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Thursday, May 19, 2005

CBS 46 Atlanta - UGA drops out of laptop program

CBS 46 Atlanta - UGA drops out of laptop programMarietta
UGA drops out of laptop program
May 19, 2005, 12:12 PM

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) -- The University of Georgia is no longer evaluating the Cobb County schools' laptop program, citing questions about its objectivity that could undermine the computer initiative. The university was Apple Computer's choice to evaluate the $70 million program, which eventually could give laptops to all teachers and to students in middle and high school.

University of Georgia's Learning and Performance Support Laboratory director Michael Hannafin, in a May 10 letter to Cobb Superintendent Joe Redden, said the group was dropping out of the review because the objectivity of the research lab had been questioned for several weeks. "While these concerns are baseless, it is nonetheless essential that the citizens of Cobb County have utmost confidence in the integrity of the evaluation," Hannafin wrote.

The laptop program "is a significant undertaking and should not be undermined by unwarranted distractions." Hannafin did not identify the source of the questioning, but said Cobb would be better served by starting over with an evaluation team whose objectivity would not be questioned.

"To me, it was an issue of where is the greater good served," Hannafin said. Before moving to the second or third phases of the program, the school system wanted a study on the issue.

Bids from Dell, IBM and Apple all included proposals for who would conduct a study on the program's effectiveness. Based on the number of computers provided, Apple agreed to pay $214,540 for the University of Georgia to study the program.

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