Something of a mixed message has gotten about over the schools computer program. Rudd went to the last election with two computer promises. The first was for a tax-break that allowed some parents (from memory those who could access Family Tax Benefit Part A) to buy a tax deductable laptop (or make other computer related educational expenditure). The second policy was that every school child in the last three years of high school would have access to their own computer at school. Presumably that would be a desktop.
At one point, Rudd almost lost his temper with a girl all of 16 years of age, who shook her head at his answer on school laptops, telling her with a sharp look and tone in his voice: “You’re shaking your head. Can I just say that is a fact, and if you ring up principals from around the country, it’s happening.”
The SMH is quoting a Twitter message.
Kevin Rudd is ripping into the sort of girls who denied him sex in high school.
While that is very funny and I admit to a snigger, it is also very undignified. People are going to remember a comment like that and it suggests something of a PR problem for the government on this score. The Australian fact-check is also interesting (not online, but Andrew Bolt has a copy, and at page 4 of the paper edition).
RHETORIC: “Laptops, which is computers in schools, we said we would have a computer for every young person at secondary school from Year 9 and above by, I seem to recall, 2013 or thereabouts.”
REALITY: The original 2007 election commitment was for the laptops to be rolled out in four years (by 2011).
RHETORIC: “We are on track to doing that. We have about 260,000 computers out there in schools now … can I just say that is a fact.”
REALITY: According to Senate estimates, 154,000 of the one million promised laptops are in operation.
Just not good. I think Rudd was under-prepared and has added to the laptop confusion. Really he only has himself to blame; it was a half-assed policy in the first place that they tried to implement on the cheap and they have been caught out by technology savvy kids.
That might not be such a bad thing. Joshua Gans reckons the iPad will revolutionise e-education.