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LePage considered killing school laptop program, but was talked out of it

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Maine Gov. Paul LePage delivers his State of the State address in in the house chambers in Augusta on Tuesday Feb. 5, 2013.


AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage mulled killing the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, the program started by then-Gov. Angus King that provides laptops to schoolchildren in the state.

In a memo to the governor, Education Commissioner Steve Bowen listed four reasons the laptop program should continue, including that technology knowledge is essential for students and that purchasing laptops at the state level “harnesses the state’s purchasing power to cut costs for taxpayers.”

“I get what you are saying about issues with students becoming too reliant on technology and the example you use of having to close Mardens when the lights go out because nobody can make change,” Bowen wrote in the memo, which was first reported by the Portland Press Herald. “But that is more connected, I think, to the overal ineffectiveness of the education system, which, under your leadership, we are attacking on a number of fronts. The fact is that for this generation of kids, technology is, and will continue to be, the air they breath.”

The state ended up continuing the laptop program, but awarded the new contract to Hewlett Packard. The students received Apple laptops for the first 10 years of the program.

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