Jessie Jackson Jr has come up with a really good idea for breaking the government monopoly on schools. Give every kid a laptop.
Jesse Jackson Jr. wants the Constitution changed so that every kid has the right to an ipod and laptop.I think his method is wrong but the idea is very good. At $100 per computer and 40 million kids in primary education the one year cost is $4 billion. For every school child in America. How much would it cost to wire up every school so the wireless laptops can access lessons and the Internet? That depends on how many buildings need to be wired. A good number for estimation purposes is 200,000 buildings at $100,000 per building. That is a one time cost of $20 billion. Internet service should be on the order of $10 per child per month. Roughly $100 per child per year. So that is a steady $8 billion a year (a new laptop every year and wireless service). Compared to the $11,000 per child average spending on schools in the US $200 per year per child is peanuts. If you pro rate the wiring costs over 10 years of public education the infrastructure cost is $100 per year per child. Bringing the total cost to $300 per year per child.
I don’t like the method (changing the Constitution) but the idea is brilliant.
In time it will break the government school monopoly. And there is already a company (non-profit) that is making suitable laptops for cheap:
One Laptop Per Child
I know one of the guys on the project. Very sharp. Mitch Bradley.
Update: 10 March 2011 1634z
A really good book by R. Buckminster Fuller on the subject that you should read at least three times.
Education Automation: Comprehensive Learning for Emergent Humanity
Cross Posted at Classical Values