“Why should our school systems be paying for proprietary software when teachers are being laid off?”
Source: Computer World Blog
Update: Follow-up rant here
It is a question I wish the Community would ask superintendents and school boards more…problem is, sometimes, that conversation sometimes only flows one way. Why should programs like the NorthEast School of the Arts in NorthEast ISD be trimmed down when the District continues to pay expensive fees for MS Windows, MS Office, and other expensive proprietary software?
Let’s assume you have buy 2000 computers per year…multiply that by $40 licensing fee (approx) per machine for MS Windows, and you save $80,000, enough to pay for one teacher. Drop annual licensing fees for MS Office, and you save another “boatload” of money.
Financial exigency…it’s a scary term, yet we continue to hear it about it. And, it’s only going to get worse for the next budget year, not only in Texas but other states. We’re seeing a drop in tax revenue for overall in Texas of 10%. Are we THINKing DIFFERENT or still trying to crawl along with old approaches that are ineffective and spending that put schools in the hole?
Regrettably, “THINK DIFFERENT” today means think within the boxes provided. At a time when the operating system–Apple, Mac or GNU/Linux–seems to matter even less, we continue to focus on the two most popular ones. Why not switch all your computers to GNU/Linux, leaving applications like OpenOffice on them, but move everything to cloud computing?
If you are a school or district using GNU/Linux, please complete this short survey!
Low-income families, like poor school districts, need to be willing to try new things. And, often, they are…just not in the land of plenty (USA). I’m inclined to agree with some of the points made in this blog entry:
- Teachers Resistant to Change
- Teachers are Not Accountable for Technology
- School Boards are Technology Clueless
- Change the Grant Process
- Create a Technology Plan
Yet, some are brave enough to try:
A few growing pains aside, a Linux deployment in a Santa Rosa, CA elementary school district is maturing robustly, letting teachers and students stand apart from their previous dependence on Microsoft Windows while they try on new open software attitudes.
The transition in Santa Rosa from Windows NT 4 to Ubuntu Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) might not get an A+ mark based strictly on smoothness, suggested Jordan Erickson, who’s been overseeing the seven LTSP school networks ever since their launch about three years ago through his company, Silicon Valley-based Logical Networking Solutions (LNS). But overall, the Linux deployment is ranking highly with the seven schools involved, because it saves them money on Microsoft licenses, spares them from Windows upgrades, prevents computer viruses, and spurs greater collaboration, Erickson said.
The school district in Santa Rosa decided to switch to LTSP following a pilot program at a Boys and Girls Club in Petaluma, CA. Initially used in an after-school program for six-to-14-year-olds, the implementation at the kids’ clubhouse is still up and running, along with a smaller deployment at LNS, for a grand total of nine managed LTSP networks, all in Sonoma County. LNS administers the whole configuration from its offices in Santa Rosa, using Virtual Network Computing (VNC) over Secure Shell for Workstations (SSH) tunnels.
Source: Linux Makes the Grade in California Schools
A few Texas stars doing it (thanks to Don Davis and Ken Task)
(note: the inclusion of these folks and their districts does not constitute an endorsement of this blog entry…no, no one told me to put this disclaimer in, I just thought I would! (smile))
What would it take to make your superintendent and school board listen to reason? How much long will we spend money on software/hardware rather than on people? Let’s lower those class sizes, increase salaries, tighten operating budgets and get rid of every expense that takes money OUT of our District!
- Purchase hardware
- Install free, open source software
- Move to cloud computing where available, use the desktop where one must
- Stop paying for proprietary software like Windows, Mac OS, MS Office, iWork, iLife except in key multimedia stations.
How many teachers will we push out on the streets? How many classrooms will we pack with students? How many schools must close?
Think different…do it. NOW.
For those interested in pursuing K-12 Linux Terminal Server Project in schools, check out Don Davis’ resources for his upcoming TCEA 2010 Conference presentation. Thanks to Don for sharing!
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure