[K12OSN] Best approach to calm the school's administration about Linux?

Ken Meyer kmeyer at blarg.net
Fri May 28 23:28:25 UTC 2004

The problem that you say doesn't exist actually does -- very much.  The
ubiquitous "Technical Advisory Committees" will tell the Deans that they
want students who know Microsoft Office, and the Deans aren't capable of,
disabusing the TAC folks of that position; and they wouldn't if they were,
for political reasons.  And being on a TAC is not often a job that is fought
over, so it's likely that the real-world people who are appointed to that
task wouldn't understand either (this is a generalization, and I'm sure that
there are notable exceptions).

Furthermore, most kids don't give a rip about the underpinnings, at least
that's what I've understood Paul Nelson to say -- Paul?  I negotiated a
meeting spot at my favorite local community college for the local Linux User
Group, but even when I go to the Linux classes to issue a personal
invitation, the response to meetings is pretty minimal.

These observations may be less of an issue at the K12 level than at the
vocational, or "professional/technical" level of the community colleges, but
I still suspect that there is significant "trickle-down" of that philosophy.

You weren't started?

Ken Meyer

-----Original Message-----

From: k12osn-bounces at redhat.com [mailto:k12osn-bounces at redhat.com]On
Behalf Of anthony baldwin
Sent: Friday, May 28, 2004 2:27 PM
To: joseph.bishay at utoronto.ca; Support list for opensource software in

Subject: Re: [K12OSN] Best approach to calm the school's administration

Joseph Bishay wrote:

> Hello,
> After finally setting up everything and having the lab running
> smoothly, some issues have arisen.
> It seems rumours within the school's administration/board abound that
> the lab we have is totally useless for preparing students for future
> computer use/education.

That's absolutely preposterous.
They can learn all of the typical office productivity skills they would
normally learn on a buggy, insecure Windope lab, such as word
processing, spreadsheets, slide presentation, web page creation, etc.,
they can do internet research, manipulate graphics, etc., etc., just as
well in your lab, and they'll have less down time for viruses and
crashes.  Also, you can maintain current software without licensing
costs (my school is all Macs still running OS 9, besides the linux boxes
I've brought in and my OS X iBook.  Schools never stay current with
proprietary stuff due to costs). Besides, now they will have access to
source code and can learn so much more than they ever could in a
Micro$lop lab. They can learn about networking by actually networking
things, not by pointing and clicking, etc., etc.  The benefits of an OSS
lab in a school are myriad:  costs, stability and security, and
increased learning potential are all part of the package.
Don't get me started!


> Background: we are a small private Christian elementary school with a
> very limited budget and basic staffing. The school board is also made
> up of people who have no experience in teaching (mostly business
> people)

You mean "clueless morons".

and they don't interact with the school directly (IE: they're
> completely out of touch).
> What would be the best way to reassure them that the system we have
> IS able to prepare the students for the future (IE: Doesn't need to
> be Windows)? Note that in our area (Toronto) there is no ministry-
> mandated computer curriculum, so essentially the lab is used as a
> reference room for other subjects.
> Thanks,
> Joseph
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Anthony Baldwin
Freedom to Learn!

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