State awards Hewlett Packard contract for school laptop program

AUGUSTA – Thousands of Maine students will be firing up Hewlett Packard laptop computers when school starts this fall, the governor’s office announced Saturday.

The Maine Department of Education announced Friday that Hewlett Packard was awarded the contract in the Maine Learning Technology Initiative’s latest bid process, according to a press release.

The Hewlett Packard ProBook 4440 running Windows 8 software will be made available as the primary technology and learning solution as part of the initiative.

“It is important that our students are using technology that they will see and use in the workplace,” said Gov. Paul LePage. “This is the lowest-priced proposal, and the laptops use an operating system that is commonly used in the workplace in Maine. These laptops will provide students with the opportunity to enhance their learning and give them experience on the same technology and software they will see in their future careers.”

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative is an integral part of the department’s strategy to achieve the new Common Core State Standards, as well as implement new proficiency-based learning systems, according to Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen.

“It’s about how we use technology to enhance student learning by giving students access to tools that will be used for creativity, to access content and to allow them to communicate and collaborate with peers around the world,” he said in the press release. “MLTI devices are as good as the teaching that goes with them. Laptops and the tremendous resources they allow students to access are a part of how we engage students in their learning and make that learning relevant.”

While the Hewlett Packard laptop proposal is the state’s primary solution, LePage said in the release that middle schools would be able to choose any of the five proposals awarded through a competitive bidding process and the state would cover the cost up to the amount of the HP proposal. At the high school level, where districts pay for the devices themselves with the support of state targeted technology funds, the state will leverage its buying power to get the lowest price possible on any of the solutions.

The five proposals come from three vendors: Hewlett Packard, which also was awarded for a tablet solution; Apple, which proposed both an iPad and a MacBook Air laptop solution; and CTL, with a Windows laptop solution.

Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

Sean Doughty, 13, of the Sacopee Valley Middle School in Hiram sits with his Apple laptop in 2012. Students will start using Hewlett Packard computers beginning in the fall of 2013.

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PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The governor employed the bid

The governor employed the bid process and chose the lowest responsible bid. If he hadn't done that you left wing boo birds would be ragging all over his ass for that. Whether what he does is right or wrong, he's going to get crapped on by the left anyway, so he might just as well do what he wants and move on.

Actually no, they wouldn't.

Actually no, they wouldn't. Lefties love Apple products as much as they lover their lefty politics. So it would have put them in a real bind.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Only if they had cheese with

Only if they had cheese with their Apples. 0O:-)

Jason Theriault's picture


If learning to use a new operating system is tantamount to learning a new language, then they should have been learning on Windows PC from the get go. 90%+ of computers out there are Windows pc's.

But, if you can figure out how to use a windows pc, well, then you're in trouble. The same marketplace these kids are going into expect them to be able to learn and adapt, and if an OS change is insurmountable, well, I can't imagine employers having much trouble replacing you.

Jason Theriault's picture


But, if you can't figure out how to use a windows pc, well, then you're in trouble

AL PELLETIER's picture

I'm really technology challanged.

Does this means school kids will have to figure out a new way to access porn on their new HP laptops?

Thomas Hamilton's picture


I don't see the advantage of changing to HP. More training, and less educational software.


Again our kids get to start

Again our kids get to start all over....they have been learning on Macs for years and not they are going onto different operating about wasting more time teaching them how to use the equipment versus actually teaching them. This governor is a moron and maybe he needs to go back to school. He complains are students are stupid and yet he is going to make schools take time out of teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic to teach how to use the new computers. I, personally, am not a fan of Windows 8 and don't see where it will improve anything in our school systems.

David  Cote's picture

So Tina...

It seems I must have missed the story in which Gov. LePage referenced students as being "stupid." I'd appreciate it if you can cite the resource of his comment. I also found it interesting you chose to call LePage a "moron" while railing on him because he alledgedly called students "stupid." I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And whether you, or anyone else, like mac or windows doesn't matter here. Setting the kids up for a successful future is what's important. Windows is widely used in business. Why train these kids on a machine and process they won't see much of in the real world?


A poison pill

I guess if someone wanted to kill the program that supplies computers in the schools this would be as good a way to do it as any. When Apple computers were chosen in the beginning it was because they had the best educational software. The schools all have that software and most of it will not run with HP computers. So are we to start over? The governor has money for that? Probably not since my recollection of HP educational software is that it was pretty much on par with the Saturday morning cartoons. Also Apple provided reliable repair services and teacher training. Without teacher training in best educational practices, computers in school become toys rather than learning tools and you have defeated the point of having them. I wonder if anybody even asked the techs that are now in charge of the computer programs in our schools for their input. I'm guessing no. If there is one thing Maine schools have done right it is the in-school computer program. We pioneered it and other states have used us as their model for years. Talk about fixing something that isn;t broken. This governor seems to be hell bent on leaving nothing standing in this state when he leaves. We're looking more and more like El Salvador every day he is in office.

Jason Theriault's picture

Come on

First off, he let the lower grades do whatever they want, so they can stick to Macs.

Secondly, the high schoolers don't need software as much as machines were they can access material on the internet and write reports and whatnot.

And, just an FYI - there is a metric TON more software out there for PC's than Macs.

To be fair, at the high school level, they don't need much more than a netbook.

David Pinkham's picture

educational software for PC ??

Sorry Jason, you're way off the mark here. Windows OS is by far the worst thing to happen to computers, and education. To go backwards now is to kill the program. What the heck were they thinking ???

Jason Theriault's picture


Nuh uh.
Windows machines are just fine, and will not kill the program.

Explain to me how Windows will kill the program?


Who pays?

Am I correct in my assumption that lower grades can use the Macs but the local budget will have to pick up the cost for the difference? Nice way to shove that onto the local property tax again. And what happens to the teacher training programs and the repair and replacement programs. A ton of software does not necessarily mean good. We have a ton of fast food in this country too and its cheap and it's no good. Most of the stuff I saw, granted a few years ago, was like those Golden Books. Mainly it was a platform to sell Disney and Hasbro plastic junk and I saw very little in the way of educational value. Come to think of it isn't HP from Texas and Disney from Florida two of the governor's sources of funds and inspiration? Maybe that influenced this decision. I agree about the high school. They could probably do as well with notebooks. With the advent of on-line courses for them though it will be important that their computers be compatible and up to the task. As of a couple of years ago students in my high school were three and four students to one textbook so anything they get will be a huge improvement.


Low bid myth

While keeping costs low is admirable and plays well with those who are basically headline readers, I am always skeptical about the long term costs.

An example in road construction - going low bid isn't really a great idea if the road must be rebuilt two decades later. In Europe, bids are let on a combination of factors not the least of which is a bond guaranteeing the product for a specific set of years. A road guaranteed for 50 years will get the nod over one guaranteed for 20 even if it costs 50% more - in the long run, it's cheaper

Apple is not known as the Cadillac of computers without reason. They are better built than most PC's. HP may be a good machine, but is it as well built and as easily maintained? I fear, as with most things, Augusta is more concerned with the 90 day costs than with costs 5 years down the road.

Don't even get me started on Windows vs the Mac OS. If te Mac OS can be compared to a BMW, Windows is the Yugo.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"An example in road

"An example in road construction--going low bid isn't really a great idea if the road must be rebuilt two decades later."
What do you know about road construction? What works in Europe doesn't necessarily mean it's right for America.
Twenty years longevity for a road in MAINE is pretty darn good.

It's a good decision

For economic as well as practical reasons. 90% of business uses PCs based on Windows (XP mostly, but the upgrades are finally moving along). Macs may have lots of wow factor and cool looking software, but keeping the kids on what is essentially a niche platform is wasteful and not preparing them for their future careers (unless it is one in the creative sector -- Mac based design and artistic software still beeats the pants off of any PC). Macs are overpriced and because of their proprietary nature, expensive to maintain once they are out of warranty. As a computer technician, I have worked with both, and I have worked with both in the schools. In spite of the MLTI one-to-one program for the middle schools, most districts get Windows based PCs for their high schools. Why? Because they cost half what the Macs do, and they are the computers that most of those kids will be using when they enter the workforce.

Jason Theriault's picture


Listen, I am a fan of Apple. I have a MAC and I have a iOS developer license. However, my primary computers, both at work and home are windows 7 pcs. The OSes at this point are so similar at this point, really, it's not a big deal.

Anyway, I don't think it matters that much anyway. Apple computers are using X86 chipsets now, and OSX is based on Linux. And I don't see tablets becoming the go to yet for business users. SO this choice is fine by me, especially since it frees up middle and lower grades to go to tablets, which I can see becoming more and more of a business tool


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