In desperate economic times the person responsible for the education budget in Andalucia (Spain’s, southern autonomous region) had to defend how money was or was not being spent. One thing he was adament would continue is the distribution of netbooks to all students in the fifth year of primary education. His argument was that even if there are leaks in the roof of your local health clinic you would still prefer the budget to be spent on supplying the center with the most up to date equipment: the roof could be fixed later. Expanding the argument he says that the netbooks are not a luxury as we prepare our students for the future, but essential and more important than leaking roofs in schools.
Initially I was taken with this argument but my wife raised objections: if the roof is leaking on students, patients, expensive equipment, is it really a valid comparison? Is the money really being well spent? In many years of debating and working with IT in the classroom I have never had to deal with this dilemma before: more used to thinking about wikileaks I now have to decide if I would fix the computer or the leak in the roof first. I know what I would do at home.
The original article is here (in Spanish): http://tinyurl.com/62wczdk