If I was a smart man, and I emphasize the word "if," I would open a laptop repair center next to every major school in Idaho. Why? Because there's about to be a lot of broken laptops in Idaho's future.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna thinks that for our teachers and students to excel in this digital age, they all need a laptop. I agree with that, to a certain extent. I do believe kids need access to computers and the internet, but I don't believe it's the responsibility of the state to buy everyone a laptop.

My point is this: my 12 year old step-son really wanted an iPod touch, so we got him one. He treated it very well up until the point where he tried to check his email and go to the bathroom at the same time. His iPod didn't work so well after being submerged in toilet water.

Here's what I can see going wrong with this program:

  • Broken screens because the laptop fell off the desk.
  • Can't connect to the school Wi-Fi so the teacher has to spend half the class troubleshooting the computer and not teaching.
  • Will teachers have to instruct "Windows 101" for students that aren't familiar with working on a computer?
  • Programs needed for instructions crash leaving students without a way to interact.
  • Kids intentionally damaging the devices.
  • Even if you block access to sites, kids will find a way around to restricted content.
  • If they laptops can't leave the building, what's the point of laptops?

Kids are kids. They do dumb things, and they break stuff--both accidentally and intentionally. Do we really want to hand them expensive laptop computers that the state has to pay for and repair?