Recently, it was announced that schools would receive $650 million for educational technology (Internet access, computers, etc.). That seems like a lot, but consider however that in 2002 the ed tech budget was $700 million. And since there are over 55 million students in public schools, $650 million only comes to about $11 per student.
As stated in this Edutopia post, ISTE estimates it would take $10 billion to fully wire schools. But more student-centered and future-oriented ideas could cost less and have a greater effect on the quality of education. Give each student a netbook laptop (~$200) for example. If you limited it to students whose families could not afford to buy one on their own (for example the 29 million students on the school lunch program), the cost would be around $6 billion, which could be further reduced by donations and other means, such as not spending millions per state on textbooks and other overpriced curriculum materials, and using open e-texts and open source instead. Do you really need to buy the full Microsoft suite and Adobe suite of applications thousands of times over when OpenOffice, Gimp, Inkscape and other free software can do the same things?
We spend $6 billion every 2-3 weeks in Iraq so it’s not exactly an unthinkable idea.
I guess I now have a “[Sorry] State” series on this blog 🙂