August 22, 2016 1:00 am ET
Taxpayers continue to “Dance” with the devil
Source: We Need A(nother) Doctor … STAT
Much of which I write about is not a result of my political leanings, because (famous movie quote) “Frankly my dear, I don’t’ give a damn!
What I do care about deeply is the truth based on fact, not fiction or propaganda.
Also, before I begin this latest chapter in Dr. Dallas Dance’s insistence on pushing his STAT program at a cost of $275 million taxpayer dollars, I want you to remember that the information I receive comes from you—those same taxpayers.
While it feels like we, the taxpayers, are dancing with the devil (pun intended), there are no devils intent on destroying the system.
Rather, the devil is in the details.
The information I will point out comes from two highly respected experts in their field. These people are computer experts and, as the TV commercial states, “We (they) live and breathe this stuff.”
So fasten your check books, click your pens shut, and hold onto your bank statements while we take a look at a true fleecing by the BCPS.
And the two experts, by the way, have not a clue as to the school system’s madness.
As you may know, this is not the first time I have written about this topic. I will post a link to just one of my other articles; if you really want to learn more, you can scroll through my other columns/blogs for many more examples at http://patch.com/users/buzz-beeler.
Here is just a sampling of one of those blogs:
I’d like to point out the number of shares (1.7K) that blog received, which equals a mob of readers. And, again, I point to the fact that it all started with a letter from a BCPS parent.
With all that said, let’s get to it.
The first expert contacted me after one of his friend’s children brought home some information on the STAT program … and the cost factor.
Let me throw this into the equation: some of the largest public school systems in the country have trashed the STAT program. These school systems include the progressive LA school district, as well as the state of NJ.
Those stories can be found in some of my previous columns on this subject.
In a nutshell, here are the facts as we currently know them.
Baltimore County School Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance wants to equip BC students with the HP Elite Book Revolve 810 G2, costing $1,500 of our tax dollars per unit—totaling around $275 million to fulfill Dr. Dance’s STAT goal.
Oh, I almost forgot—there are about 110,000 students potentially in line to receive these units.
Now, if I use my fingers and toes, I will need a lot help to deal with this mind numbing matter. We all need to put the insanity of the BCPS into perspective because, believe it or not, there needs to be a better way in all aspects of this effort to use our tax dollars for Dance’s big picture, which promotes, in my opinion, nothing but HIMSELF.
Some of you may say that is a strongly worded statement condemning Dr. Dance’s ambitious agenda.
I would agree except for the fact that, at least in the minds of the two computer experts who researched the STAT program, what I wrote is based on facts.
One of those facts is that an independent law firm from another MD jurisdiction just finished up an independent investigation regarding the ethics complaint filed by two citizens.
Sources said the decision is now in the hands of the BC Ethics Commission, which I would call a complete JOKE!
I hope I made myself clear on that aspect.
Now, on with the facts.
First, there is a (below) little video from one of the experts, who said a $150 Chrome Book would accomplish the same goal as one of Dance’s tunes—the “HP shuffle.”
Do the math:
110,000 students multiplied by $1,500 vs. the same amount of students multiplied by $150 and you start see how inane Dance’s agenda is.
Here is some more of the hard evidence he provided:
Now watch this video:
Now I know what you’re thinking. What about viruses? Well, here is the answer to that one, and this video is about several seconds:
Just in case you’re wondering, neither one of these experts is selling or promoting anything. They have nothing to gain by their revelations except exposing the truth. They have no skin in this mess.
The one IT expert sent me many more examples, but the bottom line is the taxpayers are getting fleeced. He also pointed out this information:
Chrome Books will save money because their cost is 61% lower. They are 94% easier to deploy to the educational system and require 68% less IT labor to support.
Need I say more? Hell yeah! There is another computer expert who focuses on security who has a few syllables to say.
The second expert stated the following about security concerns when introducing school provided technology into learning:
· A school provided device is essentially a network probe capable of collecting vast amounts of information once introduced into the home.
· No school system is capable of controlling the data collection characteristics of any device (even if they take measures to mitigate risk)
· Software capable of collecting data and eavesdropping can be easily installed onto computers by school administrators and IT staff with ill intent.
· License agreements, insurance policies, etc. will be put in place to portray an image of protection but do little to actually protect users. Security and privacy will ultimately be compromised by wrongdoers – irrespective of any rulings that may be put in place to appease the populace.
· At any time, school IT staff, administrators and even students could introduce malicious software onto a device.
· Predators who manage school technology and have access to student computers can watch, listen to, and track unsuspecting users. A savvy IT person can even detect when parents/guardians come and go from a student’s home.
· BCPS must inform parents of ALL third parties that have been given student identifying information and there must be an option to opt out.
· Additional Concerns:
· Per BCPS, “Parents are exclusively responsible for monitoring their child’s use of the Internet when the BCPS network is accessed from home or a non-school location”. This is not possible nor practical for families where parents work full time. On the surface it appears as a weak attempt to mitigate BCPS’s own risk at the cost of an additional burden on the family.
· “BCPS does not guarantee the accuracy or quality of information located on any technology networks. Linked sites are not under the control of BCPS and BCPS is not responsible for the contents of any linked site, links within the site, or any revisions to such sites. Links from BCPS Web sites are provided as a convenience and do not imply an endorsement of the content of the linked Web site.” If this is the case, then WHY provide the links at all? Especially if the sites being linked require student identifying information? This posture by BCPS defies logic
· Student safety (students potentially being robbed of their device)
· Family financial exposure. Ex. A family is financially responsible for each school issued device at a cost of ~ $1500 per device. Large families can easily be burdened with a financial risk of many thousands of dollars.
· There should be an OPT OUT of bringing devices home to mitigate both financial risk and security risk. Frankly, there is no point to bringing home a school provided computer UNLESS a family cannot afford one. Any computer application required for students should be provided as a WEB APP which can be accessed from any device with a browser (saving hundreds of million $$)
· Privacy and security should not be intertwined with existing privacy rulings which are really designed for directories, yearbooks, videos, etc. Attempting to blend computer privacy/security with old privacy rulings exposes the public to significant risk as the old policies are not intended to deal with technology security.
The general problem with the approach BCPS has taken is that the “powers that be” have decided that computers will be given to ALL students as part of a digital learning initiative under the false premise that it must be done this way or else it is not equitable. The general posture of BCPS on this issue is telling of poor and inexperienced leadership within the school system and the school board, which oversees some of the decision making.
True leadership would overlay technology onto a framework that puts student/family safety first and not the other way around. This is not different than the oath doctors take to “do no harm”. Applying a sincere concern for public safety first would surely change the direction of this seemingly political initiative.
Oh I almost forgot. The BCPS is sending out a letter that will make the parents responsible for the financial loss if anything happens to the HP units.
I will end with these words…
If, after reading this report, you still believe in the song and dance (pun intended) of this STAT program, then the grass on your side must be a lot greener and more potent than the dirt that covers the land at 6902 Charles St. in Towson.
How much does AC cost again?