catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

The reality of the education revolution

with 19 comments

At the last election Kevin Rudd promised computers for all year 9 through 12 students and also a laptop scheme. At the time Alex Robson and I thought the scheme was underfunded but we got shouted down. It was always part of the Education revolution that computers would be used at school and at home. Here is Kevin Rudd at the 2007 Labor campaign launch.

The final step in the broadband revolution is to link school networks to students at home. For some students, this happens already. However for many, it doesn’t.
And one of the purposes of Labor’s Education Tax Refund is to encourage parents to invest in computers and internet connections at home. Because Labor understands that in the 21st century, information technology is not just a key subject to learn, it is now the key to learning all subjects.

Okay – so what’s happening on the ground? Schools have been provided with laptops. Now just to remind ourselves, remember that laptops are designed to be easily portable unlike desktops that cannot be easily transported to and from home.

After Labor promised to provide access to a computer for every child from Year 9 to Year 12 at the last election, it has emerged that a public school in South Australia, Seaford 6-12 School, is charging a $365-a-year fee to allow students to take the taxpayer-funded computers home.

That’s not the worst of it.

A PUBLIC school is asking parents to pay up to $1460 to lease computers provided under Kevin Rudd’s digital schools plan, while another is urging parents to buy the Apple Mac laptops their child has used for $1200.

While this has the stench of broken promise written all over it.

Another South Australian school, Willunga High School, is urging parents to spend $1200 upfront to lease Apple Mac computers. Parents are being told that, although the offer is “absolutely voluntary”, being able to use computers is “as important in today’s society as being able to read and write”.

Well yes – that’s exactly what Rudd said at the last election.

Mr Howard seems to believe that providing our young people with computers is exotic. Mr Howard just doesn’t get it. Around the rest of the world, providing young people with computers isn’t exotic – it’s mainstream.

It’s not just Mr Howard who doesn’t get it. School kids haven’t got their computers either.

Written by Sinclair Davidson

January 18, 2010 at 8:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

19 Responses

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  1. Another epic fail.


    January 18, 2010 at 11:23 am

  2. While I generally don’t like the computer per child policy (Computer’s arn’t yet the be-all for education, and I’ve heard of massive wasted spending from people working in IT in schools), how is the choice of public schools, under a state run education system making individual choices about fee’s to use at home/post-use leasing the fault of Rudd?

    Esp as the program was designed for “providing for every Australian secondary school student in years nine to 12 with access to their own computer at school” (Also from Rudd’s 2007 Campaign launch speech). Just because you say a laptop is portable, doesn’t mean its to be taken home, many workplaces buy laptops without intending for their staff to just walk home with them willy nilly.

    Sure tight regulations could have been applied spelling out all and the only ways in which the computers could be used, but I thought you guys were generally against that; and given that the realm of possible actions schools could do but are unlikely to take with these laptops is immense, legislating against all of them is not viable.

    The policy has flaws (though the intention is good), but schools exploiting it for extra funds is not Rudd’s fault.

    Andrew Carr

    January 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm

  3. Andrew – the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 18, 2010 at 1:02 pm

  4. The policy has flaws (though the intention is good), but schools exploiting it for extra funds is not Rudd’s fault.

    Bullshit! It was his policy. He ran with it and now it’s corrupted and fucked up beyond recognition. If the schools are exploiting his policy he should be doing something about it, or rather Gillard should as she’s responsible to carry out his promise.


    January 18, 2010 at 1:07 pm

  5. Sinkers typically you haven’t really addressed the issues Andrew has put forward and from the puff-piece you and Alex did it appears neither of you examined the two policies properly believing them to be one.

    And you link to the Australian which has shown to not just wrong but to have engaged in fiction with relation to education.

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 18, 2010 at 1:08 pm

  6. oops who doesn’t understand the difference between State and Federal responsibilities.

    Our old mate Forrest

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 18, 2010 at 1:09 pm

  7. No Homer – we knew there are two policies, in fact we mocked them on that very fact.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm

  8. Homer: Stop spamming the site.

    You may have well said:

    “oops who doesn’t understand the difference between a car tire and cement mix”

    for all the relevance it has to the subject.

    Go away.


    January 18, 2010 at 1:13 pm

  9. How is it the fault of Rudd, Andrew? They’ve mandated brass plaques on the Julia Gillard memorial toilets but they overlooked the possibility that schools weren’t going to let their laptops go walk-about?


    January 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm

  10. Forrest you made another stupid comment by not understanding what State Government do and what Federal Governments do.
    Be a good boy and go away and find out.

    Really Sinkers then you obviously do not understand there is a difference between a laptop owned by a family and that owned by a school.

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm

  11. Is it? Well Homer, it seems Rudd doesn’t know the difference either. Caught out, again.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm

  12. Homer, you tiresome intellectual oaf. You’re using the some boring line in every single thread you post your drivel.

    It’s either not reading or not understanding… However you’re the only person that does by your won reckoning….

    This coming from the Nazi economist who thinks it was only Hitler has ever applied Keynesian economics.

    You intellectual oaf.

    Rudd said he would have a lap-top on every state school desk in the country. So far the policy has failed. Now STFU and go away.


    January 18, 2010 at 2:26 pm

  13. Butters,

    It is really silly to say “Sinkers doesn’t understand Federalism” when he’s attacking an anti-Federalist policy.

    You also said the other day that the Korean War was self funding for the US.

    I’ll leave it up to the reader as to who should be believed out of you and Sinclair.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm

  14. Andrew

    While I share your cynicism at the utility of computers in schools, surely if the Feds are providing the funding they can attach conditions to; they always do. I would have thought it was implicit in Rudd’s election sales pitch that the fed provision of computers was not to be accompanies by state governments using them as an opportunity for gouging.

    Also, $1,200 per annum to LEASE? Jesus, you could buy a brand new one every year for that.

    Peter Patton

    January 18, 2010 at 3:54 pm

  15. Mark, you obviously need reading lessons,
    Forrest is the idiot who doesn’t understand Federal/State responsibilities.

    Oh the Korean war was self-financed. Have a look at the taxes old son. Barro obviously didn’t

    Peter you are assuming the OZ is correct which is a rare case. It could well be a deposit conditional on getting the laptop back at the end of the year.
    Think about it how would a school know how to lease!

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm

  16. BBB

    You are probably dead right. If you read my comment on the public school funding thread, the reporting of Education issues, particularly regarding funding, in the Fairfax and News Ltd. is obscene, written by people with IQs below 80.

    Peter Patton

    January 18, 2010 at 4:17 pm

  17. the staes would not be getting the money only the school would.

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm

  18. That is much the same thing, as the cash is a windfall that will take pressure off the state government.

    Peter Patton

    January 18, 2010 at 4:36 pm

  19. “you obviously need reading lessons”


    “oops who doesn’t understand the difference between State and Federal responsibilities.”

    JC inferred that education shouldn’t be and originally wasn’t a Federal responsibility.

    “Oh the Korean war was self-financed.”

    I can’t believe that you believe this. Clearly the resurgence of Asia and Europe as trading partners is a more likely candidate as to a US postwar boom.

    It’s like you saw the Leontief paradox and assumed that the relationship between capital intensity and wages really had reversed.

    On the other hand, tell me Butters, why was the Korean was so much more successful in pump priming the US economy than the Iraq War?

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 18, 2010 at 5:29 pm

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