There&’s no denying that technology is playing a growing role in education.


PD Editorial: Ensuring wise investments for schools

  • Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, talks in opposition to a pair of education reform bills before the Assembly at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010. The bills, which would give parents and state officials broad authority to overhaul the state's worst schools, were approved and sent to the Senate for approval. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

There's no denying that technology is playing a growing role in education.

It's also true that many schools around the state aren't adequately wired for high-tech learning, including the computer-based testing systems that accompany the new Common Core curriculum.

But let's not forget the basics.

Just as one plus one doesn't equal three, a mismatch between supply and demand doesn't justify a headlong rush to start retrofitting schools for a future that's still more vision than blueprint.

Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction, was in Santa Rosa last week where he pitched a $9 billion bond measure to build up the technology infrastructure at K-12 campuses in California.

"There are big issues with bandwidth, Internet connecting devices," Torlakson told Staff Writer Kerry Benefield.

Yes, the need is genuine. And so is the necessity to invest wisely, to understand what is being purchased and why. Ask school officials in Los Angeles.

The nation's second-largest school district decided to equip about 650,000 students and teachers with iPads at a cost of about $1 billion for the tablet-style computers and associated expenses, including training and Internet upgrades at L.A. schools.

Unanticipated problems emerged almost as soon as the devices were distributed. District officials hadn't considered who would be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged tablets.

They didn't think about the keyboards that will be required for students to take standardized tests on the devices.

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