Thank you for offering a very sensible reply. I agree that the right implementation would make a difference, and I suppose part of my being upset is not trusting our school district to do it right--they certainly have not offered any indication that they will do anything novel with these laptops. They just came in to a little extra money and it's burning a hole in their pocket.
I hope they offset the cost by putting open source textbooks on them, but I'm skeptical. School districts (including mine) seem to be happy to hop into bed with lobby interests (teacher unions, publishers) and someone the kids always come last. I hope they offer programming instruction, but I'm skeptical. I still think you can offer outstanding programming courses with a good school computer lab, but honestly, our kids are going to get neither through the schools. But I find joy in supplementing at home and have already worked with my oldest to learn some logic through Scratch.
Interactive/multimedia education is largely overrated from what I've seen. Personal, relational and interactional pedagogy seems to be the most effective, but laptops will drive education further from that. The temptation will be to build curriculum that turn the classroom teacher into little more than a babysitter.