State-Wide Bill to Mandate a Computer for Every Child in Every Maryland Classroom

A Maryland state bill is being considered now.  There is a Senate hearing Wednesday, 3/16 at 1:00 pm.

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Among other things, the wireless school infrastructure needed for a 1:1 (one laptop per student) program is VERY expensive — Baltimore County spent nearly $13 million for infrastructure in support of the STAT digital initiative, which is costing nearly $300 million total in the first several years. Better tech options and wireless are needed in schools, but the pricetag of such an extensive, unproven use of tech would cripple many school systems, let alone the millions in annual leasing costs. This would be set up by 12/16.

STAT is the Baltimore County Public Schools’ acronym for “Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow”

STAT really is going STATewide. The “Digital Equity for All Act” currently being considered by the State Senate requires the Maryland State Department of Education to:

*develop and adopt infrastructure standards that support the use of digital devices at a 1:1 ratio by 12/1/16
*require each system to meet infrastructure standards and implement a policy that provides for the use of a digital device for every student or allows devices to be brought from home by 12/1/19
*administer a Digital Equity Grant program to fund infrastructure, devices and development of innovative uses of technology to enhance classroom instruction and learning opportunities for students
See Bill text and sponsors (including District 6 Senator)

Contact Info for Sponsor and Cosponsors of Senate Bill 1041: Let’s let them know what we think about this bill. (Those in bold are Baltimore County and Baltimore City representatives).
Primary Sponsor:
Sen James Rosapepe [D] 21, # PG & AA 410-841-3141, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3141
jim.rosapepe@senate.state.md.us
Cosponsors:
Sen Gail Bates [R] 9, Carroll & Howard # 410-841-3671
gail.bates@senate.state.md.us
Sen Joan Conway [D] 43, Baltimore City, # Chair 410-841-3145, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3145
joan.carter.conway@senate.state.md.us
Sen Ulysses Currie [D] 25, PG, $ 410-841-3127, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3127
ulysses.currie@senate.state.md.us
Sen Brian Feldman [D] 15, Mont, %
410-841-3169, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3169
brian.feldman@senate.state.md.us
Sen William Ferguson [D] 46, Baltimore City, $ 410-841-3600, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3600
bill.ferguson@senate.state.md.us
Sen Guy Guzzone [D] 13, Howard $
410-841-3572
guy.guzzone@senate.state.md.us
Sen Cheryl Kagan [D] 17, Mont. #
410-841-3134, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3134
cheryl.kagan@senate.state.md.us
Sen Delores Kelley [D] 10, Baltimore Co 410-841-3606, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3606
delores.kelley@senate.state.md.us
Sen Nancy King [D] 39, Mont. $
410-841-3686, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3686
nancy.king@senate.state.md.us
Sen Susan Lee [D] 16, Mont, %
410-841-3124, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3124
susan.lee@senate.state.md.us
Sen Richard Madaleno [D] 18, Mont. # Vice-Chair 410-841-3137, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3137 richard.madaleno@senate.state.md.us
Sen Nathaniel McFadden [D] 45, Balto City, $ 410-841-3165, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3165
nathaniel.mcfadden@senate.state.md.us
Sen Douglas Peters [D] 23, PG #
410-841-3631, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3631
douglas.peters@senate.state.md.us
Sen Victor Ramirez [D] 47, PG,
410-841-3745,1-800-492-7122, ext. 3745
victor.ramirez@senate.state.md.us
Sen Johnny Salling [R] 6, Baltimore County 410-841-3587, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3587
johnnyray.salling@senate.state.md.us
Sen Bryan Simonaire [R] 31, AA, #
410-841-3658, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3658
bryan.simonaire@senate.state.md.us
Sen Craig Zucker [D] 14, Mont, #
(410) 841-3625
craig.zucker@senate.state.md.us
#=Member of Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee
$=Budget & Taxation Committee
%=Finance Committee
Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee Staff: Sara C. Fidler; Theodore E. King, Jr.; Ryane M. Necessary. (410) 841-3661, (301) 858-3661
Senator Joan Carter Conway, Chair
Senator Paul G. Pinsky, Vice Chair

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3 thoughts on “State-Wide Bill to Mandate a Computer for Every Child in Every Maryland Classroom

  1. Federal grants for tech dry up as well, leaving school districts saddled with overwhelming annual laptop leasing, repurchases, or other ongoing costs. This has happened to numerous districts across the country that used federal Race to the Top funds to buy tech for schools, and had to cut personnel or abandon the programs, leaving a waste of taxpayer dollars in their wake. Less extensive tech initiatives are more sustainable. But consider what happens when everyone gets carried away:

    See high BCPS infrastructure costs: .. http://towsonflyer.com/2016/03/01/cost-for-laptop-program-at-bcps-keeps-rising/#comment-473

    Here is a small school district, near the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, which has a much-touted 1:1 laptop initiative. Following Mooresville’s lead, as BCPS is doing, Iredell-Statesville Schools has faced the firing of dozens of teachers, as well as school nurses, assistant principals, and crossing guards to pay for leases on laptops. Leases.

    http://www.mooresvilletribune.com/news/iss/iredell-school-budget-decision-delayed/article_7afc4497-2df4-5c87-92d9-258a53395cb5.html?mode=jqm

    From the Moorseville Tribune, N.C.

    Iredell-Statesville Schools is currently facing around a $2.5 million budget shortfall. District officials said during Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting that two dozen teaching positions could be lost, along with a few nursing positions, assistant principals and high school gate guards. Board members spent a lengthy discussion questioning whether other options existed and if fund balance could cover the deficit, which has been caused by three straight years of using savings and a $2.8 million payment that is due this coming year for student laptops.

    “This is our really tough year because of that $2.8 million payment,” said board member Martin Page, alluding to the last lease payment due on the Apple laptops given to middle and high school students this year. “Without that, I think we’d have a really good budget year. … Personally, I’d like to see us squeeze tight this year because of that payment.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Also, the ‘bring device from home’ option puts undue pressure on families whose schools won’t be able to afford to provide one. The rushed timeline on this bill is alarming. Let’s hear details about the tech-ed lobbyists behind this, when simple guidelines for improved wireless in schools are much more reasonable and sustainable. Also, don’t school superintendents, school boards, principals/teachers and parents want to decide how to best integrate tech in schools? Especially since the outcomes are unproven, and carry numerous risks.

    Like

  3. Keep contacting committee members listed above! The bill is still in these senators’ hands. It is essentially an unfunded mandate that would cost school districts tens of millions of dollars to build extremely expensive infrastructure–cables, servers, other costs–they are then “encouraged” to use by putting every child in the state on a device (known as 1:1) Wireless is needed, but this could be provided for less under a 3:1 ratio. School districts can barely find money to pay teachers, replace leaking roofs, offer children breakfast….

    Like

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