Does an $80 Million Computer Adding Up?
March 7th, 2007

Teachers union president Randi Weingarten does not like the Department of Educations plan to buy an $80 million computer database from IBM to keep track of how the citys schools and students are performing. And if Weingarten does not like something, the odds are that the New York Post will. No wonder Weingarten is so exercised. Accountability is not exactly her thing,” the paper says in an editorial today, continuing ARIS will make an ideal complement to Schools Chancellor Joel Klein’s broader plan to give principals greater autonomy in setting curriculum and running their schools – so long as the schools that those principals run meet student-performance standards. Nearly 15 years after the NYPD revolutionized crime fighting with CompStat, the country’s largest school system is introducing a similar approach to assessing student and school achievement.”

But others question whether the $80 million computer system, called ARIS, is really the best use of funds for a system still strapped for money.

It does seem extravagant to invest in an $80 million computer system when many teachers must buy supplies with their own money, but we suppose that’s how the Bloomberg-Klein Department of Education rolls, wrote Gothamist.

Stroller Derby agrees: The money would be better served increasing teacher salaries or building new schools to avoid overcrowding. Heck, this is a school system where … creative classes (like art & music) continue to be dropped from the curriculum! And the teacher who blogs in Pissed Off complains that, while the city has $80 million to spend with IBM, My kids don’t even have a classroom with a door that closes. At least if the room gets too hot, we can enjoy the natural air conditioning. It’s great having that fresh air on a morning with temperatures near zero degrees.”

Writing in NYC Public School Parents, Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters picks up on the mayors comment that the computer system is worth it because “Every child in this city deserves a quality education and we will spare no expense.” Despite such rhetoric, Haimson writes, the mayor does not spend money on smaller classes, uncrowded schools, experienced teachers, arts programs or the joy of learning for its own sake even though his own kids (and Klein’s) attended private schools that provided all of the above and more. No, for the public schools, where the children of all those other people go, a quality education means a super-computer to crunch their test scores — and their souls.

By on March 7, 2007, 9:00 am
In category: Education,Gotham City,Tech | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Does an $80 Million Computer Adding Up?”

  1. Stephen Cook Says:
    March 7th, 2007 at 10:04 am

    I think the 80 million could be allocated in the system much more efficiently. Yes, monitoring students progress is important, however once you’ve monitored success/failure and have an idea of what changes need to be made in order to better the education system, there wont be any money left over to do this! A FREE site I found as an excellent resource for career and education information: http://www.careersandeducation.com

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    February 7th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

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