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

by on November 19, 2004

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.

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