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Maine 7th Graders to Get Laptops

June 29, 2001

To strengthen Maine’s ability to compete in a knowledge-based economy, Governor Angus King proposed last year that the state create a $65 million endowment that would annually purchase and place a laptop in the hands of every seventh grade student in the state. A one-time $50 million state appropriation was to be matched by $15 million in private contributions. Interest off the endowment would have allowed every 7th-12th grader to own a laptop PC by 2007.

Sixteen months later, and after considerable revision of the concept by a specially-called Task Force on the Maine Learning Technology Endowment (see February 9, 2001 SSTI Weekly Digest story), the state legislature has authorized a $30 million program to begin. The Governor still plans to pursue $15 million in private and foundation support for the endowment.

Rather than giving students computers each year, the endowment will fund the acquisition of Internet-ready laptops that 7th graders can sign out, beginning in the fall of 2002. Eighth graders will be eligible to participate the following year.

The Task Force also recommended using a portion of the fund to support programs to train teachers on integrating information technology and the web into their curricula.

Our thanks to the Maine Science & Technology Foundation for the lead on this story.

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