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January 21, 2014 - 8:18am

Today's Poll: Should NYS spend $2 billion to upgrade technology in classrooms?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Kyle Couchman
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Nope it doesnt cost this much at all. There is so much waste in this...first of all if you read the article there is a couple of sentences about computers laptops and tablets. The rest is all about the same supposed talking points that almost every NYS politician has said we have to fund to make our schools better.

How about some thinking outside the box. Go to NYS's ebay listings and see the computers they auction off in lots, for very little money. Here a lot of 91 Dell monitors that could go to schools rather than being sold for $900. http://www.ebay.com/itm/DELL-MONITORS-/390742035908?pt=Computer_Monitors...

And

Here is 18 computers with monitors keyboards and such being sold as a lot. For $10 dollars. I wonder how many schools this could go to?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/COMPUTER-EQUIPMENT-/271367464459?pt=LH_DefaultDo...

There are ways to upgrade technology, this is just what NYS throws away or auctions off for pennies on the dollar. Imagine what a corporation upgrading to latest and greatest systems could donate to schools for "tax credits" There are ways to avoid going another 2 billion in the hole. But it far easier to reach into the taxpayers pocket than it is to try to use the resources that are already there.

Doug Yeomans
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NYS needs to stop spending so much money, period.

Jeff Allen
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NYS already spends more per student than any other state in the union. For that spending we rank 34th out of 50 in % of diplomas issued. Throwing money at education has never proven to be an effective use of taxpayer dollars and we simply don't have it to spend to begin with.

Look at the initiatives in Cuomo's plan:
Universal Pre-K - for every study that supports it's effectiveness there is a counter study that shows it has no effect on long term educational success, it amounts to one more year of tax-payer subsidized child care.
Teacher excellence fund - I'm all for rewarding high achieving educators but no one has defined how that is quantified and there are numerous disputes on how that is accomplished
Scholarships for top math and science students who then work in NY for 5 years - sounds good, but without a viable math and science demand in industry and technology sectors in NYS, we are simply paying for the educations of students who will then likely become educators where we will pay their salaries as well.
Anti discrimination law - we already have anti-discrimination laws and anti-bullying law along with millions being spent on anti-bullying campaigns in schools. No more laws us to make us feel good that we made a law.

Cuomo says "If a school official in the state of New York is aware of a pattern of racial or religious discrimination or harassment, that state official is under an affirmative duty to notify" First, teachers are already mandated reporters, there is no need to double up on existing policy. Second this is an absurd statement coming from the guy who just told all Catholics they are no longer welcome in this state.

Mark Potwora
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This is typical of Democratic thinking..More money ,smarter children.Where the hell did they come up with 2 billion dollars.

Howard on a side note..i just noticed the comment on most of these post say zero but have comments in them.Is it me or your site...

Doug Yeomans
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It's the site. Something is wrong with the index page.

Jason Crater
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I've noticed that issue for about 2 weeks. Figured it would be fixed eventually.

Beth Kinsley
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If I recall Howard said it was some sort of glitch and something about the storm and they're working on it.

Sarah Christopher
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I have to speak up on this subject, since I am a teacher. It is easy to say that schools don't need the money and that they are wasteful, but I know 1st hand what it is like to work with poor technology. For example, at our school we only have the 2003 version of Microsoft Office....this is not compatible with the newer versions most kids have at home, in fact it is so outdated that we cannot even view some webpages with our version of Internet Explorer...they are not compatible. We also have a problem with our Wi-Fi/laptops... it sometimes takes students over 20 minutes to log in or open a file....at that point the period is 1/2 over. It sounds awesome that we have laptops...its not, they are terrible and I would rather reserve the computer lab, but I am sharing that with 30 other teachers, so it is almost never available. I am really fortunate to have a SmartBoard...so I can show diagrams/videos/animations to illustrate the complex concepts of Earth Science, but the screen is blown and it is filling up with thousands and thousands of twinkling white dots...great for astronomy, not so much for geology. I will soon have to revert back to using an overhead projector. Can I teach the students enough to pass the Regents that way? Sure...I did it in the past, but I want and expect more than that. I am trying to help produce productive citizens that can compete in the 21 century...which face it people, is run by technology.

Kyle Couchman
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Sarah's comment really makes me ask, where do all our local school tax dollars go if this is the type of tech our schools are dealing with. I mean come on. This is ridiculous but I guess we cant afford the layers upon layers of Admin AND Tech so Tech takes the hit in their budget.

(By the way Sarah it sounds like the twinkling white dot problem is a graphics card issue, might just need to update drivers)

Sad really that we can see these things but the politics and greed of NYS Politicians blinds them to the simplest solutions.

Bob Harker
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Sarah, Apache Open Office is FREE and fully compatible with the newest versions of Office. I have used it and the interface is almost identical and they encourage institutional use.

20- 30 minutes to boot or open a file? Please. Unless your school's wireless system was set up by a 100 year old, that's just not possible.

As far as you "expecting more", I understand that. Do you understand taxpayers wanting more bang for their bucks? The way I see it, your biggest impediments to better serving your students are the Federal government telling what and how to teach, tenure, and your union simply protecting under performing teachers and filling their wallets - rather than actually helping you do your job.

Ed Hartgrove
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C'mon Sarah. Kyle already posted where you can get $10 computers (complete with monitors, keyboards, etc.). What more can you ask for? Note (for those that misunderstand this comment): This was tongue-in-cheek!

Scott Blossom
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How about too much technology is being used? Is it a tool or a crutch?

There people like me who remember when calculators were banned in school. Others who remember a time before they even exisited. I was never so angry to see a math textbook that showed you how to input the problem into a calculator. Teachers trying to tell me that a calculator was required!? BS! I had to teach them the "old way" of doing math. Denied them calculators. Told their math teachers to pound salt about the issue. And they did very well and understood what they were doing and how it was applied in real life better than most of their classmates.

We have kids that can type their butts off but cannot print much less write their own names so you can read it.

Can they find their way through a library or surf through the half truths and misinformation sprayed all over the internet.

My teachers used a register book for the grades and could give you a report on the students progress at a moments notice.

I say too much technology and not enough instruction. What do you do if the power is out? The kids at McDonalds would never be able to place your order or figure out your change.

Kyle Slocum
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The question might be better stated as: Should the state borrow more money to waste on crony contracts with companies run by donors to the Prince's Presidential campaign coffers.

Yep, that sounds more accurate.

Vote FUAC 2014.

Tim Miller
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Yeah! And stay off Scott's lawn, too!!!

But seriously - kids who are not taught about and how to use technology are being set up to fail - "even" mechanics need to know technology, or else be stuck working on '78 VWs.

That's not to say the extent of math knowledge should be knowing how to input an expression into a handheld. First you learn what you're doing, then you learn how to do it better/quicker using them high-fallutin' modern tools. But to try to simplify life as "kids don't need to know anything more than I was taught" is absolutley backwards, and thinking (that word is used loosely) like that helped keep Europeans in a thousand year Dark Age.

Is it worth $2B to upgrade the schools? Well, it is for the 2nd (3rd?) largest state, so nothing is cheap... But you do have to decide if you want your kids to have opportunities.

Scott Blossom
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Use technology? I use it everyday in my job. If you don't know the fundementals, your just a button pusher.

Todays auto mechanics still have to know the same things needed to work on a 78 VW. Which by the way had a high energy ignition system.

The point is simple, you can not run before you learn to crawl.

Students today don't know sentence structure, grammer, or how to spell. Oh, I'm sorry that's what spell and grammer check is for in Microsoft Word. They can't do simple calculations in their head. Oops, that's the calculator. Are they taught to think for themselves? No, they are taught to pass a test, to just accept what is given without question. Is the Earth still flat? Is global warming fact or pop science. Remember the hole in the ozone, witch that scare was proven to be a normal cyclic occurance?

History is not knowing names and dates. It is learning the lessons of histroy to better your world. But since that doesn't get taught, history repeats itself.

To Tim's comment of kids don't need to know anything more than I was taught, is laughable. You take what you learn from your parents, expand on it, correct errors as they are found, and move forward. That is how we moved out of the dark ages.

I am not a dottering old man (yet). I am of the eighties before they really started to mess up the education system. I know a strong foundation is needed before the building can be erected.

To throwing money at schools? Why do private religious schools and other non public schools consistanty put out higher educated students without all the technological teaching aids, at a fraction of per student budget cost.

Before someone thinks I was in private school, I am a graduate of Byron-Bergen, a public school.

Ed Hartgrove
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Apparently, B-B wasn't real big on spelling either. But, then again, I think a lot of people figure that, as long as you come close, people will figure it out. From a dottering old man - well, old anyways!

Greg Rada
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I think the vast majority agree there's a need to keep our schools up to date and help teachers teach our students. But $2Bil is way too much!
First off, there are tons of locals looking to help our schools; we can use their help first. Second, we bargain hunt for what needs we have left. Then finally, while bargain hunting, remove any notion, outline, and/or program that involves Common Core so our kids can actually learn to be productive self sustaining members of our society.

Just my thoughts..

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