When I was young, we didn't need handheld computers or fancy tablets in order to receive a quality education. All we needed was some books and some good, old-fashioned hard work.

Yeah, I also walked to school uphill, both ways, and often wasn't even wearing shoes. There was broken glass on the streets, too. And tigers chasing us. Yeah, tigers.

No doubt, when reading or hearing about the massive technology upgrade that Michigan City Area Schools is looking to execute, those thoughts — or perhaps something less extreme — run through the minds of people from a certain generation. I graduated from high school in 1998, and plenty has changed even since then. We had computer labs and what-not, but the idea of each student having a school-issued computer is something that never entered my mind. It simply wasn't an option.

But 2015 is a very different time. Computers have changed the way we do, well, everything. Education shouldn't be excluded from that.

Also, public school education is an increasingly competitive field. With the idea of open enrollment and school vouchers, parents have more options now than at any point in history as to where to send their children to receive an education.

In order to stay competitive, school corporations like MCAS have to keep up with the trends that parents feel are important. Technology is, without question, one of those trends.

As Kevin McGuire, MCAS' technology guru, pointed out during a presentation at Tuesday's City Council meeting, surrounding towns and cities are taking major leaps forward in the area of technology available for their students. Once at the forefront on this issue, MCAS is now seriously lagging behind.

Hey, the recession hit everyone hard, and everyone knows the previous administration at MCAS left the current one with hefty bills to pay. I'm not here to assign blame for the state of the technology available for MCAS students, but at the same time acknowledge that something needs to be done.

Issues like redevelopment and education go hand in hand. Without a competitive school system, redevelopment becomes more difficult.

For that reason, I'm thrilled to see MCAS and the city working together to try and get this done for local students. A resolution was introduced Tuesday and then tabled as the council and MCAS works together to figure out exactly what can be done in terms of dollars to help out MCAS students.

Often we hear from people that these two entities should be working together, and now it's happening for the common good. Though I'm surprised to see some members of the council supporting this idea based on their very public stances about reckless riverboat spending, I'm still thrilled to see this kind of cooperation.

This is the kind of stuff riverboat money should be used for, in addition to capital improvement projects. I know there's only so much to go around, but if we can't help our kids get a leg up in the classroom, then we have a serious mix-up in priorities.

Kudos to everyone involved.

Contact Managing Editor Adam Parkhouse at aparkhouse@thenewsdispatch.com or 1-219-214-4170.

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