Michigan iPod proposal influenced by Apple's dime?

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
A recent and controversial proposal by Democrats to purchase iPods for every schoolchild in Michigan may have been partially influenced by lobbying funds supplied by Apple, the Detroit Free Press is reporting.



According to the paper, Michigan Speaker of the House Andy Dillon and fellow party member Matt Gillard recently embarked on a 2 1/2-day trip to the west coast that included a visit to Apple's Cupertino-based campus where they discussed classroom technology and educational uses for the company's iconic digital media players.



The trip, which was reportedly funded in part by Apple, led to a $36 million proposal by Dillon last week to provide all Michigan students with iPods that they could use to download lectures and educational materials.



Representatives for Dillon did not provide details on the trip or say whether Apple paid for all or part of it, but Gillard is reported to have expressed his belief that the iPod maker covered at least a portion of the costs.



In statement to the media Tuesday evening, Dillon defended the trip by saying he was "one of several lawmakers to take this trip" and was now more "convinced than ever that the future for our children lies in education."



"As we move to the technology age and the knowledge-based economy, it would be irresponsible to separate technology from our K-12 system," he said. "I have four children, and I see how powerful technology is in their learning experience. While I believe that moving our classrooms into the 21st Century is critical to the future of our children and this state, I fully understand that unless and until we solve the state's fiscal crisis we cannot pursue this initiative."



Critics of the proposal have insinuated that policymakers are out of touch with Michigan's $600-million budget shortfall and the state's depressed economic conditions. They also view the iPod as less of an educational tool than a form of entertainment.



For his part, Gillard also defended the iPod proposal and the trip, arguing that lawmakers spent more time on non-Apple business, discussing such issues as wine distribution and Michigan business taxes. A spokesman for Dillon pointed out that similar trips have been taken in past years by other lawmakers, including many Republicans.



Matt Resch, a spokesman for the Republican leader in the House, said he believed the statement regarding Republicans was true. However, he was quick to add that those trips were never followed by the kind of proposal unveiled by the Democratic leadership to buy $36 million worth of Apple products.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    I can't see how they were ever going to manage to buy 1.65 million ipods for 36 million dollars AND buy things like computers and other equipment that the 36 million dollars was apparently set aside for.



    It doesn't take toooo much skill at mathematical wizardry like "division" to work that little gem out.



    Nothing to see here, this is a non-story cooked up by someone who wants media attention, move along, please.
  • Reply 2 of 28
    I love seeing leaders so fiscally responsible.
  • Reply 3 of 28
    Simple solution to the question of ethics -- if there is a legitimate government interest in politicians making these trips, then it should be the government that pays for them.
  • Reply 4 of 28
    This has already been debunked.



    It's a short article, but it gets straight to the point:



    http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=6345567
    Democrats talked about bringing technology to education during a press conference with House Speaker Andy Dillon last week. In that discussion, the idea of buying iPods or mp3 players for students came up.



    But quickly, the question "How can the state afford to buy iPods for students when there isn't enough money to go around right now?" was asked.



    In reality, there was never a plan to buy all students iPods. There is a $38 million line item to pay for technology, far less than it would take to buy mp3 players for 1.65 million students."
    Let's take a look at that last sentence. $38 million divided by 1.65 million students = $23 apiece. Even assuming that the entire $38 million went towards nothing but iPods (as opposed to other technology purchases), even the lowest-priced iPod (the Shuffle) costs $79 apiece. Granted, Apple would certainly give a large bulk purchase discount, but I can't imagine that they would've cut the price by over 70% on hardware (software is different, of course).



    Of course, once the meme gets into the public eye, it becomes ideal fodder for the the media to rip into, true or not.



    The Democratic leadership evidently DIDN'T propose to buy $36 million (or was it $38 million? The Free Press somehow lost $2 million between the first story and the second one...) worth of Apple products.



    My guess is that it actually played out something like this:
    "Hey, I read something about Duke University running a test program where they gave iPods to every student to record & listen to lectures, language classes, that sort of thing...what about putting some money towards that?"



    "Nah, for one thing, the results at Duke are still inconclusive; besides, thanks to the Republicans cutting the SBT without anything to replace it, we don't have enough money in the budget to buy a friggin' SONG off of iTunes, much less a whole iPod. Forget about it.



    "Yeah, I guess you're right. OK, what other technology initiatives are worth looking at?"
    The larger point? DISCUSSING an idea (even if it's a bad one) is hardly the same thing as making that idea part of a FORMAL PROPOSAL, and the Free Press ought to know better.
  • Reply 5 of 28
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,756member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by schmidm77 View Post


    Simple solution to the question of ethics -- if there is a legitimate government interest in politicians making these trips, then it should be the government that pays for them.



    Nice. Anything could be called "legitimate" with even a half-hearted argument, but guess who still gets stuck with the bill?
  • Reply 6 of 28
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    How about 36,000 iMacs instead? I'd vote for that.



    Actually, drop that number down to 25,000 so the schools can get proper networking in place.
  • Reply 7 of 28
    swiftswift Posts: 436member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BlueDjinn View Post


    This has already been debunked.

    ....

    The Democratic leadership evidently DIDN'T propose to buy $36 million (or was it $38 million? The Free Press somehow lost $2 million between the first story and the second one...) worth of Apple products.

    ....

    The larger point? DISCUSSING an idea (even if it's a bad one) is hardly the same thing as making that idea part of a FORMAL PROPOSAL, and the Free Press ought to know better.



    What, you mean the media might make up a false story for everybody to get into a rampage about? Might this be the same b.s. as Nancy Pelosi "demanding" a "luxury plane", when the Sergeant at Arms made a request for the third in the succession for president to travel to her home district? No, couldn't be!



    To Apple Insider staff: in America, we generally capitalize the names of political parties, to distinguish them from regular nouns. Thus, Democratic party, not democratic. Republican, not republican. Discuss. "The Republican party, increasingly, is monarchical, not republican."
  • Reply 8 of 28
    schmidm77schmidm77 Posts: 223member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Nice. Anything could be called "legitimate" with even a half-hearted argument, but guess who still gets stuck with the bill?



    Actually, I would tend to believe that mandatory use of public funds would naturally lead to greater scrutiny in the types of travel taken by public officials.
  • Reply 9 of 28
    porchlandporchland Posts: 478member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BlueDjinn View Post


    Let's take a look at that last sentence. $38 million divided by 1.65 million students = $23 apiece. Even assuming that the entire $38 million went towards nothing but iPods (as opposed to other technology purchases), even the lowest-priced iPod (the Shuffle) costs $79 apiece. Granted, Apple would certainly give a large bulk purchase discount, but I can't imagine that they would've cut the price by over 70% on hardware (software is different, of course).



    Yeah, I'm glad to see serious journalism is alive and well on the Internet.



    If this were true as reported, Apple should be applauded for subsidizing iPods to Michigan students by selling 1.65 million iPods BELOW COST.



    Thanks, AI!
  • Reply 10 of 28
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,756member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by schmidm77 View Post


    Actually, I would tend to believe that mandatory use of public funds would naturally lead to greater scrutiny in the types of travel taken by public officials.



    One might think so, but instances of public funds being mishandled is a two-party problem... literally!
  • Reply 11 of 28
    He got stevenotised.
  • Reply 12 of 28
    pmjoepmjoe Posts: 565member
    This is where something that's like an iPhone, but not a phone, might come in handy. But an iPod, with no: voice recorder, scheduler/planner, way to store/view/edit other content (like eBooks) would be pretty useless. Bacially a PDA, but based on OS X would be the big plus. Anyhow, sounds like this has been debunked as more fiction than fact.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    There is this thing called a "book" that doesn't even need electricity and is very cheap to replace. I think it's going to be the next big thing.
  • Reply 14 of 28
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 1984 View Post


    There is this thing called a "book" that doesn't even need electricity and is very cheap to replace. I think it's going to be the next big thing.



    Is it easy to operate or does it come with a user manual?
  • Reply 15 of 28
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 1984 View Post


    There is this thing called a "book" that doesn't even need electricity and is very cheap to replace. I think it's going to be the next big thing.



    Yeah! Until they all get recalled. I hear that if you hold an open flame to them they may catch fire. I hear it will pale the Sony battery recall.
  • Reply 16 of 28
    Ohio already has laws in place preventing this. I don't feel Apple is doing anything wrong here, they are only doing it the way they have to to get their products into the governmental entities, if the government allows it, that is how they have to do it, If Apple didn't, someone else would.
  • Reply 17 of 28
    mac>pcmac>pc Posts: 3member
    I was raised and schooled in Michigan.



    The state doesn't need more "cool" and new technology. It needs better quality teachers. (At least the High School I went to.)
  • Reply 18 of 28
    Hey now, I don't know where you went to school but Michigan has some of the best Teachers in the US, at least in the Metro Detroit area.
  • Reply 19 of 28
    Buying iPods for schoolchildren with public funds is a complete waste of money. iPods have almost no educational use; they are almost entirely for entertainment.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by andrewpmk View Post


    Buying iPods for schoolchildren with public funds is a complete waste of money. iPods have almost no educational use; they are almost entirely for entertainment.



    Read my post above. Neither iPods (nor music players in general) were EVER specified in the budget proposal. This appears to be sloppy journalism at best.
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