Much like lobbyists in Washington, teachers, parents and enthusiasts are crusading Macs through the hallways of American schools in a “battle for survival” in education, according to a
report in the February issue of
Freelance reporter Jason Tanz writes of brand loyalty to the Mac by teachers across the U.S. who are finding it increasingly difficult to justify the Apple product in an ever-increasing world of Windows-based PCs.
“Faced with the prospect of a Mac-less classroom, teachers … are waging guerilla war against principals, superintendents, and school boards that dare to mess with their machines,” Tanz wrote. “Their arguments are rooted in reason — Macs make for better learning tools, they say. But it’s clear that a lot of these teachers also have their identities as professionals wrapped up in the machine.”
In the article, Tanz reviews the history of the Mac in education and gives balance by explaining both sides of a continuing war among many who say, among other things, that maintaining both PC and Macintosh networks is impossible, versus those who view Windows as a Mac rip-off.
A teacher in Van Nuys, Calif. probably put it best for teachers who remain loyal to the platform: “Compared to the Mac experience, using a PC is like death by a thousand bee stings.”
Here are some choice excerpts from the article:
“You work on a PC, but you create on the Mac,” says Marco Torres, a social studies teacher at San Fernando High School in Los Angeles. Torres’ class produced desktop movies using Apple’s Final Cut software. “The Mac allows you to focus more on the projects and less on the actual technology.”
“Some teachers are challenging the powers that be — and risking a lot. John Eller, a Des Moines, Iowa, journalism teacher, has been going to school board meetings for almost a year to fight plans to phase out Macs. Using the three minutes allotted each meeting to those who come before the board, he’s presented a sequential argument for keeping the Macs. Eller has been cautioned against making enemies with district leaders, but he’s continuing his quixotic quest in part to defend the autonomy of teachers.” “Of course, not all Mac evangelists win the day. Susan Witham has been adviser to her high school’s yearbook staff in Medina, Texas, for four years, and she desperately needs another computer. There’s just one problem: The school’s new technology coordinator is not a Macintosh fan. If she’s refused a Mac, Witham says she’ll do without an extra computer. “The year after this one, I can retire,” she says. “When I’m out of here, these guys can do what they want to do.”