Impetus: Rockdale County, Georgia, has decided that every student will be issued a laptop. To do their homework.
Predicted result: by the end of the 2015-16 school year, Rockdale County, Georgia will suffer massive losses from stolen laptops, stolen parts, broken equipment, thieving and corrupt parents, students that move away or drop out, or any other factor that makes them regret putting thousands of dollars worth of laptops into the hands of teenagers, where they would have many hours of unsupervised time with them.
Seriously though, I really hope Rockdale has some pretty good legalese right now, to build a foundation from for future years of this, if this program lasts that long. The thought is good, but the variable with the highest risk is simply the fact that people are involved. I’ll be optimistic and say that like 85% of students will be fairly lawful and not too abusive of this arrangement, but the other 15% are going to really make the county ask themselves WHYYYYYYY??
The county will have to undoubtely have some collateral policies like mandatory deposits or something, because I can’t imagine them handing out laptops scot-free like Oprah Winfrey, and I imagine that if the laptops are stolen, the families of the children in violation will be taken to collections fairly quickly, but the bottom line is that there’s way too much room for things to go horribly awry with this proposal.
Off the top of my head, I can think of the following scenarios occurring:
- Laptops physically breaking on account of kids being kids
- Laptops being stolen on account of kids being kids, regardless of the fact that every laptop will have an individual identification number
- Laptops being stolen on account of adults of kids being adults, and using a myriad of reasons to attempt to steal it from pawning for cash or their own selfish needs
- Regardless of what pre-loaded security software is in place, laptops becoming corrupted and/or plagued by viruses because wannabe teenage hackers will embrace the challenge of undoing what the man has put in place to deter them
- Laptops being used in class to do absolutely anything and everything that isn’t schoolwork related
- And my favorite hypothetical, laptops being gutted for parts, where someone with a hardware-comparable model decides to swap out a corrupt RAM stick with a kid’s school laptop, and then send the kid back to school to report a hardware problem where it might be fixed for them; every stick of RAM has its own number as well, but it’s the onus of the county to hopefully inventory and account for this as well, and not just issue the laptops right out of the box and hope nobody exploits this
And that’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure those vastly more corrupt and renegade than I am can think of many other bulletpoints to how and why this isn’t a good idea.
I take it back, I do believe that it is a good idea, and I’m sure it’s one that many other counties throughout the country and the rest of the world have thought of. I don’t care enough to cross-check when I say this, but I’d dare say that nobody wanted to be the first one to try it, due to the large scale potential for financial disaster, but at the same time, progress can’t be made if nobody is willing to take the first leap.
Thankfully for all other places that have thought about doing it, Rockdale County has volunteered to be the sacrificial lamb to the likely slaughter.