Article

iPADGATE — QUESTIONS ABOUND IN SCHOOLS’ PURCHASE OF 333 iPADS, INCLUDING: WAS THE PURCHASE LEGAL? EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THE ANSWER: ‘NO’ … HER IMPERIOUSNESS, ASST. SUPER MALKAS, BRUSHES ASIDE SCHOOL COMMITTEE’S CONCERNS

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, July 19, 2012) — Serious questions have been raised concerning the iPad initiative for Advanced Placement students in Pittsfield Public Schools, a program that will cost taxpayers $166,500 (333 iPads at $500 each). That’s a lot of money (the cost of one superintendent for one year), and it’s a shame that Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski don’t have guardians, either in the school department or on the school committee, acting as wise stewards of their resources.

A List of Eight Hot Questions

(1) Was the purchase legal?

(2) Did the purchase make sense, from a financial standpoint?

(3) Did the purchase make sense from an educational standpoint?

(4) Did the purchase take into account the growing body of data suggesting the causality of digital input and students’ inability to sustain concentration and focus?

(5) Why didn’t Kathy Amuso recuse herself from voting on the initiative, seeing as her son will be one of the students receiving a “free” iPad.

(6) What are the controls being put on student use of the device? What assurances do we have that the devices will be used strictly for school work and not for personal use?

(7) Why does the Pittsfield School Department have to pay $10,000 to train 30 teachers to use the devices? Didn’t they negotiate tech support into the bulk purchase? Aren’t the in-house IT staff competent enough to provide this training as part of their jobs?

(8) Is that the only cost involved for the public?

The issue is two-fold: Are these devices a good use of precious taxpayer dollars? Are these devices good for students learning? The answer in both cases is no.

First, the preponderance of evidence strongly tells us that students need less and not more digital input  streaming into their heads. Just last week, the cover story of Newsweek addressed the question in the form of an assertion: Our technology is making us nuts. The younger the “consumer” and the heavier he or she engages in electronic masturbation via our hi-tech, screened devices, the more screwed up his or her cranial hard-wiring.

TALES FROM LIFE 1Taking the T from the Riverside station in Newton into Boston recently, THE PLANET witnessed a couple students, each about 16 years old, though with girls, it’s hard to tell age. They were listening to songs on their iPods, sending messages from their iPhones, and watching video from their iPads. They were doing all this while talking to each other. One of the girls even had a textbook open. Constant digital input, which goes at the speed of cyberspace, robs people of downtime. The brain needs downtime for quiet, reflection, and the sustained minutes and hours needed to make sense out of life. 

“Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,” says Loren Frank, assistant professor in the UCSF department of physiology, where he specializes in learning and memory. He said he believed that when the brain was constantly stimulated, “you prevent this learning process.” [quoted in NY Times, 8/24/10).

 

The Devices will Most Likely Retard Education, Not Enhance It

In the inadequate supporting package that accompanied the 333 iPad purchases, there is nothing to suggest the machined will enhance the education of any of the students who will be receiving them. On the veneer, the purchase might "sound" good. It might "look" good. It might create the illusion that the Pittsfield Public Schools and the School Committee are "leading edge." It gives them comfy cover against the incoming barrage that they aren't helping students with their educations.

A deeper look strongly suggests that the taxpayers took another hosing.

TALES FROM LIFE 2 — At a football game last fall at the Carrier Dome, watching Syracuse University take on an opponent, we had tickets near the student section. Directly in front our our seats were two young women and three men, obviously in the same group. The heavy drinking aside, their behavior astounded THE PLANET and our buddies. As we watched a great Division 1 NCAA ballgame, the kids in front of us each, to a one, had their smart phones in hand or at their side like a gunfighter's pistol wrapped in its holster. Each of these kids could not go more than a couple minutes at most without checking the electronic device for messages or to send a message. In the couple-plus hours the game took to play, each had probably check in with their machines 100 times. 

Taking on the Questions

We don't have all the answers yet to our questions, but we share what we have learned:

(1) Was the purchase legal: We posed that same question to Terry Kinnas, school committee member. "I'm not sure," he answered, "but you can be sure I'm going to try to find out."

TERRY KINNAS

Kinnas had voted originally against the purchase of the iPads in a meeting of the finance subcommittee, which he chairs. The vote was 2-1 to approve the purchase, a recommendation that was to be sent to the committee as a whole.

Now as THE PLANET understands procurement procedure, subcommittees to not have authorization to purchase. Subcommittees make recommendations to the body as a whole. Kinnas said that’s what he thought the committee was doing — until he found out later that the recommendation had apparently constituted a purchase order. Did someone rewrite the law? Since when does a subcommittee, without the knowledge of the committee-of-the-whole, make capital investments?

When he asked the School Department’s lawyer, the lawyer “did a song and dance,” Kinnas said. Taxpayers pay the firm $3,000 retainer for not knowing the answers to such questions.

 

BARBARA MALKAS

As THE PLANET reported yesterday, Assistant School Superintendent Barbara Malkas dealt  with Kinnas’ concerns this way: “They [the machines] are purchased, they have been distributed, and we have already launched professional development for staff.”

Bing, bang, boom! Malkas showed no interest, evidently, in the apparent illegality of the purchase nor did she display curiosity about at least exploring the question. It appears, in fact, that the full sitting school committee did not vote for the funding of the iPads.

“We bought the machines, and that ought to be good enough for you,” she essentially told taxpayers through Kinnas, with a “How dare you question me” thrown in for effect. Malkus might better be dubbed Milkus, for the way she apparently favors “milking” the public.

(2) Does the purchase make financial sense? No. First, the devices will not improve education. Second, even allowing for that, $500 per unit for a bulk purchase of 333 units is a lousy price. If you go to the Apple Store in Holyoke, you’ll pay $499 for one machine. Where was the hard bargaining? Where was the educational discount? Where was the leverage that a bulk purchase would provide? The School Department evidently doesn’t care. The mayor, the city council, and the school committee have given the department a supply of blank checks and a license to print money, taxpayers be damned.

(3) Do the machine make educational sense? Doubtful. If a student or his/her parents want them to have the device for educational reasons, it should be a private decision. LEt them buy the devices if they feel it will give a child an edge. Otherwise, leave taxpayers out of it.

(4) Did the purchase take into account the latest information that suggests young people are in a state of digital overload? Obviously, not.

(5) Why didn’t Kathy Amuso recuse herself from the vote? We don’t know. We invite an explanation from Amuso on this question. Her son will be getting an iPad. Why, then, was it appropriate? THE PLANET points out that the purchase of an iPad is far different from the procurement of other routine items (textbooks) and services (bussing) that a child of a school committee member might enjoy. Our read of the ethics law makes it clear: Amuso never should have voted. As we understand it, and correct us if we are wrong, she was one of the two votes (2-1) on the finance subcommittee that (illegally?) authorized the purchase. Without her vote, this doesn’t happen.

(6) What controls will be in place on the machines? Unknown. As far THE PLANET knows, students will just as soon use their iPads to surf porn as access the latest educational app.

(7) Why doesn’t the school department use in-house IT personnel for training rather than outsource it? The School Department has not said.

(8) Is the purchase price the only cost to taxpayers? No. Additional money will have to be spent on upgrading systems, increasing bandwidth, and installing connections at “several” buildings. THE PLANET hasn’t seen any figures on what those costs will total. Moreover, during the course of the academic year, many of the machines will be chewed up, busted, and broken? Students didn’t need their own money or their parents’ dough, and they will be less apt to take good care of the machines. Who pays for repairs? What happens to a device if a student is suspended, kicked out of school, or drops out? What happens to the machine after the academic year is out? The School Department hasn’t answered any of these questions.

TALES FROM LIFE 3The Professor had a student last semester who repeated failed to

THUMBS DOWN ON TEXTING: making us quicker but stupider.

respond to our e-mails and voice mails. “Why?” we asked her when she finally reported to class. The 19-year-old told us that e-mail was “too slow” and that she never uses her phone “as a phone.” “How do you communicate?” we asked. She began air-typng with her thumbs. “Honey,” we wanted to say but didn’t. “Let me tell you something. The Professor doesn’t [WE BEGIN AIR TYPING WITH OUR TUUMBS].”  We’ve had other students tell us they never turn their smart phones off. They set them  on “vibrate” so they can check messages at times when they should be sleeping or “off duty,” such as playtime or family time. The Professor has noted a pattern: The more hooked to these devices, the worse a student performs. Those least hooked up tend to perform better. Students also tell me face-to-face meetings aren’t “the best way” to meet people or get to know them (more, for example, wish “happy birthday” on Facebook than in person).

Frontline Addresses the Issue (Links Here)

Here’s are a couple of interesting related links from PBS’ Frontline. They address some of the latest findings.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/interviews/nass.html http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/interviews/turkle.html

Here’s an excerpt from the second link, an interview the show did with Sherry Turkle, director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self.

FRONTLINE: There seems to be a mass of cheerleaders out there who are celebrating this digital revolution, particularly in education.

TURKLE: I think that we live in techno-enthusiastic times. We celebrate our technologies because people are frightened by the world we’ve made. The economy isn’t going right; there’s global warming. In times like that, people imagine science and technology will be able to get it right.

[LIFT-OUT QUOTE] “Many students were trained that a good presentation is a PowerPoint — bam-bam. It’s very hard for them to have a kind of quietness in their thinking where one thing can lead to another and build and build.”

In the area of education, it calms people to think that technology will be a salvation. It turns out that it’s not so simple. Technology can be applied in good ways and bad. It’s not the panacea. It depends how; it depends what. It depends how rich you are, what other things you have going for you. It’s a very complicated story. But I definitely think that we’re at a moment when nostalgia for things that we once got right is coded as Luddite-ism.

I see part of my role in this conversation as giving nostalgia a good name. If something worked and was helpful to parents, teachers, children, that thing should be celebrated and brought forward, insofar as we can. It’s not to say that technology is bad — robots, cell phones, computers, the Web. The much harder work is figuring out what is their place. That turns out to be very complicated.

You can’t put something in its place unless you really have a set of values that you’re working from. Do we want children to have social skills, to be able to just look at each other face to face and negotiate and have a conversation and be comfortable in groups? Is this a value that we have in our educational system? Well, if so, a little less Net time, s’il vous plait. Technology challenges us to assert our human values, which means that first of all, we have to figure out what they are.

Rest assured: iPadgate is a legitimate issue. It involved hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars that appear to have been illegally spent on a program that will have detrimental effect on students.

Our final piece of advice: UNPLUG THYSELF!

————————————————————————

OUR LIFE OPENED TWICE BEFORE IT CLOSED / IT YET REMAINS TO SEE / IF THE DIGITAL WORLD UNVEILS A THIRD EVENT TO ME (TRANSLATED FROM THE E.D.)

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

53 Responses to “iPADGATE — QUESTIONS ABOUND IN SCHOOLS’ PURCHASE OF 333 iPADS, INCLUDING: WAS THE PURCHASE LEGAL? EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THE ANSWER: ‘NO’ … HER IMPERIOUSNESS, ASST. SUPER MALKAS, BRUSHES ASIDE SCHOOL COMMITTEE’S CONCERNS”

  1. Scott Laugenour
    July 19, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    People are often bemused or puzzled when I tell people that I turn my phone off on a regular basis. (Drives my campaign manager crazy). Manufacturers don’t seem to make ‘off’ switches that are easy to find anymore. It took a few queries at the shop to find a salesperson who knew the sequence of button-pushes needed to turn it off.

    • danvalenti
      July 19, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      Wow. Great story, Scott. Another reason why THE PLANET loves you: The “off” button.

      • levitan
        July 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

        Dan, I am proud to say I have a cell phone that is somewhere between here and California. I haven’t seen it in a year, and don’t miss it.

        • danvalenti
          July 20, 2012 at 8:00 am #

          That’s funny, LEV. Did you try calling your number?

  2. Bull Durham
    July 19, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    A typo in the first paragraph, says the iPads are $5,000, they are $500. Also, below is a link to Apple’s volume purchase pricing for hardware and software – and as you can see, the iPads for schools are $499 apiece minimum, so the Pittsfield schools did get the Apple price for education.

    http://images.apple.com/education/pricelists/pdfs/20120611_Education_Price_List.pdf

    • danvalenti
      July 19, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      Thanks, BULL. We shall correct.

    • Levitan
      July 19, 2012 at 10:22 am #

      Likely an upgraded version over the $499 entry-level one.

  3. Ladawn Aroche
    July 19, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    I really believe, people (which means the majority of IT experts) don’t seem to recognise where careers of the future will likely come from. We’ve left the Information Age and moved into the Information Overload Age. The next wave of job opportunities will likely be concentrated on mending this dilemma by turning the information into knowledge – otherwise, the data is useless. Think about it, we are generating such an abundance of information right this moment that humans lost the capability to stay up with it some time back. Systems (can you say “AI”?) will need to make this happen for us. If you wish to experience the following IT wave, I’d focus on artificial intelligence. Opinions anybody?

    • danvalenti
      July 19, 2012 at 9:21 am #

      Great post. There will be a great demand for “career coaches” and people of that ilk to help people withdraw from IO (Information Overload). AI is on the way. I’m waiting for the first sentient computer that wants to kill itself. How do we react, morally?

  4. Former Pittsfield Resident
    July 19, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Dan,

    Great article. Had no idea. Terry Kinnas should cause quite a ruckus over this (hopefully).

    When I went to school we were not allowed to use even a calculator. They had them then (I’m not that old), but we were forbidden from using them and rightly so.

    A calculator turns your brain into spaghetti. Mush. I see the value in doing it in your head and on paper. Even today, I admit I do use a calculator but first I do it in my head and on paper, then I use a calculator to double check it.

    Recently I had a store credit in a local store. I purchased a number of items to equal (or close to it) the credit. The girl at the register said she could not ring them up but had to add them up on paper and ring in the total — she embarrassingly whispered to me that she could not do this and asked me to do it. I did it but shook my head in amazement that how could a cashier in a store not know how to add?

    Hook on phonics has created a generation of kids who cannot even read. Its doesn’t work! You have to teach reading the old fashion way. By rote. See Jane run. Run Jane run. Run, run, run. Seems moronic but it works.

    Now IPads? What is this going to do to education? If I had kids in school I would yank them out immediately and home school them – absolutely with no doubts in my mind at all.

    I remember in High School – Taconic – they told us there was a paper shortage and the cost of paper was getting too high for the school budget and asked us to buy paper for ourselves. I see with the purchase of IPads that Pittsfield’s taxpayers have grown filthy stinking rich.

    • danvalenti
      July 19, 2012 at 9:19 am #

      FPR
      To this day, I do math longhand because I like the mental exercise. Hooked on phonics, phonetic spelling, tweets, technology: We have created a generation of intellectually lazy, incompetent, spoiled children who possess an entitlement mentality. Welcome to our future!

    • Levitan
      July 20, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      FPR:

      I used phonics to teach my daughter to read. starting at 2. I went on to choose a public school that used the method. She was reading the magazines in the checkout aisle at age 5, and reading skills are clearly her strength.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe phonics is the ‘old fashioned way’ to teach reading. I was under the impression phonics was discarded in favor of memorization.

      • Andrew
        July 22, 2012 at 11:37 am #

        Levitan,

        No you’re not wrong. Phonics is the “old school” method of learning to read.

  5. Ron Kitterman
    July 19, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Nice piece Dan, did N Tracy Crowne get one of these with her mobile package ? Seems like they are handing these out quicker than cupcakes on the Freddie Freihoffer show.

  6. Demitrius T. Gladiator
    July 19, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    At least on the Freihofer show, Uncle Jim had you do a drawing (what did they call them? squiggy? something like that). Here they give en out like m&ms on halloween or condoms in the student life office at ths and phs. great expose DV

  7. Richard
    July 19, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    Don’t question us is the feeling I have always got from this school dep. Just keep on giving us our raises and don’t ask any questions. This mentally has to change if we are ever to go forward in Pittsfield. Instead the school should welcome questions because they know that they are doing the right thing.

  8. AMBROSE
    July 19, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Of course Mrs. Amuso should recuse herself from voting on anything that would affect her child’s education. Included should be:
    1. Bus budget (if he child rides a bus)
    2. Teachers salaries
    3. School maintenance
    4. New superintendent
    5. Books that her son may use
    6. Athletic budget (if her kid’s an athlete or goes to any of the games)
    and on and on – Maybe parents should not be eligible for the school committee since every vote they take has to do with their kids. If only the world were populated by allpeople like Former Resident there would be no need for schools.

    • levitan
      July 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

      Hey…I said that too.

  9. taxmano
    July 19, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    The lawyer at the committee meeting said the ipad purchase was legal. Doesn’t mean it was a good idea though. The laptop inititive was a joke, and I’m sure this will be no different.

    Anyway, isn’t Malkas gone now? And Jake? Thank goodness!

  10. Jim Gleason
    July 19, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    Change in subject. The Pittsfield Babe Ruth 13′s and 15′s both won State Championships last night in Worcester and the BB puts a big story about a meaningless Legion game on the front page, above the fold, in the sports section and relegates the kids from BR to the inside page and does a crappy little story with no name attached to it, just Berkshire Eagle Staff. I like Howard Herman’s work but the judgement and priority level of the Sports editor,Mr Sprague, is far from credible. Where’s Roger O’Gara when you need him?

  11. Mark Smith
    July 19, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Hi Dan,

    Changing subject a little.

    You may have missed my post today on yesterday’s issue. This link details how Bain Capital bought and fatally damaged KB Toys. From what I have read, at the time, Mitt Romney was CEO and owner of Bain. As I generally agree with your opinions, I would like to know your thoughts on this article.

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/12511407

    Thanks,
    Mark

    • levitan
      July 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

      When your job is to screw someone, that’s what you are supposed to do.

      A legitimate attack is to point out where people who represent our interests take the other road and take us to the cleaners.

  12. Kevin
    July 19, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Dan interesting post, too many times the questions you asked like today get answered after the fact or not at all, it just seems way too many walk in lockstep with the powers that be, it is only with this type of reporting that things will begin to change.

    On another note, I have read about digital overload and the major issue it’s become especially at the University level, one of the things I have read about is the inability of students to write papers, no ability to tie paragraphs together because they are on constant overload viewing many forms of media at one time while attempting to write a University level paper?

    • danvalenti
      July 20, 2012 at 8:08 am #

      KEVIN
      I’m seeing this more frequently in my composition courses at the college. It’s a HUGE concern. We are seeing the advance wave of a generation that doesn’t know how to read, write, or do math at the university level. It will begin to get worse and continue downhill for at least the next 12 years. Meanwhile, Europe and (especially) the Pacific Rim require their students to go to school 232 days a year (as opposed to the US’ 181). They are also embracing traditional approaches to teaching the Three Rs. That’s why they are kicking our butts on the global marketplace. It’s not because of NAFTA, Mitt Romney, or free trade.

  13. Terry Kinnas
    July 19, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Dan, just some clarifications, it was the curriculum subcommittee that took the 2-1 vote. Kathy Yon is the chair of that committee.

    The two high schools’ principals were also at the subcommitte meeting. The PHS principal had not evaluated the real pilot program in the AP art class with the ipads at PHS. No one then or now can tell what the ipads will be specifically used for.What are the expected improved results from using the ipads? No one knew or knows.

    Just a few other costs that have been identified at this point:
    $20k increase in bandwidth charges,a 35 dollar insurance policy per ipad to be paid by the parents, 19 spare ipads, 30 new projectors and boards for the high schools, and no one seems to know how much was spent totally to this point in time.

    Only kids in AP classes will get the ipads. No kids that may need a helping hand in their MCAS scores will be able to use them.

    At the school committee meeting that this program was being sold that the ipad would help with the 21st century skill set. I asked what were some of the skills that would be helped? No one knew from the school administration, but they could reference a web site and you could find the skills there.

    • dusty
      July 19, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      Terry, do you know what happens to these i pads at the end of the year? Do the kids keep them or leave them for the next class? Does anyone anywhere know the answer to this???

    • taxmano
      July 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

      I hear all the time that both high school principals are incompetent (as were most of Jake’s hires), so I am not surprised they did not know how to evaluate the ipads effectiveness or do a cost/benefit analysis.

    • levitan
      July 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      Terry,

      I suggest as a compare and contrast exercise that you examine BART’s use of iPads. They built their educational philosophy around the use of technology, and each student Teachers use them to track the class as a whole as well as individual students throughout the lesson. I walked the school and can attest to the classes as highly organized and and the students concentrated on their studies (contrary to Dan’s portrayal.)

      It seems evident to me that new technologies cannot just be applied topically to a curriculum and be expected to return its cost. And I see the allocation of these iPads to the elite student as evidence that they have not considered how they should be used as a teaching device.

      • danvalenti
        July 20, 2012 at 7:59 am #

        LEV
        You’re confusing “Dan’s portrayal.” We said nothing about BART. How they use technology has nothing to do with (a) the Pittsfield Public Schools’ lack of a plan to justify the purchase of these toys and (b) the likely illegal nature of the purchase.

        • Levitan
          July 20, 2012 at 11:34 am #

          Sorry, Dan, I meant to confine your portrayal to the general one of mental confusion, degraded attention and perceptual skills.

          I did not mean to imply you applied that critique to other institutions.

    • levitan
      July 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

      Correction“They built their educational philosophy around the use of technology, and each student” should read:

      “They built their educational philosophy around the use of technology, and each student has one.”

    • danvalenti
      July 20, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      TERRY
      Many thanks for correcting the record. SO the curriculum subcommittee voted 2 (Yon, Amuso) to 1 (Kinnas) to recommend the purchase of the iPads. Help us out here: How did that RECOMMENDATION morph into an actual purchase? Subcommittees do not have procurement authorization. The big issue here is the mechanism by which the Schools, via Malkas, got this through? It does not appear to be legal.

  14. tito
    July 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    I have to agree with Terry and Dan on this one, Malkas showed how unfeasible she is. A woman scorned and only because she lucked out, gets more pay to boot.

  15. tito
    July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Dan, do you know what time the preliminary events are?

  16. ShirleyKnutz
    July 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Wasn’t KB Toys already Bankrupted when Bain bought them?

  17. ShirleyKnutz
    July 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Whatever happened to the Laptop initiative?

    • danvalenti
      July 20, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      Dust in the wind.

  18. Nomad
    July 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    Different topic. Why does Parks Maintenance Supervisor, Tony Stracuzzi, have the use of a city vehicle 24/7? It’s been parked in exactly the same spot in his driveway for 2 weeks while he’s apparently away on vacation. Doesn’t the city have other uses for it?

    • danvalenti
      July 20, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      NOMAD
      We don’t know the answer. What does the head of the city Maintenance Department have to say in answer to this question?

  19. Scott
    July 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    I think having computers in school is good I sure learned a lot with them growing up. I don’t have cable, facebook, myspace or twitter but I understand how these all work and I just choose to recluse myself from them. I’d be on board if they invested that kind of money into a music programs.

  20. taxmano
    July 20, 2012 at 5:52 am #

    Long term, the increased use of technology in education is designed to replace teachers with tech monitors to make sure students stay on task. it is a lot cheaper–you can hire these unskilled monitors for minimum wage.

  21. K-Man
    July 20, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    Back again at ya. Terry nailed this one from the officials standpoint and Dan nailed it from the journalistic standpoint. The bb won’t cover this story in this way. Grateful for the planet!!

    • danvalenti
      July 20, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      Much appreciated, K.

  22. That Guy
    July 20, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    While it angers me how the federal government breaks international laws and poisons Americans and people abroad from everything to GMO’s to depleted Uranium I am glad to hear about the common mans struggle to keep technology out of the hands of the learning children. Keep up the fight I sure they need that second rate will enable them to be better pissed off about life. I will let you get back to your cave paintings and clogging in quill and feather.

    • danvalenti
      July 20, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      THAT GUY
      Not sure we follow your logic here, but thanks for trying.

      • Scott
        July 20, 2012 at 11:41 am #

        What has two thumbs and didn’t get the logic either? This guy!

    • Levitan
      July 20, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      Fails the “persuasive test”.

  23. That Guy
    July 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Okay skateboard parks and technology such as media via a tablet is bad and detrimental because of some observations st a ball park and or a preconceived notion of what is going to happen or happening. This seems to be a forum to bash youth and progress with the futile argument of tax dollar expenses. Thanks for posting my view I want the future of Pittsfield to have a platform to create and research with.

    • danvalenti
      July 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

      THAT GUY
      We are pleased to provide that forum. Thank you for your participation.

  24. Spectator
    July 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Wonder what PSD is gonna do next year when these pads are obsolete? Did they buy the extended warranties too?
    Why do they need to pay $10k to train people to use these? My dog plays games on mine. What a joke. I can’t wait for that “told you so” moment.

    • Levitan
      July 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      Why would it become obsolete? I run a 2004 mac and it’s far from obsolete in so far as it runs my software.

  25. 2010 Taconic Grad
    July 24, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    After just coming out of the school system, I feel that I can view this with very little speculation. I took 3 AP classes and had to buy around 7 college books. Way more than the cost of an iPad. eBooks would easily be cheaper if they treat this software just as they did the Adobe suite in the labs. And no the kids who can’t pass the MCAS do not need iPads. After those same kids destroyed the G4 Macs at Reid, they’ve done enough. This should not be relevant to the MCAS anyways, that’s a complete 100% amount of effort. Blame whoever you want on not passing but it is COMPLETELY effort based.