School & District Management

California Teacher Under Fire for Buying Laptops for Students

By Elisha McNeil — January 14, 2016 1 min read
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A California teacher says her job is on the line for donating laptops to her students because they might not be allowed in the classroom.

Kim Kutzner, an English teacher at Chowchilla Union High School, and her husband, a computer specialist, bought and collected 90 computers using their own money—a $78,000 estimate—for her students to use in the classroom, according to The Fresno Bee.

The laptops were initially removed in November after school officials expressed concern over the equipment not being purchased and approved by the district—which reportedly offered to buy new computers.

“I thought I was going above and beyond ... When I first proposed it, I was told how generous it was,” Kutzner told The Fresno Bee. “It’s just absurd. It’s not logical or reasonable.”

Instead, Kutzner wants them to accept her system as a gift. She said that she wanted all of her students to have access to a device, and since bringing them into the classroom, student morale and test scores have improved.

“Usually, when I would assign them to write a 500-word story, I would hear groans and I couldn’t get them to focus. But now they go to work without a peep because they like using technology,” Kutzner said.

The biggest concern the district has, said Chowchilla Union Principal Justin Miller, is with policies concerning outside equipment and making sure the computers are safe and follow rules and regulations set up to protect student data and what they have access to. Student data management has been a major source of conflict for states and districts.

Kutzner insists that the computers are safe because they have no Internet connection and the system is custom designed by her husband.

The computers have since been returned to Kutzner’s classroom, but whether they stay is uncertain. Superintendent Ron Seals said that they are allowed in the classroom until the board makes a final decision.

Image: iStockphoto

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.