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Re: <nettime> Education costs; was How a Library Saved My Life.
Flick Harrison on Wed, 2 Mar 2011 20:38:00 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Education costs; was How a Library Saved My Life.

I should also say, that because primary + secondary teachers tend to have good unions, their salaries stay high, therefore education costs can't get cut like other things.

I.e. you can contract-out the janitors, the cafeteria staff etc, try to union-bust by inches, but when you try to kill the public sector unions you get stuff like Wisconsin.  That is meat and bone, not fat, and it's iron-clad with the deepest and broadest unionization.  Teachers are also generally highly respected and trusted, at least socially, and so when they cry foul it gets a serious listen.

Perhaps that will erode, or is eroding, due to TV, talk-radio, etc, creating a pervasive anti-union climate, and the WI skirmish is a push to capitalize on that.  There's also a rhetorical pogrom on the Right against higher education, or should I say "radical communo-feminist college purfessers."  The fact that educated people trend leftwards is proof only that education is brainwashing.

But instead of cutting salaries, you just cut the budget, cut a few days off the school year, in Vancouver the spring break for public school is now 2 weeks, and they shave a few minutes off each school day to cut costs; i.e. school starts at 8:52 a.m., etc.

Means you offload the costs onto parents - they need to hire babysitters or whatever if they can't afford a 2-week holiday in March.  And you offload the costs onto kids - they need to study more on their own, with the same provincial exam but 2 weeks less school.

And to keep it media-arts related, putting computers into schools is a giant funnel of tax dollars into the pockets of microsoft.  Think about it - every school, everywhere, has to buy Office, Windows, Sharepoint, etc, just to get started. School IT depts won't look at free software, won't even allow the odd program to be installed or even run under any circumstances; means kids get to work on sub-par, out-of-date systems or their school budget gets sucked dry by M$.

The resistance to FLOSS probably has to do with security + paranoia, with the current terror about child-stalkers on the internet, plus kids who would DL and install every thing under the sun including viriuses galore. Big organizations want a big company that shares their conservative values and can be held responsible for anything that goes wrong.

That same paranoia also adds to the bureaucratic costs - more lawyers, more policies, more paperwork for teachers to ensure all kids present and accounted for every second...

Etc etc...


* FLICK's WEBSITE & BLOG: http://www.flickharrison.com 

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