January 27, 2006

Howze about a new laptop, y'all?

Jeb! proposes free laptop computers to lure teachers to Florida

MIAMI -- Math and science teachers would get extra pay and all Florida public school teachers would get a laptop computer under a proposal announced Monday by Gov. Jeb Bush.

Aimed at luring about 30,000 new teachers to Florida schools and retaining those currently working in the state, the proposal calls for other inducements such as an education minor in state colleges, and more money for college loan reimbursements. (Lakeland Ledger)


By the way, based on numbers compiled by the
National Education Association,
  • Florida ranks 29th in the nation in teacher pay -- about $6000 below the national average.
  • Florida ranks near the bottom of all states--40th out of 50--in the per capita revenue raised for public education.
  • Florida ranks near the bottom of all states--47th of 50 states--in the per capita spending on public education.
  • Public education spending per pupil has declined in Florida. Since 1990, per pupil spending in constant dollars has declined by 8%.
  • Florida ranks 7th worst in the country in the total taxable resources spent on public education. Education spending by the State of Florida and its localities amounts to just 3.3% of its gross state product.
  • Florida ranks near the bottom (43 of 50) in the number of students for each teacher. (Jeb! is now attempting to overturn the class size amendment passed by voters over his strong objection -- and to fulfill his "devious plan" to undermine the amendment's purpose.)
  • Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Florida's schools have at least one inadequate building feature (e.g., roofs, plumbing, electric wiring), and 80% have at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition (e.g., poor air quality, poor heating, too much noise).

So, thank you, Gov'na Jeb! Forget the numbers. Teachers will surely go hog wild just to get their hands on one of them fancy new laptops -- 'specially the ones with color screens and keys to the internets.

Pay no attention to the naysayers like the one who wrote this letter to the editor. It represents the view of many teachers and former teachers I know in the sunshine state:
I was appalled at the article Tuesday about Gov. Bush's plan to give teachers laptops as an incentive. It reminded me of the phrase, "Let them eat cake." Especially appalling was the quote by David Lauer [assistant superintendent of human resource services for Polk schools] saying that the No. 1 thing that would make teachers happy isn't even money. All I can say is that he must be very well compensated, because all the science teachers I know who have left the school system (myself included) did so for just that very reason.
Oh yeah, one last thing betwixt us good ole boys, so to speak: Has Brother Neil joined up with W.'s Texas bud, Mikey Dell, in the 'puter marketing business to expand Neil's Bush-light, "leave no dollar behind," test prep bi'ness and its Ignite! program, The COW, or Curriculum on Wheels (not a reference to "cash cow," surely)?


MadMustard said...

With the last name Bush, they must always be in either the Oil or the COW bi'ness. It just don't get no more Texan than that! Great sarcasim and a good laugh

I especially liked the 'wallpaper' on the laptop.

I really like the blog template that you have. I love the way it looks and it has great readability.

aikane said...

Thanks man. I enjoyed your blog as well, especially today's "items." :-))

Missouri Mule said...

Maybe they should throw in 40 acers and a mule?

aikane said...

Good observation. :-)

On second thought, the bush brothers are stuck in "beads and shiny trinkets" age of negotiation:

- Promise a shiny new laptop to lure prospective teachers into long-term servitude (as if most college grads wouldn't already have a personal computer);

- Promise a $300 tax break to the poor while rewarding the rich with million-dollar tax breaks ("it's YOUR money");

- "Hey, over there! If the terrorists don't get'cha first, the left-wing-gay-Hollywood-wicked-liberal traitors will destroy the sanctity of your marriage, kill your babies, blow up your cities and steal your hard-earned money!"

Yeah, that's the ticket; win elections -- works like a charm; why change anything?!! :-)

Missouri Mule said...

Well yes! Everybody knows that boys kissing boys or girls kissing girls is just a stone throw away from becoming a terra-ist! Just another slipery slope. :)

StealthBadger said...



Even if they're low-end laptops, just counting the 30K teachers, that's going to be around 30 MILLION dollars.

While that's not a bad thing to spend on education... how much are they planning on spending on computer literacy classes?? Because a computer that you can't use or don't need is one of the most tremendously overpriced paperweights in existence.

And how much is the maintenance contract going to go for? Those suckers are not cheap. How about general support? How many more reps is Dell adding to the call centers in India because of this?

Gah. I'm not missing the larger point, I swear. Just ranting about the aspect of it that I'm most familiar with.

aikane said...

Kuz MoMule, that reminds me of the vet who said he earned a medal of honor for killing another man -- and a discharge with dishonor for kissing another man.

aikane said...

Badger, you're right. I doubt Jeb! ever got past the "shiny bauble" stage of trickery. Details.. like what software would be installed, wi-fi, accessories, etc... Would the computers be "personal" or "business"? If for work, who would develop training, and maintain security and functionality, etc? ... If only "new" teachers were given computers, and they were required to use them for work, would "old" teachers be expected to have the same level of job-related computer usage? ... And who would buy their laptops?

The list is endless, of course. So, perhaps the money could be better used as needed for both new and old teachers -- remember, it should be "THEIR MONEY." Maybe, just maybe, not everyone thinks a laptop computer is the be-all and end-all of the "world-class educator."

Maybe a new teacher would prefer to spend the "lure money" on a lease for the new apartment; on a wardrobe (since some of them probably, like me, went throught college in rags); or if something shiny and new is just so irresistible -- why not give all teachers, experienced and inexperienced, a cell phone and/or unlimited plan for calling their parents for the next month's grocery money or to inquire about that second job to make ends meet -- or to call Bubba's maw from the classroom when Bubba "acts out of turn." :-)