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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The economics of 1:1

While a lot of us preach that it is not about the device (it’s not), devices are obviously important to digitally transforming learning. But many school districts still feel that 1:1 device initiatives are just not affordable. A $300, $500, or $1000 device cost per student can seem like a lot to spend per student. Is it? U.S. Census Bureau data show that the average cost of educating a child to be $10,608 per year. Ford states like my Texas spend less and Cadillac states like Kevin Hogan’s New Jersey spend much more. So if a “typical” district wants to fund a $300 device to be purchased once every four years, it would need to budget $75 per year. While I may not be able to pass the fifth grade Common Core assessment, that means a typical district would need to spend less than .7% (point seven percent) of the cost of educating a child per year to fund a device for learning. This is next to nothing in the total cost of educating a child. Sure there are many other costs that need to be incurred to fund a successful digital learning program, but device costs are plummeting and becoming so low that they can soon no longer be used as an excuse by schools. Then there are the budget expenditures no one wants to discuss - one Texas district (and probably many more) was spending $1,300 a year on its football program per player (and $1348 for a cheerleader). And in the last couple of weeks, Google and its partners announced $150 Chromebooks. Can’t afford 1:1? I’m just saying... 

(this blogger sees great value in extra-curricular activities, but wonders why their funding and expenses are never discussed)