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Detroit House Democrats Want An iPod For Every Child

Passion

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We have come to the conclusion that the crisis Michigan faces is not a shortage of revenue, but an excess of idiocy. Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.

No cost estimate was attached to their hare-brained idea to "invest" in education. Details, we are promised, will follow.

The Democrats, led by their increasingly erratic speaker Andy Dillon of Redford Township, also pledge $100 million to make better downtowns.

Their plan goes beyond cluelessness. Democrats are either entirely indifferent to the idea that extreme hard times demand extreme belt tightening, or they are bone stupid. We lean toward the latter.

We say that because the House plan also keeps alive, again without specifics, the promise of tax hikes.

The range of options, according to Rep. Steve Tobocman, D-Detroit, includes raising the income tax, levying a 6 percent tax on some services, and taxing junk food and soda.

We wonder how financially strained Michigan residents will feel about paying higher taxes to buy someone else's kid an iPod.

That they would include such frivolity in a crisis budget plan indicates how tough it will be to bring real spending reform to Michigan.

Senate Republicans issued a plan a week ago that eliminates the deficit with hard spending cuts. Now their leader, Mike Bishop of Rochester Hills, is sounding wobbly, suggesting he might compromise on a tax hike.

We hope Bishop is reading the polls that say three-quarters of Michigan residents oppose higher taxes.

There are few things in the House budget outline from which to forge a compromise.

For example, Dillon says he would shift the burden of business taxes to companies that operate in Michigan, but don't have a facility here. The certain outcome of that plan is to drive even more businesses out of Michigan.

About all we see of merit is a call for government consolidation and a demand that state employees contribute more to their retirement benefits -- which is no more than House Democrats suggested for future state lawmakers a few weeks ago.

We find it ironic that the Democrats are proposing floating $5 billion in revenue bonds to pay for retiree health care, when Gov. Jennifer Granholm vetoed a nearly identical plan by Oakland County because it would cost the state money.

Instead of advocating cost-saving changes in public school teacher pension and health plans, Dillon suggests more study. There have been plenty of studies of the issue, with the conclusion being that hundreds of millions of dollars could be saved through reforms. Michigan needs action, not more study committees.

Dillon also proposes that the state cover 50 percent of the cost of catastrophic health insurance for everyone in the place, but once again doesn't specify a funding source.

Stop the stupidity. Michigan can't tax or spend its way out of this economic catastrophe.

The only responsible option is to bring spending in line with current revenues. The mission must be to expand the tax base, rather than to expand taxes, by crafting a budget that encourages growth.

We won't get there by wasting money on early Christmas presents for Michigan kids.
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic...D=2007704060333

Yes, I know that this is written as an editorial.
 

FutureGM

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That's a pretty strange idea that doesn't make any sense...

I have to agree that there are better uses for public money than something like this.
 

Passion

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It is one thing for a private institution to give them out when people are paying 40k a year in tuition and to think that they will be actually used as an educational tool (although I don't know what that would be) at a prestigious University then every kid in a public school system. Not really a comparison.
 

Hotcorner

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hey they gotta try something to entice people to move to Detroit...
 

Flying_Mollusk

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It is one thing for a private institution to give them out when people are paying 40k a year in tuition and to think that they will be actually used as an educational tool (although I don't know what that would be) at a prestigious University then every kid in a public school system. Not really a comparison.

Which is why I'm not keen on them when there is a financial crunch. But I imagine when computers in the classroom for first being proposed, people felt the same way. Investing educational money in tools is not necessarily a bad thing, per se. If there is precendent for their effectivness, then it doesn't look so bad.

And if Duke is anything like Northwestern, and I imagine it is, those freshman are just as likely to use those for "educational" purposes as they are as a tool for a drinking game. Which IMO, puts them on par with the kids here as far as actually laerning. So it isn't too ridiculous as an educational investment since there is precedent for it.
 

FutureGM

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hey they gotta try something to entice people to move to Detroit...
So, so true. :thumbup
 

Passion

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It is one thing for a private institution to give them out when people are paying 40k a year in tuition and to think that they will be actually used as an educational tool (although I don't know what that would be) at a prestigious University then every kid in a public school system. Not really a comparison.

Which is why I'm not keen on them when there is a financial crunch. But I imagine when computers in the classroom for first being proposed, people felt the same way. Investing educational money in tools is not necessarily a bad thing, per se. If there is precendent for their effectivness, then it doesn't look so bad. Apples and oranges. Computers in the classroom is a lot different then a $200 device in the hands of each student when its primary function is to play music and to take home. Computers numbered much less, weren't assigned/given to the student and don't have near the fine line of entertainment or pleasure that an iPod has.

I have no problem investing and spending more in the education system. Actually, I welcome it as I think it is one of the biggest shortcomings this country has, but when a 'solution' is spending loads of money on a device that adds questionable (at best) help to learning, I have a problem with it.
And if Duke is anything like Northwestern, and I imagine it is, those freshman are just as likely to use those for "educational" purposes as they are as a tool for a drinking game. Which IMO, puts them on par with the kids here as far as actually laerning. So it isn't too ridiculous as an educational investment since there is precedent for it.
Again, that is part of tuiton money and lets be real, more of a 'welcoming gift' to the University then an actual legitimate classroom tool there. Comparing universities, especially top universities, to a public school system is silly.
 

Shaq-Man

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It's a mentally retarded use of taxpayer money. Financial crunch or no financial crunch, it's plum retarded.

I don't even think it's possible to spin that sh*t enough to not make it retarded.

And regarding their educational value to children in grade school -- if anything, these things are disruptive.
 

Flying_Mollusk

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It is one thing for a private institution to give them out when people are paying 40k a year in tuition and to think that they will be actually used as an educational tool (although I don't know what that would be) at a prestigious University then every kid in a public school system. Not really a comparison.

Which is why I'm not keen on them when there is a financial crunch. But I imagine when computers in the classroom for first being proposed, people felt the same way. Investing educational money in tools is not necessarily a bad thing, per se. If there is precendent for their effectivness, then it doesn't look so bad. Apples and oranges. Computers in the classroom is a lot different then a $200 device in the hands of each student when its primary function is to play music and to take home. Computers numbered much less, weren't assigned/given to the student and don't have near the fine line of entertainment or pleasure that an iPod has.

I have no problem investing and spending more in the education system. Actually, I welcome it as I think it is one of the biggest shortcomings this country has, but when a 'solution' is spending loads of money on a device that adds questionable (at best) help to learning, I have a problem with it.
And if Duke is anything like Northwestern, and I imagine it is, those freshman are just as likely to use those for "educational" purposes as they are as a tool for a drinking game. Which IMO, puts them on par with the kids here as far as actually laerning. So it isn't too ridiculous as an educational investment since there is precedent for it.
Again, that is part of tuiton money and lets be real, more of a 'welcoming gift' to the University then an actual legitimate classroom tool there. Comparing universities, especially top universities, to a public school system is silly.


I'd like to think they would regulate it so as to prevent it from being used for entertainment. If it can be done for educational purposes, and it is effective (which the Duke folks seem to think it is as an educational tool rather than just a gift), then it is basically seen as investing in education, which we are both fine with. But if it is framed as handing out free Ipods, then nobody would be ok with it.

We don't know the details. I'm sure there is more to it than just handing out free Ipods. But if it isn't, then I'll agree, these guys are idiots. But Michigan is a pretty decently run state, and if they were handing out Ipods as gifts, it would collapse from that kind of incompetence.
 

Bradcore

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Wow. And I thought my state was stupid for giving every seventh grader a laptop.
 

Juanky

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I'm not even going to talk about this. The stupidity screams for itself.
It is one thing for a private institution to give them out when people are paying 40k a year in tuition and to think that they will be actually used as an educational tool (although I don't know what that would be) at a prestigious University then every kid in a public school system. Not really a comparison.
Well, I don't know if Duke offers it, but a lot of universities are making more and more of their lectures available (for free even!) on iTunes. I know MIT is one of the institutions that is leading the charge on this. The iPod could conceivably used to listen to these lectures.

Then again, Duke has been giving away the iPod since before podcasts really started to take off. But then again, they're a private institution that's handing out a welcome present. Big whoop.
 

Flying_Mollusk

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I think it's funny that the only source for the substance of this proposal is the editorial itself, which I've read was written by the opponents of it. Are any of you positive that this is done for gift purposes only?

Ipods are used for lecture purposes all the time. People study for their bar exam via Ipod lectures. In fact I studied for the bar exam via an Ipod lecture. It was great. I was able to go back and listen to stuff over and over again. Supplemental lectures can be uploaded via Ipods.

Imagine if a student who can't focus in class or has ADD can go back and listen to a lecture 4-5 times until he pickes up the points. What about students who have afterschool jobs where their work is mundane(diswashing) or where they have long train rides home? Couldn't they listen to the lecture? Can anyone tell me what is wrong with that?

And as far as the private vs. public purchase aspect goes, you're missing the point. All educational purposes for public schools are public purchases. If it is an educational investment, it really doesn't matter. The article I posted above does not tell me that Duke gave them out as gifts.

Like I said, if it is for no use but for gifts, then that is stupid. But if it is for educational purposes, I see no reason why they should be derided based on the editorial of the opposition party.
 

yankeefan21

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Well, I don't know if Duke offers it, but a lot of universities are making more and more of their lectures available (for free even!) on iTunes. I know MIT is one of the institutions that is leading the charge on this. The iPod could conceivably used to listen to these lectures.
Ahh crap. Now there are going to be a bunch of 5th graders in Detroit who know more about assembling carbon nanotubes than I do. Thanks a lot MIT! :mischief
 

Passion

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People are picking and choosing things.

I mentioned gifts once....and it was in context to iPods being given to new Duke students where I believe, despite what is said, that the iPod is more of a welcoming gift then an actual learning tool.

As for people saying an iPod, that lets you record lectures is 'needed' or a good plan, well:

a. iPods on their own can not record. So that is more money 'needed' to actually get some use out of these. I can see it now, the purchasing and distribution of the iPods and then the realiziation that THEY CAN'T ACTUALLY RECORD ON THEIR OWN!.
b. We've had school for how many years and the missing secret fix to why the education system is on a downward trend is an expensive digital music player? Give me a break.
c. There are many different alternatives and smaller cost ways if lawmakers want the students to be able to hear the lectrues at homes. Tapes, CDs, paying attention in class (ZOMG), personal responsibility etc.
d. A lot of the newer iPods don't even come with unit to wall chargers. More $$$.
e. What happens when a kid loses or breaks one (will happen in droves), the state has to pony up another 200-500 bucks per student?

I don't even know how anyone can begin to defend this. It is beyond stupidity. I'm 'stunned' that a primarily black city, run by democrats would once again propose government handouts and such to the poor when it is just excess and virtually buying votes.
 

Flying_Mollusk

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People are picking and choosing things.

I mentioned gifts once....and it was in context to iPods being given to new Duke students where I believe, despite what is said, that the iPod is more of a welcoming gift then an actual learning tool.

As for people saying an iPod, that lets you record lectures is 'needed' or a good plan, well:

a. iPods on their own can not record. So that is more money 'needed' to actually get some use out of these. I can see it now, the purchasing and distribution of the iPods and then the realiziation that THEY CAN'T ACTUALLY RECORD ON THEIR OWN!.
b. We've had school for how many years and the missing secret fix to why the education system is on a downward trend is an expensive digital music player? Give me a break.
c. There are many different alternatives and smaller cost ways if lawmakers want the students to be able to hear the lectrues at homes. Tapes, CDs, paying attention in class (ZOMG), personal responsibility etc.
d. A lot of the newer iPods don't even come with unit to wall chargers. More $$$.
e. What happens when a kid loses or breaks one (will happen in droves), the state has to pony up another 200-500 bucks per student?

I don't even know how anyone can begin to defend this. It is beyond stupidity. I'm 'stunned' that a primarily black city, run by democrats would once again propose government handouts and such to the poor when it is just excess and virtually buying votes.

First off, it isn't Detroit. It is the Michigan legislature. So race and the city have nothing to do with it. Plenty of white legislators from white communities proposing it for their white students.

Second, the lectures are pre-recorded. Students could have them pre-uploaded with data locks to prevent music or other material from being uploaded.

Third, I never said it was going to solve all problems. But neither does cable in the classroom or computers in the classroom. It's called an educational aid.

Fourth, you ever hear of reducing cost through bulk purchases? Or perhaps leverage and negotiation of price through being a large purchaser? These things won't cost the same they do for an individual purchase. They would cost much less.

Fifth, giving students a tool to improve learning doesn't undermine personal responsibility. Using personal responsibility to ignore the fact that kids aren't learning is putting your head in the sand. Should we get rid of after school tutors because that means no personal responsibility?
 

yankeefan21

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Did any of you go through this with those fancy graphing calculators in high school [TI-85's and the like]? I know we were allowed to borrow the calculators for part of the year, but we had to give them back. Kind of like our text books.
 

Flying_Mollusk

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And further, how do we know that these aren't just the shuffles? They said Ipod or MP3 player. They could be the shuffle, which after negotiation for mass bulk purchase, would really not be that much, let alone anything close to $200-500 bucks.

And like yankeefan said, we got those calculators which were much more expensive and had to return them. We don't even know if this means just one set of purchases for return at the end of the year.

This is what happens when people listen to an editorial as their primary source of info.
 

Passion

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Calculator = iPod.

A graphing calculator is an essential (not excess) for higher level math classes and buying a class or department set is not the same as one for every single student.

Apples and oranges.

If you took out Democrats and put in Republicans...would F_M have posted more than once in here?
 

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