You're looking at it the wrong way...
Pricing this Mac under $1k is strictly for the school's purchasing departments. If you are slotted $20k to upgrade the computer lab, voila, you can now fill it with 20 Macs.
Schools are tax exempt, so the only issue is whether or not Apple ships the computer free.
Yes, as an individual student or teacher, paying a little more for better specs should be reasonable, but buying electronics for schools have nothing to do with reason