Letters

Letters

0

Disputing Your IT Advice

I WAS DISAPPOINTED when I read "Are You Being Served" [August 2003, p. 35] and found poor advice in the sidebar on page 36. Under the heading "Shop Around," the advice provided [to not choose one vendor just for convenience] ignores the value of standardizing on certain hardware platforms, and even on specific brands and models. This is not "get[ting] in bed with one vendor," rather this kind of standardization can greatly lower the Total Cost of Ownership for the school district. Shopping around and purchasing the "server du jour" from the "vendor du jour" may be the cheapest alternative up front, but you will pay for it eventually in increased TCO. Another piece of bad advice falls under the "Undercoating Trick." While buyers must carefully evaluate their needs, it can be a good idea to purchase extended warranties and/or warranties that guarantee a four-hour response time, especially if the server is particularly critical. Again, you may save in upfront costs, but extended warranties can help you predict costs. Remember, downtime does increase TCO. I believe it is important that my colleague school district IT decision-makers receive sound advice based on what we know are effective practices. -Bob Moore

Executive Director,

Information Technology

Blue Valley USD 229

Overland Park, Kansas

Stop the Tests

THANK YOU FOR THE COLUMN IN THE JULY 2003 DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION ["Halt the Testing Madness," By Gary Stager, p. 48]. It is about time that someone stood up for children and made a stand against this Orwellian federal- imposed testing mania. It has taken public education nearly 100 years to overcome the first "business model" foisted on us from industry. Now we are enduring the second wave of education based on a new business model. Perhaps someone should understand that kids are not widgets on an assembly line. I too hold Education Week in contempt and refuse to read it anymore. Has anyone bothered to check the dropout rates in Texas or other states where purportedly, achievement miracles are taking place? -Geoffrey Thomas

Superintendent

Madison School District 321

Rexburg, Idaho

Write On

MY RESPONSE [TO GARY STAGER'S MAY COLUMN, "A Lotta Coloring Goin' On," p. 63] is, simply, "terrific." I think Mr. Stager's thinking is clear and uncluttered with false preconceptions. As a successful grant writer, fourth-grade teacher and nationally board-certified teacher, I find he is in tune with the reality of day-to-day teaching in a real classroom. Many of his aside comments hit the mark directly. As part of my recent performance evaluation, my principal chose to comment on the "exceptional" nature of my classroom writing program. Gary's article is so outstanding that I have printed it out to share with my principal, and I think it will be a "jumping off" point for more in-depth discussion and to borrow a phrase, "accountable talk." My students are currently publishing their stories on our classroom Web site and not skipping any of the steps of the writing process. I felt encouraged and reinforced in my efforts when the column pointed out the importance of this. -Laura Seiple, Teacher

Taper Avenue Elementary

Los Angeles Unified School District

San Pedro, California


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