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So-Called "iPod for Every Student" Story Debunked

Submitted by Brainwrap on Wed, 04/11/2007 - 01:27

(Hat tip to BZP at Michigan Liberal and WizardKitten for bringing the update on this silliness to my attention) It's a short article, but it gets straight to the point: WOOD-TV Article

"Democrats talked about bringing technology to education during a press conference with House Speaker Andy Dillon last week. In that discussion, the idea of buying iPods or mp3 players for students came up. But quickly, the question "How can the state afford to buy iPods for students when there isn't enough money to go around right now?" was asked. In reality, there was never a plan to buy all students iPods. There is a $38 million line item to pay for technology, far less than it would take to buy mp3 players for 1.65 million students."

Let's take a look at that last sentence. $38 million divided by 1.65 million students = $23 apiece. Even assuming that the entire $38 million went towards nothing but iPods (as opposed to other technology purchases), even the lowest-priced iPod (the Shuffle) costs $79 apiece. Granted, Apple would certainly give a large bulk purchase discount, but I can't imagine that they would've cut the price by over 70% on hardware (software is different, of course). Of course, once the "Dems Want to Waste Your Money on iPods" meme gets into the public eye, it becomes ideal fodder for the the MSM to rip into, true or not: Free Press Article

"Two state lawmakers backing a controversial plan to buy iPods for every schoolchild in Michigan were among a group of politicians who made a trip to California that was paid for at least in part by Apple, the maker of iPods."

>Well, considering that it never WAS a plan in the first place...not that this stopped the state GOP from pouncing on the non-story:

"The trip taken by Dillon and Gillard is similar to those taken in past years by other lawmakers, including many Republicans, Dillon spokesman Dan Farough said. Matt Resch, spokesman for the Republican leader in the House, Rep. Craig DeRoche of Novi, said he believed that statement is correct but said he didn't have details about such trips immediately available. Resch said, however, those trips were never followed by the kind of proposal unveiled by the Democratic leadership to buy $36 million worth of Apple products."

...except that the Democratic leadership evidently DIDN'T propose to buy $36 million (or was it $38 million? The Free Press somehow lost $2 million between the first story and the second one...) worth of Apple products. My guess is that it actually played out something like this:

 

"Hey, I read something about Duke University running a test program where they gave iPods to every student to record & listen to lectures, language classes, that sort of thing...what about putting some money towards that?" "Nah, for one thing, the results at Duke are still inconclusive; besides, thanks to the Republicans cutting the SBT without anything to replace it, we don't have enough money in the budget to buy a friggin' SONG off of iTunes, much less a whole iPod. Forget about it." "Yeah, I guess you're right. OK, what other technology initiatives are worth looking at?"

The larger point? DISCUSSING an idea (even if it's a bad one) is hardly the same thing as making that idea part of a FORMAL PROPOSAL, and the Free Press ought to know better.