Just read this article. Here’s an excerpt:

The government of Libya reached an agreement with an American nonprofit group to provide inexpensive laptop computers to all of its 1.2 million schoolchildren, The New York Times reported in Wednesday’s editions.

The project, scheduled to be completed by June 2008, could make Libya the first nation to enable all school-age children to connect to the Internet through educational computers, said Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of One Laptop per Child.

The $250 million deal, reached Tuesday, would provide the nation with 1.2 million computers, a server in each school, a team of technical advisers, satellite Internet service and other infrastructure.

That’s wonderful and great for Libya. Frankly though, I read this not with a sense of excitement but with sinking shame. If countries like Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria and Thailand think it’s important to get laptops into the hands of their schoolchildren and get all of them online, why do American children merit less than Libyan children? If the Libyan government can find $250 million USD to fund this, is there any part of the $1 billion a day we are spending on the civil war in Iraq that we as a nation could use on U.S. schoolchildren? OK, maybe not all kids if it’s “too expensive” to Leave No Child Behind. How about we start with just the poor ones living in rural or urban communities? Is it so crazy to think about getting them laptops and wi-fi access along with children in third-world countries??? I guess so…

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