The Financial Cost of Technology in Education
Think about how much it costs you or your family to keep up with the latest computer technology. Also think about about how much you pay at home for a high speed internet connection. Not to mention, the security, adware, and virus protection software you must purchase to ensure your computer keeps working properly. Consider how much it costs to outfit a single classroom with this technology, or even an entire school.
Schools are still expected to provide books, pencils, and paper; however, they are now also expected to budget in computers, scientific calculators, and DVD players. Computers cost up to one thousand dollars a piece; scientific and graphing calculators cost around one hundred dollars a piece; in addition wiring the schools to accept this new technology can cost thousands. The cost to implement technology into our schools is enormous, tens of thousands per school, and millions per school system. In the 21st century, people are becoming more and more dependent on technology. We rely on computers and cell phones more than books and meeting people face-to-face. The internet is becoming a main source of information and communication. Schools, as the primary educational source, must then teach children at a young age how to use technology as an efficient and effective tool.
In schools’ haste to update and modernize everything, many concerns are overlooked; most notably, the necessity of additional technology and the amount of time and money required for the new technology. In many instances, the cost of technology is far greater than the rewards. The Washington Post reported that D.C. public schools lost $25 million and five years on a failed project to install new computer systems. The school system complicated the installation project further by requesting over 200 adaptations to the original software. According to multiple consultants, most of the $25 million was wasted. It is now being suggested that they use systems being developed by the city, but the schools would need to spend an additional $22.7 million for the city’s computer systems (Blum 2004).
A report done by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution states that Atlanta Public Schools “misspent or mismanaged nearly $73 million from a national program intended to give poor children access to the Internet” (Donsky; Foskett 2004). Furthermore, Atlanta says it needs $14 million a year just to run “one of the country’s most lavish computer networks for school children” (Donsky; Foskett 2004). Millions of dollars were spent at schools that were closed or demolished within a few years, and other schools were supplied with electronics for twice as many classrooms as the school has. The national program footing the bill is called E-rate, and while they won’t pay for computers, they pay for Internet infrastructure. Funding for E-rate is acquired by Americans everywhere through a surcharge in their telephone bills. ...