just meaning a kind of hardware despite their being trademarks. Apple may get a look in, but if it goes through it could easily be some generic MP3 player with low-end specs.

I'm sorry, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644833)

If books and chalk boards produced the morons in the legislature that would consider giving iPods to kids for learning purposes, then I can't wait to see what this generation does? Idiocracy?

Can you please send $38 million dollars to our libraries and schools for books and pencils? Also, can you please give a raise to teachers who are the architects for the upcoming generation?

Re:I'm sorry, what? (3, Insightful)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645659)

soapbox mode is on

Er.. no. How many billions more dollars must be wasted on the 'education system' before people realize throwing money at it does no good - including pay for teachers.

The AFT teacher salary survey for the 2004-05 school year found that the average teacher salary was $47,602
Note that in 2005 the median household income was $46,300. [we'll assume teacher salaries are not so widely dispersed that the mean is a fair estimate of the median] Teachers get a tremendous benefits package and do not work a full year. The students educated before electronic blackboards, computers in every class, class size under 20, (insert stupid education metric here) managed to graducate high school and go on to such things as developing quantum mechanics, various field theories, nuclear weapons, man on moon, space probes,.... And until you actually pay for the little rugrats education by owning a property you will never fully understand just how much it costs. My latest assessment results in local school taxes in excess of the full year tuition at the state college. And before you claim the college is subsidized, so is the local school system. The system is horribly broke and it is time turn back the clock and revert to what once worked very well (note to parents: this might also include getting the balls to disciplining your child).

Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644845)

Right, they give thousands of Ipods out to people who can't use them. Now, if you give someone an ipod who can't afford one, do you think they'll have enough money to buy music to put on it? NO!

They're all gonna swap CDs amongst themselves and piracy is going to sky rocket.

This idea is absolutely atrocious, they're making their children criminals! (I'm saying nothing about whether swapping music is morally right or wrong)

Some points (4, Informative)

Lurker McLurker (730170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644855)

  • First of all, the taxes aren't just to pay for the music players, they are for a number of measures.
  • Secondly, the story doesn't specifiy it'll be ipods, just a digital audio player. Given the more reasonably-priced audio players around, they'd be idiots to pick Apple's trendy but pricey players.
  • I think digital audio players could be very useful in an educational context, but current copyright law will probably render them useless. You need to be able to put useful content on these devices. This could end up being very expensive.
  • The person who wrote the cnet story is called Erica Ogg.

Re:Some points (2, Insightful)

wizzahd (995765) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644949)

they'd be idiots to pick Apple's trendy but pricey players.

On Thursday, House Democrats delivered a spending bill
Hm..

Re:Some points (4, Insightful)

tidewaterblues (784797) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645001)

Lucky for me I happen to be a Michigan resident living in a strained economic area. I can attest fully that this idea is beyond moronic in our current economic climate.

I work in higher education IT, and I have a fair idea about what does and does not work in the classroom. This is yet another example of people believing that throwing technology at students will make them learn better. We have done this on a grand national scale to the tune of billion of dollars in various programs, and so far it has not had a measurable impact. Where I work we just had one of the major DOE education program spends thousands of dollars on an enormous wide-format printer for underprivileged students. So that they can print posters. Posters. In college. This is their idea of a sound technological investment in education. Not to mention that we already had one just like it.

The fact of the matter is that no one "gets it" when it comes to technology in the classroom. An until they do, crap like this will keep creeping into legislation. The only silver lining about this is that there is no way in hell the governor will sign this measure into law.

Re:Some points (1)

JonASterg (1003391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645449)

Parent brings up an excellent point: throwing technology at students will not necessarily enable greater learning. At my university, a few professors started using tablet PCs during lectures to assess the effectiveness of the technology (as opposed to using PowerPoint, blackboards, overhead projectors) in a teaching environment. I participated in the study in 3 of my courses. The overwhelming consensus is that the technology was effective IF AND ONLY IF the professor is well versed in how to use it. Mind you, these were all upper level and graduate courses in engineering; the professors were not unfamiliar with high technology. I believe this sort of funding would be better spent on increased science/math/engineering courses in public schools. Teach the children theory and ideas which further future technological development and stimulate their minds. Get them interested in learning - fund hands-on science courses, interesting niche computer/robotics courses (my high school did this), and/or pay teachers more competitive wages to attract a higher caliber of educator (Michigan may already have excellent teachers, I am not saying that they don't). Please don't spend the money on a piece of equipment that a large portion of the student body will end up using as a toy instead of as a tool.

Re:Some points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645693)

Yeah I've lived in Berrien County Michigan for 27 years in a few months. As I'm sure most of you aren't aware it happens to house one of the most dangerous ghettos in the USA and for most of my life held the highest murder rate per capita. The school system here is a joke, no two ways about it, and during her recent 4 year reign our dingbat Governor didn't make a single f'in' thing better.

You assume she won't sign this into law? If she doesn't it's because the bill isn't stupid enough, she's probably also going to want to tack on more relief for single mothers or maybe free spinners for city buses.

It's not so amusing when 1/4th of your paycheck goes to all the whores, 1/3rd of your check goes to the feds, cigarettes are $6 a pack, gas is $2 a gallon and we have the highest unemployment rate of any state in the union. Most jobs are 15+ miles away so a bike is out of the question and I dare you to not go insane here without taking in a drug 20-30 times a day.

My county has several thousand unemployed - try finding a decent job here.

Hell, just be glad on any given day it's just the state that's robbing you at gunpoint and not your neighbor.

Just pointless bitching? Private schools are $2000 a semester. Public schools are $7000 a semester. One breeds intelligent people, the other breeds sub-literate, barely functioning adults. The problem isn't funding, the problem is bureaucracy and inefficiency. Neither the reds nor the blues have any f'in' idea on how to fix this, just retarded ideas like music players and after this makes zero effect, they'll just throw more money at the schools.

You have some faith in our Governor. So do I; I think she's too inept to qualify as the anti-Christ despite her best efforts.

Re:Some points (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645829)

Lucky for me I happen to be a Michigan resident living in a strained economic area.
That's lucky? Woah! Will you be appearing on those World Vision ads before you call yourself mildly unlucky?

Re:Some points (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645053)

First of all, the taxes aren't just to pay for the music players, they are for a number of measures.

To successfully fund all these measures via taxing sat TV and soda, a new TV spot was created with a tagline "Be a patriot: drink soda and watch sat TV".

The budget for this TV spot will be funded from the income from sat TV and soda taxes as well. This way it makes sense.

Tag story with "Democrats" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644857)

Tag story with "Democrats"

Whispered in their ear (3, Funny)

friend.ac (1071626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644869)

Do you think the RIAA lobbied Michigan for the free ipods? I believe they need some more cash..

"Here you go young child, here's a free ipod, can't pay for music on it? Don't worry - HA HA HA"

Rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of suing all those kids..

Great (3, Funny)

adona1 (1078711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644879)

Now if only someone can write an adding & subtracting game for the PS3, I can start lobbying politicians here to subsidise those...for educational purposes =)

In fact, the Wii promotes physical fitness as well, so they'd better give us one of them too. [It might seem weird to give us a game of a sport rather than encouraging us to actually do said sport, but it's not. It's progress =)]

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644889)

One word:

Why?

digital music player =/= iPod (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644917)

An iPod For Every Kid In Michigan

FTFA: "On Thursday, House Democrats delivered a spending bill that includes the idea of putting $38 million worth of public funds toward outfitting every student with a digital music player."

I don't know how you get "iPod" out of "digital music player." Anyone else think the OP is a troll for Apple?

Just so we're all clear, digital music player =/= iPod, paper tissue =/= Kleenex and self-adhesive bandage =/= Band-aid.

Re:digital music player =/= iPod (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645253)

Just so we're all clear, digital music player =/= iPod, paper tissue =/= Kleenex and self-adhesive bandage =/= Band-aid.

Although trademark dilution might seem to be a problem for their owners, Apple, Kimberly-Clark and Johnson & Johnson are crying all the way to the bank. I'll let them fight that battle, and I'll try to stop people from calling me 'Bob'.

Re:digital music player =/= iPod (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645677)

Well, the CNet article does mention iPods by name, as does the Detroit Free Press article. So while they do also use the more generic terms "digital music player" and "MP3 player", it does seem that at least someone over that has begun leaning towards the Apple device.

BTW, correct me if I am wrong (I don't own an iPod, I went for the cheaper and more technologically advanced iAudio x5), but iPods can't record audio, can they? Since one of the supposed benefits I keep on hearing about is that they can record lectures, wouldn't the iPod be a very bad choice? Wouldn't they be better off purchasing cheaper (though outdated) $20 cassette recorders?

won't happen (1)

raind (174356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644943)

For one Michigan has a deficit officially at 940 million, probably north of 1 billion. Also the Republicans control the senate, this will never pass.

Re:won't happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645019)

> Republicans control the senate, this will never pass.

Oh, so that's why they're doing it -- so that after it fails, the Democrats can use that issue as a way to get the young people's vote in the next election.

Re:won't happen (1)

raind (174356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645183)

Wasn't thinking of it like that, just stating a fact. But now that you mention it the Dems will probably do just that.

... higher taxes to buy someone else's kid ... (4, Insightful)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644945)

They'll probably feel the same way that they do about paying higher taxes to give someone else's kid a better education, or some else's parents a better senior center, or the people on a different street a better sidewalk...

Part of being a community is pooling resources in to help others. Even if you don't have any children of your own, for example, someone paid for your schooling, and when you're an adult you pay it back.

Of course, then there are the endless arguments about exactly how this money should be spent...

Re:... higher taxes to buy someone else's kid ... (1)

ystar (898731) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645245)

Considering this is a democratic society, what if they feel that this simply is a fruitless approach to bettering education? I certainly would feel that way, but I wouldn't mind if taxes went up 3-5% for (what I deem as) *valid* educational efforts.

Re:... higher taxes to buy someone else's kid ... (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645373)

Considering this is a democratic society...
You got it in one. If the people don't like it, in a democratic society they get to elect someone the think can do a better job. I think if I were in an economically depressed state, I'd be looking for the state government to pour tons into eduction. Into teachers, school buildings and technology. If they economy is depressed they need a highly motivated, well educated workforce in an area with otherwise low costs.

I don't really think I can comment on whether this individual idea is good or not, because I don;t know what other proposals their state government has to improve education. If they think iPods alone with fix things then the state is in deep trouble. If, on the other hand, they're proposing a series of measures to raise overall attainment then I wish them the very best of luck and would encourage state residents to do everything they can to support the plan and make it work.

Re:... higher taxes to buy someone else's kid ... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645623)

How very communist of you. Why cant I give money to MY schools directly instead of being taxed? Honestly the schools in detriot would do better by making only detriot residents money go to detriot schools and so on. Yes that means that rural areas will have to pool schools instead of having a nice huge high school, middle school and grade school for their 300 students.

I am tired of paying money to the "community good" and watching it go to someplace else instead of my neighborhood, my schools, my community.

I sit here with a pothole the size of a car in front of my house for the past year, why dont my taxes fix that damn thing? No they went to Saginaw or Yipsilanti or the tiny town of freesoil that really should not exist as it can not sustain it's self without everyone else paying for it.

I am tired of financing other people towns. I am tired of paying for other People problems that they should take care of. While I watch my neighborhood deteriorate and my good money is being wasted elsewhere.

$920 million deficit means more spending, right? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644957)

Consider this:

- the state of Michigan currently has a fiscal year 2007 budget of $920 million
- the state government has been instructed to prepare for a shutdown this may due to lack of funds
- next year's budget deficit is estimated to be more than $1 billion due to the single-business tax repeal that hasn't been replaced
- Gov. Granholm has proposed higher taxes (a 2% tax on services) to cover part of the current deficit

Combined with the problems of the Big 3 automakers (GM, Ford, Chrysler) that's been causing most of the economic slump in this area, the state legislatures have got to be daft to propose more spending on such silly projects. Now is the time for spending cuts, not increased spending!

The state has been trying to convince students to stay in the state following graduation; I for one will run out of this state as fast as I can once I graduate in a few months (PhD in Aerospace Engineering). There is no way I want to stick around and see the state legislature and governor make the state economy even worse than it is.

Re:$920 million deficit means more spending, right (1)

theuedimaster (996047) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645033)

Don't you understand man? You wanting to get out of Michigan as fast as you can, which has been the trend for highly educated students coming out of Michigan Universities, is a big reason for why Michigan is going down the tubes. If you really care about our state, you would stay and do your part in trying to bring back economic prosperity to the region. I for one am sick and tired of all my fellow college students ranting about how they want to escape Michigan as fast as they can... don't they feel some sort of responsibility or compassion for the state in which they were brought up?

Re:$920 million deficit means more spending, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645109)

You wanting to get out of Michigan as fast as you can, which has been the trend for highly educated students coming out of Michigan Universities, is a big reason for why Michigan is going down the tubes.

Umm, no. Try the downturn in manufacturing (auto industry anyone?).

If you really care about our state, you would stay and do your part in trying to bring back economic prosperity to the region. I for one am sick and tired of all my fellow college students ranting about how they want to escape Michigan as fast as they can... don't they feel some sort of responsibility or compassion for the state in which they were brought up?

I don't care for Michigan more than any other state; in fact, I probably detest it. I wasn't raised here, and this is the first time I've lived here. The experience has been...less than desirable. I have no intentions of staying in a state in such disarray. I came here for an advanced degree from a good university (with tuition through the roof, by the way), but once I'm done, I'm gone.

mnb Re:$920 million deficit means more spending, r (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645767)

True happiness come from what is within, not what surrounds.

Some problems (2, Interesting)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644965)

I like the concept, but I have a few problems with it.

First of all, why Apple? I love Apple, and I love the iPod, but in many ways, it's a prestige brand, not something that is warranted for a utilitarian purpose such as this. You can easily find as capable and reliable MP3 players for less than half the price of an equivalent iPod. The "wow" factor and ease of integration with iTunes, are both major features of the iPod, and both totally irrelevant to the educational purposes talked about here.

Also, learning is a very visual medium. Unless we're talking about the super expensive video iPods, then the use will be limited to audio and minimal simplistic document reading. (There are other, cheaper devices that do video and documents better/cheaper than a non-video iPod.) Are most textbooks available/suitable/useful for viewing on a 1 inch screen? Wouldn't that involve buying digital copies of all the relevant texts, and additional and unnecessary cost?

Plus, it will disguise music use; "what are you doing, Jimmy?" "Listening to a lecture, ma'am." Meanwhile he's listening to tunes. Like it or not, school kids do need some structure and supervision; this makes it too easy to goof off.

It sounds like someone's trying to seem progressive, and is very misguided.

Re:Some problems (1)

walkie (794662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645045)

First of all, why Apple?

It was a crappy headline, but if you're not going to read the article, at least read the summary. If you're not going to read the summary, at least scan the comments.

Also, learning is a very visual medium.

True, but I still prefer charcoal or watercolor myself.

Ha ha only serious (1)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645495)

You can easily find as capable and reliable MP3 players for less than half the price of an equivalent iPod.

You exaggerate, I think... the Apple Tax is more like 40% than 100%.

More Details... (4, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644969)

"The iPods that will be given away are iPod Shuffle, a light music player that shuffles the songs and plays them randomly", explained a spokesman for the House of Representatives.

"We'll intermix the lectures with the latest pop and hip-hop singles, and the kids will have to put up with listening to lectures randomly so they can play they favorite music. We think it'll be a smashing success.".

Re:More Details... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645093)

gross. What about kids who don't like hip-hop and pop? Having grown up in rural Michigan I know that country music is massively popular, and people who like country tend to dislike hip-hop with a passion.

What stops a kid from hitting the next button the iPod shuffle? Why try to pad the lecture with entertainment? I never believed edutainment actually works.

We're given the choice between tax and spend democrats, and borrow and spend republicans. if you come up with some new plan and show a way to pay for it, at least you're being honest. But why must we pay for everyone's pet project, pay now with taxes or pay later with debt and cuts to important programs.

I'd rather see the money go towards a radio program geared towards education, but with edgy DJs and interesting and relevant topics. Of course you'd have to hire some good marketing consultants to prevent it from being an insulting failure. Or maybe the money could go towards something practical, like books for students, better libraries, improved health care for students, or college financial aid.

It sounds like this was a laptop-per-child idea, but they realized that they could only afford an ipod shuffle per child. would be cooler if iPods could support sharing wirelessly (bluetooth maybe?). then you could play games where you gave students a lecture and one random answer. and they could network with their friends and collect all the answers by sharing them. or whatever.

Re:More Details... (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645119)

I'm sorry that was meant as a joke, I really doubt they plan to do what I said.

Well okay then... (2, Funny)

Viceroy Potatohead (954845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18644979)

House Democrats delivered a spending bill that includes the idea of putting $38 million worth of public funds toward outfitting every student with a digital music player.

So let me get this straight: Apple's next big product is called the iPorkBarrel?

Every student? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645287)

So in kindergarten and below they can be renamed iPoddy? "Look teacher, no hands."

Seriously though, the first song that should be loaded onto all of them should be The Wall [lyricsfreak.com]

Sensationalist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18644989)

Your first hint is that the article is on C|Net. Your second hint is that its primary source is an anonymous editorial. Your third hint is that its secondary source has a single sentence about the proposal.

Re:Sensationalist (2, Funny)

blagooly (897225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645223)

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ [freep.com]
The bill includes the cost savings by releasing 2400 prisoners. They will Not be given iPods. Instead, each will get a confiscated weapon if they promise to move to Ohio.
Not yet made public is a clause that makes Detroit part of Canada. "We are hoping that the change does Detroit good, moving to a new place can have that effect, you know, and Canada is really very nice,really."

I Thought it happened only in India (1)

srujan1.1beta (1081965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645041)

Here they have given television sets and all in election campaigns. US does one better by givin iPods. That too taxing the people for that. Wow Indian politicians have to learn this soon.

Why can't they try something sane for once? (1)

Atriqus (826899) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645153)

I went to school in Michigan from grades k-12. They could barely get millages passed for semi-odd proposals; there's no way this one's going to pass, especially if it's state wide. I can assume that the North (Let's say anything north of Bay City) will be against it. I can't make any assumption about the South. Either way, I'm just imagining all the requests for new ipods because the kid dropped it in the Au Sable river while canoeing. Man does that suck when a canoe trip turns into an underwater scavenging hunt for car keys.

wtf mang (2, Insightful)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645179)

seriously wtf. This is the dumbest idea these policrats are spittin out since i dunno, ever. This money could be used to how about this: pay teachers more. I'm not saying get more teachers. Pay them higher salary. If i was a teacher and i suddenly got more money i would think i would enjoy teaching more. Happy teacher = learned student IMHO. I seriously think the country as a whole should be pumping money into the school system because now its not just the problem of too many people living too long or something and not enuff people putting into social security for each person that is receiving but that there will be too many idiots that cant make enuff money to put money into the system a guess what happens after that! The current generation will have dumb kids that cant support us when we are living way too long! or something like that i dunno maybe i am dumb and dont know how the system works but ranting at 5am is better than sleeping right now i think.

'ey mang! (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645275)

I'm in the same boat - the not sleeping thing, not the rest of the post. Actually, people with low income put all of their money back into the economy. It's not like they're saving it when they're living paycheck to paycheck. And, as it goes, we need people in this country to do manual labor. That's the reality of this world, for better or worse, you fill a place in society whether you want to or not. If the current generation has dumb kids, well, we'll find something for them to do and their paychecks will go back into the economy. If they're all smart kids, we'll use them for research and sell the technology, knowing that not all of their paychecks will go back into the economy as fully. Albiet, a smaller part of a much larger whole in the latter case.

Re:'ey mang! (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645339)

eh, i guess so. But you have to admit that you can argue for both sides of that coin. I think its time for a sangwich.

Re:'ey mang! (2, Insightful)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645391)

oh and one more thing, Why mp3 players! i understand that the goal is to get education to the student but these peeps just got the wrong idea. I say the development of serious games is more promising. Put money into developing games that can be given out to students (cross platform of course) that can help them learn subjects. I am not saying stuff like all the learning crap thats out now which seems to me like they think kids are dumb and need everything in a dumb kiddy theme (i hope you know what i mean by this). Educational games can be so much more than dora the explorer and reader rabbit! Overt education in software doesnt seem to work. You gotta throw some meat in with those veggies! and maybe kick it up a notch with some essence of emeril. BAM!

In soviet russia... (1)

Lord Duran (834815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645233)

The iPod buys YOU!

Incomplete support (4, Insightful)

halalay (1085315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645251)

I expect that teachers will be given one day of training on incorporating the use of iPods into their teaching, provided no other resources or time to do successful incorporation, be blamed when the program flops, and be that much more reluctant to invest themselves in other new and promising tech initiatives in education.

I am a high school info tech teacher in Michigan. Some of my classes are currently working to produce podcasts to help improve their understanding of available resources to support their current and future learning and to increase the range of media that they can communicate through. I have only just heard of the iPod initiative. The research I share with my students shows that good podcasts take planning and use intelligent editing. Class lectures done in podcasts will be of no more value than current hard copy if the students don't listen to or view them.

iPods for learning have potential, but despite the good intentions, it currently is just another top down, half-baked solution to a serious problem. Past experience leads me to be very cynical of tech initiatives for education, not because they can't work, but because they are incompletely supported.

It's the content (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645329)

Ostensibly they're trying to save money on things like textbooks or language labs with tape decks. If that's the case, they should just stop refreshing textbooks for a while until they save enough money to buy an iPod and load it with educational content.

Oh wait, schools hardly refresh textbooks as it is, that wouldn't raise enough money very fast :P

Even then, they often forget that putting an iPod / PDA / laptop in a kids' hands is useless without any specialized content to throw on it, and the support structure to load and maintain that content.

I'd question their decision to use an iPod rather than a more general-purpose PDA, which are cheaper, can run more programs, and still play back music and movies like an iPod, except for the larger screen that PDAs have. ;P

Cool, a second iPod, courtesy of the taxpayers! (3, Insightful)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645347)

As of 2003, there were 52 million school age children in the US (http://usgovinfo.about.com/cs/censusstatistic/a/l atestpopcounts.htm [about.com] ).

As of the end of 2006, there were 42 million iPods sold (http://reviews.cnet.com/4531-10921_7-6416165.html [cnet.com] )

It strikes me that a large percentage of the Michigan school kids probably already have iPods.

I wrote to my representative about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645431)

Despite being an independent that supported Democrats in the last election, I wrote my Republican State Representative and asked him to publicly chastise whoever inserted this into the bill. I also wrote the following to the Democratic House Speaker, Andy Dillon:

"Either you believe MP3 players are more important than plugging the budget hole or you were asleep at the switch when one of your fellow congressman slipped it in. The former makes you look elitist and out of touch with the middle- and lower-class of Michigan, the latter paints you as an impotent speaker.?

The Detroit News also pleasantly surprised me by writing the editorial: "An iPod for every kid? Are they !#$!ing idiots?" at http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2 007704060333&imw=Y/ [detnews.com]

Misguided (3, Informative)

mattr (78516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645457)

Yes this is moronic. They should spend the money on teachers and texts.


On the other hand, even supposing they have plenty of money they still made a bad choice.


Based on my experience with a new video iPod I received as a present:

  • Very hard to use for text. Bad navigational control, no paging, tiny font, must split in tiny chunks with max of IIRC 8MB total, can't display HTML. Even if they hacked Mac OSX into them, hardware wise it is a very bad choice for education.
  • Not robust. Synching while using as hd, often get persistent errors that suggest need to reformat.
  • For target age group, forcing kids to listen to lectures in class probably more effective than expecting them to synch and listen themselves. Though perhaps a library of video interviews by professionals/experts could be very cool! Aim at adults and get them to buy the hardware themselves! Spend the money on content/software (esp. free software programming) and not on hardware, doh!
  • There is a very effective way to use tech in language, and I've been there. Middlebury's summer intensive language program had fabulous IIRC Tandenberg tape recorders you use in a tiny room of your own, with headset/mic and volume controls so you can superimpose your voice on that of the language drill prof on tape. By pressing revers very often you can (I did successfully) build a very good accent. Also Cornell University's Dept. of Modern Languages had similar tape recorders. So you want something with robust hardware buttons like that. maybe a linear slide is okay but the circular one on the video ipod is extremely difficult to use to back up to a place you want to be a few seconds ago, due to both physical configuration and gooiness. Having it digital instead of tape makes no difference with this screen size, though with larger screen you could show frames ever 1 sec into the past and click on one for example. Also power drainage a problem. Also there are cheaper, very tiny mp3 players that work fine with no moving parts or scratch-sensitive coating either.
  • If they went for a cheap ipod shuffle that is just totally dumb. just shuffle again if you hit a lecture.

Excuse me, Michigan (2, Insightful)

Duffie (1085325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645561)

Exactly why has this become our top priority. I've watched from forty miles away as they've closed down Detroit schools and shut that community out more than they already are. Places like Detroit and inner Flint are struggling to even fit the definition of a city in the first world, and now our economic priority is... digital audio players! Oh, yeah. Because we all know that they're going to go home and put on their device scientific podcasts and discussions debating the importance of the Han Dynasty in China. We all know how academically sound students are anyway. THIRTY EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS? We just had an election centered on our business tax and how we can appropriate funds once we remove it. WELL THERE YOU GO. Better yet, let's spend that 38 million reviving the education system to include some kind of motivation and benefit to graduate well. But now. Now teachers and future teachers, like me, will get to hear "Sorry Mrs. Teacher, I didn't do my homework podcast thing because I had to rip cd's onto the ipod." Great job on the priorities, little Jimmy. Your government hath done thineself proud.

Devil's advocacy thread (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645567)

Arts education, particularly music education is something every student should have, and most students need more of.

You can try to stuff more math and language arts training into children, but in most cases the marginal effort would be better spent on music education. Yes, of course we need basic skills in math and writing. But actual fluency in using those skills has a lot in common with music, and we have no better way of training those aspects of functional literacy than music.

My state has rigorous exams in every academic area by which schools are judged (we had this even before No Child Left Behind). My daughter single handed raised her school's math ranking by acing the math exam. She's also an opera nut (bit of a snob actually). The facts are not unrelated. We were not a "Baby Mozart" kind of family, we've just always enjoyed music and we watch opera and musical theater DVDs regularly, just for pleasure.

Some people seem to believe that making schools more effective is equivalent to making them grim, joyless places.

someone elses kid? (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645585)

sfw.. dont forget someone else will be buying *your* kids ipod then. The cost of the ipod will most likely be covered 10 times over by the amount of tax increases the state will gain:

      "..tax soda and satellite TV services, among other things, to raise funds."

They are asking for a 504 discrimination lawsuit! (1)

beetle496 (677137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645639)

By design, but not for technical reasons, the iPod is not accessible to the blind nor the Deaf. Both RockBox [rockbox.org] and VoiceOver [apple.com] demonstrate, independently, paths to solving the first challenge. Captioning for video is an even easier fix [wsj.com] that effects even more people [meryl.net] . Apple only last month made iTunes accessible [macvisionaries.com] .

I wonder if there would be the same type... (3, Insightful)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645769)

...of outrage if the suggestion was to buy MacBooks for every classroom.

Probably not... although, I imagine that 30 years ago, there was probably some resistance to buying kids Apple II's in their schools, with the same old curmudgeon responses, "But the roads stink. We don't need more stuff in schools... bah!!!"

Yes, Michigan roads stink... I always know I've hit the Michigan border when I hear the "kerchunk, kerchunk" every few seconds... you can set a timer to it. Perhaps it's the fact that you guys drive like 90 MPH.

Michigan is in the same dire straights that Ohio is now, but it's not because of Jennifer Granholm or anything the state government did or did not do. The U.S. automobile industry is in the tanker, and the economy of Michigan feeds off of the Big 3. No amount of state intervention (or non-intervention) would have helped the situation. If you can blame anyone, blame our federal government, who has shown little interest in protecting American industries. Michigan is just feeling it's disastrous effects. Of course, political opponents are using this to their advantage. But, does anyone really believe that DeVos would have been able to improve anything?

This single line item in the budget that has everybody so in an uproar won't pass. It can't pass, since the state can't run a deficit like the feds... It sure struck a nerve, but unfairly so, I believe.

Thanks,

Mike

education.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18645811)

Yeah right. Education. In 3 hours these iPods will be filled with that jungle junk hip hop music and there will ghetto dance parties everywhere.

Good grief (1, Flamebait)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18645817)

While the merits of distributing a solid-state audio player to every child are certainly debatable, the idea of supplying iPods is not. Why should Apple receive a state subsidy when there are many less expensive and more capable MP3 players out there? Just so the kids will feel good about themselves? Half of the things will probably be stolen the first week after they're handed out. In any event, this is a complete waste of taxpayer dollars, if the idea is to allow children to receive audio lessons. And no, I didn't RTFA, I just felt the need to spew a random comment.
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