El Fantasmo (1057616) writes "First, I work in public education, K-12, for a small, economically shaky, low performing school district.
What are some good or effective tactics for getting budget controllers to stop bypassing the IT boss/department? We sometimes we end up with LOW end MS Win 7 Home laptops, that basically can't get on our network (internet only) or be managed. The purchaser refuses to return them for proper setups. Unfortunately, IT is currently under the "asst. superintendent of curriculum and instruction," who has no useful understanding of maintaining and acquiring IT resources and lets others make poor IT purchasing decisions, by bypassing the IT department, and dips into IT funds when their pet project budgets run low. How can this be reversed when you get commands like "make it work" and the budget is effectively $0?
El Fantasmo writes "My main point is, "Who decides who gets to have advanced technologies such as nuclear energy?" and "Why can't countries/governments just come out and say e.g., 'Hey, Iran, we just don't trust that you won't turn Israel into a sheet of green glass.' when they suspect the technology to be used to harm?"
An interview of Henry Kissinger by Greta van Susteren sparked this. Why is it OK for Henry Kissinger to tell Iran that they have no reason to pursue nuclear energy because they have plenty of natural gas and oil to burn? Who is the United States to forbid "environmentally friendly" energies? Yes, I understand that the precess for nuclear fuel enrichment and weapons grade are exactly the same and Iran isn't open about what's actually going on, but does that mean they can't have nuclear energy until they have nuclear weapons? Kissinger, apparently, doesn't even entertain the idea of an open and inspectable nuclear energy program. Are these the kinds of minds to which we should listen, respect and value? We don't let foreigners inspect our nuclear facilities because they think we're doing something fishy. Who/where are the companies providing all the specialized equipment, ore and/or yellow cake?
I don't think anyone has concrete answers, but I'm wondering how/if the/. community thinks "advanced technologies" should be leveraged or allocated from the "haves" to the "have nots." Please, don't focus too much on US, Iranian politics; it's just a current example." Link to Original Source top
El Fantasmo writes "A school district I work for in Texas is considering spending $50k to put in a 14 station Pitsco Synergistic Algebra Lab (hands on math learning). It actually costs about $120k; a grant is going to pay the remanding $70k, and the reoccurring expendables for the lab are not budgeted in. It's a first time principal this academic year but she used to work at the district before; her previous district used this lab and she doesn't like what we are using which we just spent a bunch of money on. The tower server they are offering us is a $2500 Dell PowerEdge 840 (all but one of our servers are rack mount), with no tape backup (comes with external hard drive backup, not good if there is a power spike), the OS and database would be on the same drive, SATA 2 drive on board raid 0, slowest Xeon with 2Gb of RAM. The teacher "needs" a laptop so they can walk and monitor the students and use it at the same time; in addition it's "needed" so Pitsco can upload software/updates to it at training seminars; it costs almost as much as the server. There is no room wired to support 15 clustered systems (we're trying not to put in un-managed switches anymore, especially on student stations). Pitsco says it needs to be a dedicated server and it can be co-located with the lab and the lab instructor will take care of all the tech responsibilities (3 miles from all our other servers just so they don't have to run wires). The district has a bad habit of hiring under qualified people to save money to run $120k worth of equipment used by secondary school students. A similar lab sits in disrepair at the middle school. Remember, this Synergistic Algebra Lab will only accommodate 14 students at a time. By Pitsco's standalone lab design, if the program works well a second lab may not easily incorporate into and existing one.
We are a small district with 800+ workstations, about 8 servers, and 5 IT staff to include the boss (only 3 of which are full time) to cover 9 separate locations. We have about 70+ 1.1 GHz Celerons with 128-256 MGb RAM and WinXP as teacher computers at the high school. VERY FEW teachers have anything newer, lots of complaints about this (it's the antivirus and antispyware that slows them down a bit but keeps more of them up). There are 4 new computer labs (approx. 24 stations each) put in in the last 1-3 years; an 2 others that are about 4 years old. We have a gigabit fiber backbone to all campuses and most of the switches are 10/100/1000. All the servers are centralized at our office. Servers are mostly Netware and some Windows.
We are a low performing school district by TEA TASK standards, but getting better. We currently have 2 network/web based math applications available to students: Plato Learning Systems for credit and tutorial and RiverDeep for tutorial/enhancement. There are no dedicated student workstations in the classrooms, no wireless network anywhere, most rooms still use classic overhead projectors. We have 60 hodgepodge "mobile media carts" the former principal circumvented the IT department to "make a deal and get more for his money" (projector, Piece Of S... doc camera on a table w/wheels, which they didn't buy power strips or electrical cords for) and that's kind of it.
Any suggestions or opinions on how to better spend $50k in technology to support students and teachers at a high school level is welcomed. Feel free to agree with the Pitsco Lab idea as well, just explain. We have a few ideas of our own, but I always welcome more. Hope I didn't forget any useful information. Thanks in advance!"