Colorado superintendents have recently become more vocal. They want more local control. They want to be in charge of making financial decisions for their districts. And they need support. They state, “It can’t be just us. We need parents and teachers and people who care about their communities to let legislators know they’re not willing for their local schools to be run this way,” Glass said.
I am guessing that these superintendents would be even more vocal, and share more information, if we could indeed get the parents and teachers to rally behind them. Dare I say, that some of them might - just might - support opt out? I have always believed that there are a lot of good folks at the top who also would speak out, if only they had the backing to do so.
The article (see link above) continues by talking about online standardized testing - an unfunded mandate:
While state lawmakers are keeping the purse strings tight at one end, superintendents claim they’re forcing local school districts to come up with money to pay for unfunded mandates. One of the latest is the state and federal departments of education demanding that standardized testing move online, but providing no money for schools to buy the gear.
It will cost Eagle County Schools $2 million to buy the Google Chromebooks it will need. If each of Colorado’s 832,368 students get a $312 Google Chromebook, that unfunded mandate will cost schools statewide $259,698,816.
260 million. Yes, you heard that right.
My own district is purchasing Chromebooks. I do wonder about the details of this purchase - what will it cost? How long will they last?
I decided to dig a bit more into Chromebooks and their costs. I came across another article where it states: The price of the Chromebook is very attractive, but the potential cost of extra bandwidth, including routers, switches, and servers might prove to be excessively expensive, thus cancelling out the low per device cost.
So, 260 million for the Chromebooks, which doesn't include all the infrastructure needed to allow the Chromebooks to work. Hmmm...
I then found another article. This article discussed Chromebook subscriptions ($720), warranties, support services - how do these additional items weigh into the costs?
What about the cost of the tests at 30 bucks a pop?
And, the Chromebook is realistically given a shelf life of 3 to 5 years - so, at that point, in a few years, in order to feed the needs of the test, we buy more Chromebooks?
Susan Ohanian and Stephen Krashen discuss the testing technology expenses for New York: If the New York figure is extrapolated to the entire country, the cost to connect all children to the internet will be at least 50 times the cost of connecting New York City alone, or $25 billion (New York City enrolls one million students, the USA as a whole, over 60 million). This is only to connect students to the internet. The whistles and bells needed to do "computer adaptive testing" with audio and video will cost more.
Of course, in 3 to 5 years, if this corporate plan continues on full speed, it is doubtful that there will be much left of public schools. Um, but that's the plan, right? Cash in while you can, right? What will be left?
Just the students and the Chromebooks (obsolete by then of course).