[K12OSN] Schools and the OPM Addiction

R. Scott Belford scott at hosef.org
Sat Dec 1 22:07:19 UTC 2007

I fear that far too often good-willed and well-intending education 
advocates fail to fully understand the extent of OPM addiction in the 
American education system.  More successful advocates have learned to 
enable the use of OPM within the schools.  They fund this addiction with 
enticing technology trinkets and strong-armed contractual agreements.

OPM, Other People's Money, is a delight to use.  It feels so good, and 
it spends so well.  It is not to be confused with what most of us are 
left with, Money.  It is hard to come by, painful to spend, and there 
never seems to be enough of it.  When using OPM you'll take two of 
whatever, and make it a deluxe.  When using M, you clip coupons.

If you would like to succeed in helping most schools and education 
systems, experience shows that they need you to facilitate their OPM 
use.  You must appreciate their appetite is voracious, and that if they 
do not use their entire hoard of OPM each year, they don't get more next 
year, as promised.  Successful vendors succeed by supplying schools with 
OPM on a consistent and reliable basis.

This is where the conspiracy lies, so take it for what it is worth. 
Some vendors offer luscious, enticing hardware that everyone wants. 
Though they use some fruit as their name, they still succeed in getting 
schools to eagerly adorn themselves in their regal iJewelry. 
Understanding how important it is for the children to see their schools 
wearing only the best, the public eagerly supplies sufficient OPM 
without question.  Some is sold off to Vendors who in turn build more 
eye iJewlery.  It could be, and it does get, worse.

Sometimes the OPM trade is a bit more ugly.  For those with squeamish 
stomachs, please put down your bialy.  Some Vendors have managed to 
enslave our schools in barbed chains of sophisticated contractual 
agreements.  In order to get the DEHLENIB hardware necessary to adorn 
themselves, they must commit to consecutive years wearing the same 
undergarments.  In the past they could at least change these 
undergarments or add new hardware trinkets.  Now they are contractually 
forbidden to make such hygiene changes.  This becomes smelly.

It is true that there are some schools that are trying to Free 
themselves from this OPM addiction.  All the OPM abuse has given them 
very bad teeth, and now they need FLOSS.  They are looking for the 
kind-hearted souls out there willing to help them stay OPM Free and well 
FLOSSed. This is where many of the more benevolent among us have 
invested our passions.  However, we must appreciate that these 
recovering schools are usually the least capable of stopping the abuse 
of OPM in their districts, regardless of how noble and economical their 

So to you I say learn to use OPM, but find a way to ween our blinded and 
addicted schools.  Forgive them for they know not what they do. 
Instead, show them how FLOSSing can actually help them to spend their 
OPM on other things, like more counselors and educators.  While they too 
may be OPM users, perhaps they won't be.  If properly educated, our 
youth don't have to be OPM users.

By reaching out to our youth and our college students in non-academic 
environments(1), they can see the benefits of FLOSSing instead of using 
OPM.  They will eventually be hired by those schools you have taken to 
lunch, intoxicated with OPM, and adorned with your own FLOSS filled 
Trinkets.  You never know when they may want to open them up for a 
little cleaning.



R. Scott Belford
Founder/Executive Director
The Hawaii Open Source Education Foundation
P.O. Box 2644
Ewa Beach, HI 96706
808.689.6518 phone/fax
scott at hosef.org

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