Who should pay for classroom technology?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

As more school systems embrace digital technology, disputes like the one that recently erupted at the Mendon-Upton School District will become more common: A middle-class parent complained about the fairness of a policy that allowed only low-income students to bring home iPads owned by the school; after he filed a discrimination complaint, which was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, the school district agreed to let all students take iPads home for free.

Any discrimination complaint that pits better-off parents against lower-income parents leaves a sour taste, but the policy change is mostly for the good. While the complaining parent acknowledged that he could afford to buy an iPad, others who don’t strictly meet the low-income threshold felt burdened by the device’s price. Now, however, Mendon-Upton must carry the cost of buying enough iPads for 24/7 use by all students.

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