Kirk Beideman on 13 May 2012 16:21:50 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Can FOSS help school districts in trouble?

Just one of the many areas FOSS can have a technical and financial impact.  This is a topic I have thought about many times and have even, in the course of several job interviews, tried to promote to some school districts.

One obstacle is the many misconceptions and perceived shortcomings of FOSS. Many school districts think about increased training, assurance and lack of quality support channels.  I know of at least one school district that has spent near millions on large software package that has yet to live up to expectations, yet are satisfied that training is readily available and 24 hour support.

Yes we need to start small, and yes it is more than a technical issue. But an effort needs to be given because the rewards are many.  The education system needs to be..well..educated.

-Kirk B

Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

-------- Original message --------
Subject: [PLUG] Can FOSS help school districts in trouble?
From: "K.S. Bhaskar" <>
To: Philadelphia Linux User's Group Discussion List <>

Our local school district is in trouble.  No, I am not thinking of their financial woes right now, although money certainly is at the heart of this evil.  When money was less scarce, they acquired with pride the latest technology - proprietary of course - some of it because the IT deparment makes selections on autopilot, some of it useful but not essential, and some of it downright wasteful and misleading.  Now that money is tight, the school district is considering demoting senior teachers instead of taking a long, hard look at the IT budget.  So, the trouble our school district is in is ongoing woolly-headed decision making by the administration: they are still spending more money on IT than they need.

It being better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, I would like to help showcase free / open source software in K12 education, to control IT costs without compromising educational performance - indeed perhaps even to enhance the educational experience since FOSS does not set artificial boundaries as to what one can learn.

I think it makes sense to start with a single school, too impoverished to even think about serious IT spending, and then move to a suburban school district and then to the school district for a city ... on our way to world domination, of course!  This is a journey, not a destination.

As much as solving technical issues, we need to document and publicize.  So, from the start, we need to get the press involved.  We need to blog about it and we need to be able to reach out to the public, Government and others to talk about it as it goes.  So we need people with talent beyond technical skills.

To that end, this post is to see who shares my interest in such an endeavor.  Thank you very much.

-- Bhaskar

Windows does to computers what smoking does to humans
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