Some influential members of the Democratic party want to give electronic reading devices to every student in the country, reports the New York Times. "A Kindle in Every Backpack: A Proposal for eTextbooks in American Schools," by the Democratic Leadership Council, was published on the group’s web site July 14. Its authors argue that government should furnish each student in the country with a digital reading device, which would allow textbooks to be cheaply distributed and updated, and would allow teachers to tailor an interactive curriculum that effectively competes for the attention of their students in the digital age. "The ‘Kindle in every backpack’ concept isn’t just an educational gimmick–it could improve education quality and save money," the paper argues. The paper proposes a year-long pilot program, during which some 400,000 students would receive reading devices. If judged a success, the program would be gradually scaled up to include the entire student population within four years. They estimate such a project initially would cost about $9 billion more than the amount spent to acquire print textbooks but would save $700 million in textbook costs annually by the fifth year. The authors of the paper have ties to the Obama administration and influence within the Democratic party, although such an upfront government outlay in these economic times seems unlikely…

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