In 2002, the state of Maine signed a $37 million contract with Apple that provided laptops to 33,000 middle school students and 3,000 teachers, Mashable reports. The contract was extended in 2006 and expanded in 2009 to include some high schools. All seventh graders, all eighth graders, and students at 55% of Maine's high schools are currently issued laptops. At the launch of the initiative, the state made no apologies about how it had chosen to spend its one-time state surplus.

"The challenge is familiar, but the imperative is new: we must prepare young people to thrive in a world that...

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