Editorial

President Clinton's plan to issue an executive order directing federal agencies to donate millions of dollars worth of excess computer equipment to our nation's schools deserves a special mention.

According to General Services Administration figures, federal agencies donated $88.6 million in computer equipment in fiscal 1995. A very small fraction of that total actually made its way into schools, according to a government source familiar with the program. Much of the gear was directed to other agencies, grantees, contractors and nonprofits.

Despite its laudable goals, the latest proposal is sure to draw its share of criticism. Indeed, talk of a Clinton order was met with skepticism by some who would be charged with carrying out the donations.

One reader suggested that our children shouldn't be subjected to "hand me down" equipment.

We agree that the directive has the potential to become a logistical nightmare. It's hard enough to figure out how much equipment the government owns, let alone how to equitably divide and safely distribute it to countless worthy entities.

But at a time when both city and county governments are looking to social services and education budgets to slash spending, we support any effort to funnel equipment to schools, whether it be "outdated" or not.

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