Can we afford to give every child in America a laptop?


at the TechLearning blog


A few back-of-the-envelope


here (estimating conservatively when in doubt)...

A. Number of students and teachers



public school students


public school teachers (full-time)


teachers and students

B. Cost per laptop (a regular laptop, not the OLPC laptop)

$1,993 average district cost per client computer per year [from the three One-to-One CoSN Total

Cost Per Ownership (TCO) Case Studies

1.5 (I'm adding 50% just to

err on the safe side)
$2,990 average district cost per client computer

per year (let's call it $3,000)

C. Total cost to give every student and teacher a laptop

53.3 million teachers and students (see A above)
$3,000 average

district cost per client computer per year (see B above)
$159.9 billion

(let's call it $160 billion)

D. Gross domestic product (GDP)

$13 trillion (United States GDP, overall)

(percentage of United States

GDP spent on K-12 education

$442 billion (amount

in United States spent on K-12 education)

E. Percentage of GDP

$160 billion (see C above)
$442 billion (see D above)

36% of the overall United States K-12 education expense to

give every teacher and student a regular laptop

$160 billion (see C above)
$13 trillion (see D above)

1.2% of the overall United States GDP to give every teacher

and student a regular laptop

Obviously this is very rough, but hopefully it's also thought-provoking. It

is highly possible that my numbers are incorrect somewhere. If you think I left

something out or miscalculated, let me know. Also, of course, opportunities for

savings abound (e.g., open source software, bulk discounts, buying OLPC laptops

instead of regular ones) and those would have to be factored in as well.

So can we afford to give every child (and teacher) in America a laptop? You

tell me...

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Why avoiding logical fallacies is an everyday superpower

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Photo credit: Miguel Henriques on Unsplash
Personal Growth
  • Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
  • Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
  • Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less