School + Cyber = Savin’s, but School + Cyber + Public=BIG$$

by on November 19, 2004 · 2 comments

There’s a good ol’ political dust-up underway about whether Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum should have educated his children through the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School. He owns a house in the district served by the school, but his family’s main residence is in Virginia. He’s taken the kids out of the cyber school in favor of the home-schooling option.

One school board member’s demand that Santorum pay back $100,000 might be a little more revealing than she wants it to be.

It reminds me of a congressional junket I went on one time (sponsored by Qwest, if full disclosure interests you). In Southern Oregon, we visited all these companies that were using broadband to ramp up their efficiency and business processes. Then we visited a public entity – some kind of special school, I honestly can’t remember – that was using technology in similar ways. They went through all the great tech stuff they were doing and concluded with how important it was to be able to get funding for it all.

HOLD IT! Every place in the private sector, technology was bringing down costs while improving services. But in the public sector, technology was a new cost-center. It didn’t pass the smell test. Rather, it stunk. A bit of that aroma is on this story.

Santorum has five kids, and he might have been sending them to this school for a number of years, but cyber-education should be closer to free than $100,000.

  • http://vark.blogspot.com arbitrary aardvark

    The open source movement has the potential to offer free universal education at close to zero cost, at which point the socialized education racket is going to have to be more upfront that the service they provide is preventative detention rather than education. maybe i’m not looking in the right places, but this should be reasonably easy to do. for a school district that wants to offer japanese and arabic and lakota and hawaian in addition to spanish, it’s easier to point to the online software than to hire teachers. for the motivated kid who wants to study a little extra math, or needs a little extra help to catch up with the class, it’s easier to point to the online software than to fund saturday school. This is true even if the district has to write the software themselves, but once it’s done once, it can be given away to the world.
    I dont undersantd why this isn’t happening more, or with higher visibility, but I think it’s unstoppable.
    Maybe your readers can provide links to good cheap or free online schools?

  • http://vark.blogspot.com arbitrary aardvark

    The open source movement has the potential to offer free universal education at close to zero cost, at which point the socialized education racket is going to have to be more upfront that the service they provide is preventative detention rather than education. maybe i’m not looking in the right places, but this should be reasonably easy to do. for a school district that wants to offer japanese and arabic and lakota and hawaian in addition to spanish, it’s easier to point to the online software than to hire teachers. for the motivated kid who wants to study a little extra math, or needs a little extra help to catch up with the class, it’s easier to point to the online software than to fund saturday school. This is true even if the district has to write the software themselves, but once it’s done once, it can be given away to the world.
    I dont undersantd why this isn’t happening more, or with higher visibility, but I think it’s unstoppable.
    Maybe your readers can provide links to good cheap or free online schools?

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