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Microsoft Education

Microsoft to Build High School in Philadelphia, PA 615

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the hooking-them-young dept.
LynchMan writes "According to the The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia is too be the home of a Microsoft funded High School. While having an inner city public school with a large tech fund ($46 Million) will be a great asset to those young students interested in technology, is the Philadelphia School District selling out to Microsoft really the only way to achieve this? Especially with all of the negative press that Microsoft has had recently, is this an attempt to do some good and help out those who cannot afford private school? Or is Microsoft just making sure that they secure themselves another generation of coders/admins/users? This being the first school of it's kind, will a Microsoft high school be coming to a town near you?" This looks very much like the Microsoft buses that toured from school to school a couple years back, but much larger and much more stationary.
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Microsoft to Build High School in Philadelphia, PA

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  • by zakezuke (229119) on Friday September 05, 2003 @06:56AM (#6877985)
    Little billy... report to the head sysop!
    • by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunityNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:40AM (#6878818) Homepage
      God damn. This is one big trollfest. According to the Associated Press article that was in my newspaper, this wasn't done by Microsoft. It was done by the Gates Foundation, a non-profit fund run by Bill G. and his wife. They give out millions every year in educational grants. This is actually a good deed, probably the best thing Bill has ever done.
      • by lylonius (20917) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:18AM (#6879228) Homepage
        Be wary of Gates Foundation donations/charities.

        We are all serfs on Microsoft's and Big Pharma's 'intellectual property.' [gregpalast.com]
        • by mormop (415983) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:20AM (#6879829)
          This is one of those rare occasions when I find myself quoting the bible:

          Matthew
          Chapter 6
          1 Take heed not to do your alms before men to be seen of them, otherwise ye have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens. 2 When therefore thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may have glory from men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But thou, when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand does; 4 so that thine alms may be in secret, and thy Father who sees in secret will render [it] to thee.

          In other words "charity is charity when you do it quietly". Boasting about it on the other hand, is self publicising and earns you no brownie points or to put it another way:

          Let not thy marketing department send out press releases in order to make thy people think thou art a generous individual when instead thou art trying to maximise thine user base and profits for such actions render thee no better than the rulers of Sco who long ago wedged thine heads up thine arses and tried to rob the righteous penguinistas and thine own shareholders.
        • by Forgotten (225254) on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:28PM (#6880997)
          Good link; thank you.

          Two characteristics seem to govern all of Gates's "philanthropy":

          1. Charitable exercises always follow bad press for Microsoft and/or Gates (his first penny was given away immediately following the release of his abysmal videotaped testimony for the antitrust hearings)
          2. Charitable exercises always contain significant strings that benefit Microsoft, Gates, or the ideological institutions that made him a rich and powerful man (granted that this is true of the work of nearly all "philanthropists".

          It's actually the last point that worries me the most. There is *always* ideological pressure from corporate funding to education. With what sort of balanced worldview do people come out of the Microsoft school?

          Philanthropy in general is a weird, weird thing. It's essentially like saying "well, I'm sure rich - I must have taken a whole lot more money than I deserved from the rest of you folks, so here's 10% of it back - just out of the goodness of my heart! Get it? I'm rich *and* I'm a sweet guy!". Wouldn't it be better simply not to overpay these individuals to such an amazing degree? Are we that married to our Horatio Alger lottery mentality?
      • by caluml (551744) <slashdot@NOsPam.spamgoeshere.calum.org> on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:29AM (#6879315) Homepage
        Russian proverb: Free cheese is only in a mouse trap.
      • agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rev.LoveJoy (136856)
        Similarly, the Gates foundation gave 100 million dollars to the World Health Org. over the past few years.

        Comparing Gates Foundation charities to MS business practices is a lot like comparing the J. Paul Ghetty museum in LA to oil drilling in the North Sea.

        We may disagree about the morality behind some of the world's larger fortunes ('behind every great fortune, there is a crime'). However, I question the assertion that the nature of these philanthropic ventures is forever tainted by the origins of the

  • Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ken@WearableTech (107340) * <<moc.rjsmailliwnek> <ta> <nek>> on Friday September 05, 2003 @06:56AM (#6877986) Homepage Journal
    How could anyone have any question about this being a good thing? Microsoft is not building the school nor is it paying for the school to be built. The local school board is building it and MS is contributing technology and services to the school to see what happens to education when the school is afforded every technological luxury possible. This is an experiment! If afterwards the students bought MS products for themselves, so what, they are likely to anyway. If some of the students went on to be programmers and favored the Windows OS and Visual Studio, so what, it is already likely. Coke and Pepsi already give money to schools to put in only their product. Aside from the questions of health, do we cry out the these children's minds have been warped in the decision of who to favor in the cola wars? No.

    If it was not for Microsoft this school would still be built, it just wouldn't have the technology.

    I have the suspicion that those who object to this would think it would be the coolest thing if RedHat decided to help a school become a pure Linux organization, with a Zarus PDA for every child.
    • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Informative)

      by millwall (622730) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:05AM (#6878039)

      "How could anyone have any question about this being a good thing?" [..cut..] MS is contributing technology and services to the school."

      I would say the article makes it look like Microsof is paying for the school, but it only gives project management, training and support. Which probably only will relate to Microsoft technology.

      In what way is this such a beutifully good thing?

      From the article: "Microsoft's contribution will not be monetary, but services worth millions of dollars, including a full-time on-site project manager, planning and design expertise, staff training and ongoing technology support. It plans to bring in other technology partners.
      • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NineNine (235196)
        In what way is this such a beutifully good thing?

        Because in most inner city, US schools, kids have no access to technology at all, asshole. This is without a doubt, a good thing. Or maybe you just like the idea of kids growing up with no technology education?
        • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Informative)

          by mj01nir (153067) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:21AM (#6878639)
          I work with one of those inner city schools, let me tell you that there are many other ways available to fund technology. The IT manager there applies for and pursues every fund, grant, gift, and loan for technology. He gets many of them. The kids in his district have access to:

          Computers in nearly every classroom from elementry to high school. (Nice ones, trust me).
          OC-3 Internet access.
          Internet 2 access (T3 IIRC).
          Lots of tech training for the district's teachers.
          Library automation.

          Basically, just about everything that a school would need and then some. His kids are well taken care of.
        • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:3, Informative)

          by Larthallor (623891)
          Microsoft is not enabling this. While they are donating some services, Philadelphia is still footing the bill. Philadelphia could simply announce that they want to create this kind of school and then open the bidding on who was going to provide the services. The problem here is not that Microsoft is involved with such a project, it is a problem of HOW Microsoft has become involved. And the blame lies not at Microsoft's feet, but instead at those of Mayor Street's administration.
          • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mj01nir (153067) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:48AM (#6878894)
            Microsoft is not enabling this. ...Philadelphia is still footing the bill.

            Yup, and MS gets to look like a hero for donating their consulting services, which will amount to "Buy Microsoft products". Favorite line from the article:

            The company's reward is the opportunity to design a school using technology in every way possible from the ground up - a prototype it could then market.

            Yippie. So they want to use a school as a facility to assemble a new product. Glad that they have the kids' best interest in mind!
        • How about funding for other things first? Maybe money would be better spend on security and drug prevention than technology. The focus should first be on the other more important things and technology last. If a huge donation was made by Microsoft to hire security guards and teach awareness of drugs there wouldn't be any complaints.
    • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:08AM (#6878052)
      Slashdot Double Standard #1431:
      When Apple did this, it was praised and lauded as good move to provide computers, and help kids, and maybe also build potential customers.

      When Microsoft does this, it's pure evil, the administrators have been duped, sold out, stupid. Suspicions of some nefarious larger purpose are raised immediately.
      • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hellfire (86129) <(deviladv) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:02AM (#6879060) Homepage
        Double-standard red herring... caught ya!

        Remember, Microsoft is a monopoly. They play by different rules. If Coke was a monopoly with 90%+ marketshare, you bet the government would be denying them any contracts to "extend" their reach into schools.

        If Microsoft and Apple were 50/50 in overall dominance, it would simply be competition. Otherwise, Microsoft should be highly scrutinized when it comes to anti-competitive behavior.
    • blah... ..Pepsi... Blah....

      As you mentioned Pepsi - Partial credit!

    • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dnoyeb (547705) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:17AM (#6878106) Homepage Journal
      I agree. Its win-win. Don't be a playa hater! I came up on microsoft. Many today will come up on linux. But many wont come up at all till they get to college.

      Its a great idea!

      We know they will learn almost exclusively microsoft products, but thats ok. They will be learning computers.

      I wonder if Microsoft will eliminate their auditing for the school out of fear that they too would be found with 'illegal copies' of Microsoft products...
    • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:2, Interesting)

      by glenn1you0 (685156)
      I think Phillip-Morris should try this!
      "This is an experiment! If afterwards the students bought cigarettes for themselves, so what, they were likely to anyway. "
    • it would be the coolest thing if RedHat decided to help a school

      In fact there was a small city in the mid-west that was scheduled to build a Linux school. But when the school-board realized that by the time they resolved all the dependencies it would be time to graduate, they dropped the idea.

      Another Gnu/Linux Grammar School broke ground in Seattle about six years ago. Known as K-12, the project's gotten stalled as the masons and carpenters juggle its construction with the demands of their paying jobs
    • " How could anyone have any question about this being a good thing? The mob is not building the school nor is it paying for the school to be built. The local school board is building it and the mob is contributing technology and services to the school to see what happens to education when the school is afforded every technological luxury possible."

      See what nice guys those gangsters turned out to be? Sure, they knock off businesses and rub out people now and then, but they sure do throw nifty block partie

    • If afterwards the students bought MS products for themselves, so what, they are likely to anyway.

      Do you really think they are going to buy the CDs? THe MSDN (no key required) versions would most likley be the ones floating around the school. There's no ned to buy anything at that point. Even if the Admins did lock everything up in a safe somewhere, With this "technology" available to the kids (broad-band, nice machines, etc.), it's a snap to grab ISOs for whatever they want from the 'Net.

      Still, I s
    • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Blob Pet (86206) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:46AM (#6878310) Homepage
      I question it.

      Anyone remember this [theregister.co.uk]?
    • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BJZQ8 (644168) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:55AM (#6878379) Homepage Journal
      Being in education, I think it's wonderful that Microsoft is handing out some technology...but it is the "catches" that worry me. You can be guaranteed that no computer in the district will be allowed to run ANYTHING but Microsoft software...anything else will be a breach of the Terms&Conditions that everyone will be forced into signing. This is just a ploy to draw mindless Technical Directors and Coordinators into the false sense of security that Microsoft offers...since these people, with the backing of hundreds of Microsoft Engineers, made it work, then certainly it would work for our district too! I've seen that mentality in action, and this will only further it.
    • Too early to see (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FuzzyDaddy (584528)
      As a graduate of the Philadelphia public school system, I'll be interested to see how this turns out. They haven't picked a location yet, but there are plenty of places Philadelphia that could use some innovation in the schools.

      If it actually goes to helping the most disadvantaged students, where it would be the most difficult to make succesful, I'd applaud the effort.

      If it goes to mostly middle class and upper middle class students, then I'd have to view it as simply a further corporatization of the pub

    • by Lysol (11150) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:16AM (#6879198)
      Not blinded at all. And in fact, I would say that I feel it's the other way around.

      This donation of M$ dollars (not the school itself) is bad for 3 reasons:

      1. Regardless of the kindness, M$ is an unethical company. Period! A free lunch today will not be one tomorrow. You need no more evidence of this than to scan the various news source headlines for the last few years. Corporations don't give anything out unless there is a business or tax reason. And while some in the opulent halls of M$ may see this as a worthy cause, more see it as a business opportunity. Ugh, open your eyes. There is obviously some tax write off or future opportunity to hook more people on their products - or both. This is the nature of big business/capitalism, plain and simple. Get 'em while they're young.

      2. A public school should not be financed in any way by a corporation. However, these things can happen because so many people in this country do not put as much emphasis on quality public education as they should.

      I'm horrified by the stories my sister tells me of the parents having to contribute money and supplies to her kids school because the school can't afford it! Personally, when I have kids, they're going to public schools and I'm going to PTA meetings, etc., and I'm gonna put my time in and at least if things still continue to go down hill, at least I'll say I did something. My parents never did that. There is a complete lack of caring and responsibility of the majority of voting public and our esteemed leaders on this subject. It needs to change and that change would benefit everyone. Why this doesn't horrify anyone else is beyond me. If you don't have an educated public, then you have close to nothing.

      While I'm sure most kids will have to work at some point in their life using M$ tools, I see no reason, being the company M$ is, to promote their usage before their professional career. Why muddy up their most impressionable years with the horrors and inflexibilities of an M$ world? They'll have plenty of time to see that on their own when they can make their own choice on what OS and tools they want to use. I'd rather my kids and my sister's kids learn about history, math, etc.., instead of service packs.

      3. All this 'neat' stuff, being an expirement and all, will go right back to benefit M$ and no one else. It would be such a better idea to use free software and open standards because the creation (the mind of someone young is a wonderful thing!) and fixing of said technology would go back into the common good - royalty and patent free (one would hope). This is a no brainer; using public funds not just for educating our kids properly, but also improving technology - that anyone can have - will in turn, give us more control over how and when we access information.

      You know, the general public/govt./us did this before when we paid for the copper for phones to be laid down in the early/middle part of the 20th century. The govt. laid all the wire and let AT&T use it for next to nothing. Over the years, AT&T got 0wnership of it. Then, in the latter part of the 20th century, the baby bells used that free (as in beer) resource to stop local competition in their local markets. They cited the argument "why should we be made to lease our lines for little money to local competition?"
      So I say the opposite, why should public funds go to helping figure out technical issues for the richest software company in the world? Because kids will be bug testing (and possibly fixing) on publicly funded time which is not what I or anyone else pay tax dollars for!

      Nah, this is a sham and public relations magic hand waving. It's a $46mil bug test and fixit it school. Like the reality of the M$ office in which you're not amazed by all the marvels of the modern world and how much time and money they save you, but rather how you're locked into a buggy platform with escalating costs, little or no choice, and no c
  • by KingDaveRa (620784) on Friday September 05, 2003 @06:57AM (#6877993) Homepage
    1. Their network will go down when the next worm appears

    2. All kids will have an irrational hatred for penguins.

    3. Apple? Who?
  • by byolinux (535260) on Friday September 05, 2003 @06:58AM (#6877999) Journal
    I thought many other US Schools were sponsored by soft drink companies, by sports-goods companies, etc.

    I heard of a case where a kid at a Pepsi-School was sent home after drinking a Coke.

    Perhaps the same will happen with Linux and Mac OS X users at Microsoft School.

    Article about Corporate Coke here. [colorado.edu]
    • by Kierthos (225954) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:09AM (#6878063) Homepage
      Sent home after drinking a Coke? You must be kidding me...

      Okay, we had a soda machine at my high school. I think it was a Pepsi machine, but I honestly can't recall. But it was just one machine, and it was not in the cafeteria, so it was not "tempting" people to buy ye olde nasty carbonated sludge.

      Would someone at my high school have been sent home for drinking a Coke? Shit no. They could have brought it from home. Now, we did have people expelled for drinking JD when they should have been in class....

      Frankly, if a corp wants to buy a shitload of computers or educational material for a school, fine by me. As long as it meets or exceeds the standards set by the local school board, I have no problem with it whatsoever, especially if it's helping a poorer school district.

      Is this automatically going to give rise to a bunch of pro-MS kids? Doubtful. If anything, it will most likely lead to those kids learning computers a bit better, as they try and bypass whatever firewalls or censor-ware are on the computer to get to the pr0n. (Also, I see a lot of firesharing in this school's future. They can go ahead and combine student ID's with the RIAA's crap-tastic idea for "amnesty".)

      Kierthos
    • I heard of a case where a kid at a Pepsi-School was sent home after drinking a Coke.

      I think the case you're referring to is a student who was suspended for wearing a Pepsi t-shirt on his high school's "Coke Day"?

  • Pink Floyd (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dolo666 (195584)
    Pink Floyd would have a field day with this. Except in this case, the giant meat grinder would be an NT server from hell!
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:00AM (#6878011) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like they're putting the kids on a fast track for an MCSE.
  • Apple (Score:3, Funny)

    by CGP314 (672613) <CGPNO@SPAMColinGregoryPalmer.net> on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:02AM (#6878014) Homepage
    I wonder if Apple will sell them computers : )
  • A Win Win (Score:5, Informative)

    by OfficerNoGun (686128) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:03AM (#6878016)
    I'm sure Microsoft gets something out of this, like tax breaks, free beta testing etc, but that really isn't the point. Philadelphia schools are about the most missmanaged, poor schools in the country, They're constantly low on funds despite paying about half as much per student as the surrounding suburbian schools. The technology situatuation is usually a computer for every few classes, and its 5 years old. This is most likely to become one of the better if not best schools in the district. But if some of this 46million doesnt go to support and training of the students and teachers, its gonna be money that was wasted.
    • Philly has terrible schools because the teachers unions have killed off every reform. Edison went in to fix the thing and they did everything they could to cause it to fail. The schools are bad because the people running them are corrupt and inept. FYI, Washington, DC, schools spend by far the most money per student of any schools in the nation and have the worst results, all because of corruption.
  • coders (Score:3, Interesting)

    by selderrr (523988) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:03AM (#6878020) Journal
    Microsoft just making sure that they secure themselves another generation of coders/admins/users?

    No. If they wanted that, they would build a school in India (next to the condoms factory :-). Its just a PR stunt IMHO. MS Can throw 50M$ at anything they want. Hell, that's just a million XBoxes sold at 50$ loss.
    • by x0n (120596)
      A $50m PR stunt? Anything like this is bound to generate good PR, but there are cheaper and more immoral ways to get PR. Try to swallow your pride mate and just accept that regardless of your political sentiments, this is a Good Thing.

      Your reaction is just typical /. kneejerk. Yes, we're all suspicious, but $50m worth of hardware is $50m worth of hardware. Those who wish to run an alternate O/S will do so.

      - Oisin
    • Re:coders (Score:3, Interesting)

      If you think that they are going to get $50m of PR value from building a high school, then you are SORELY mistaken. To call this "just a PR stunt" is, in a word, ignorant of basic economics.

      A PR-stunt is a typically low-budget, outrageous our at least out-of-the-ordinary event designed to get undue media attention - hence "stunt." For example, Bill Gates breakdancing on "Dance Fever" would be a media stunt.

  • by robbway (200983) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:04AM (#6878035) Journal
    The biggest barrier with a school like this is the incredible cost of keeping it state-of-the-art. The budget will have to be very high and have a swap-out plan to bring in faster systems and the latest software. If the money and/or support for such and upgrade plan is there, it can survive. However, some politician will probably see this as a pork barrel for some other politician and leave the school in some sort of "Beta version."
    • This is very true, but also all that old equipment would be incredibly usefull to the Philly school district. A 3 or 4 year old computer (say 400mhz p2) would be very nice to be in alot of their classrooms. Yeah it would be expensive for Microsoft to keep it state of the art, but they'd get alot of it back in tax breaks and free advertising.
    • The biggest barrier with a school like this is the incredible cost of keeping it state-of-the-art.

      Quite. And what happens when it's served its purpose to Microsoft and they quietly withdraw funding?

      The first hit of heroin's always free.

  • Does it matter? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ncmusic (31531)
    I for one could careless about who's footing the bill? Whether or not the school creates loyal MS users is irrelevant in the face of providing a quality education.
    • They might consider buying books and teachers, but there's no marketing value in that and all the children will get out of the deal is an education.

      We wouldn't want that, now would we?

      KFG
  • Hail Bill (Score:2, Funny)

    by davejenkins (99111)
    I for one welcome our new Microsoft ove... oh... wait.
  • Inner City (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SilentReproach (91511) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:07AM (#6878049)
    IMO, forget the technology. Anyone who has seen the kind of life students have in the inner city can appreciate that a top notch new facility is a blessing, Microsoft or not.

    Now, if they were plunking a school in a suburb that was doing just fine without them, I'd question their motives. But, in this case, I'd have to think this is at best, altruism on Microsoft's part, or at worst, advertising money well spent.

    • But, in this case, I'd have to think this is at best, altruism on Microsoft's part

      Companies are, by definition, self-serving. Altruism has no place here.
  • It smells... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nycsubway (79012)
    Any corporation who funds an entire new school, or part of a public school is not a good idea. I would say it is ok to have a company DONATE money or resources to a public entity, but not to let them have any influence on the desicions that are made at the institution.

    Microsoft has a record of using 'donations' and grants to its complete benefit, not the benefit of the people they are donating to. Microsoft is different than other companies in that it does it so blatently.
    • Re:It smells... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mike_mgo (589966) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:37AM (#6878241)
      From the article:

      It will be one of 11 new high schools to be funded by the district's five-year $1.5 billion capital plan.

      Microsoft's contribution will not be monetary, but services worth millions of dollars, including a full-time on-site project manager, planning and design expertise, staff training and ongoing technology support.

      The company's reward is the opportunity to design a school using technology in every way possible from the ground up - a prototype it could then market.

      "Microsoft came here because we asked, simple as that," Vallas said.

      For those who might criticize such a corporate presence in a public school, district officials emphasized that Microsoft will not manage the school.

      It seems to me, based on the article, that MS is not funding the building of the school other than providing the technology and then continuning to provide support and advice for the school. Sure, Microsoft is getting something out of the deal but I don't remember reading where a good or charitable deed had to be completely selfless. Yes they may get tax breaks, a foot in the door to other districts and have a customer for future products at this school. But so what, they are providing a substatial benefit to the students at this school.

    • Re:It smells... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sql*kitten (1359) *
      Microsoft has a record of using 'donations' and grants to its complete benefit, not the benefit of the people they are donating to. Microsoft is different than other companies in that it does it so blatently.

      Let's see what Google has to say, shall we?
  • by jamesjw (213986)
    I'll be awaiting Microsoft High School Service Pack 2..

    I believe its tentativly expected to fix a few bugs (Termites and Wasp infestations in the ceiling)..

    Oh and it will replace a few corrupt bricks..

    -- Jim.

  • What is important is for kids to learn skills they need to susceed. IT jobs in the US are gone anyway so there is no point to learn Linux/Unix anymore. Indians will only need to learn this skill.

    Anyway you can run everything with Windows you can do in Unix with the write software installed. Perl, apache, and alot of other goodies are available.

    Students do not need to be left behind and I hate microsoft but lets try to make lemons out of lemonade here.

  • by localghost (659616) <dleblanc@gmail.com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:13AM (#6878078)
    At least in my experience, the more one uses Microsoft products, the more one does not want to ever use any again. If we force kids to use nothing but Windows for 4 years, surely they will look for an alternative the moment the opportunity arises.
  • Grammar Natzi (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Andrewkov (140579)
    Comon, editors, let's use the proper grammar, at least when talking about schools! To vs Too vs Two [wsu.edu].
  • Corporations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:13AM (#6878086)
    Especially with all of the negative press that Microsoft has had recently, is this an attempt to do some good and help out those who cannot afford private school? Or is Microsoft just making sure that they secure themselves another generation of coders/admins/users?

    Like every other corporation on the face of the planet, they don't blink unless (they think) it's in their best interests.

    I hate it when people "support"(buy from) a corporation because they get warm fuzzies from that company "supporting"(tossing a measly hundredth or thousandth of a percent of their profits to) a cause. Does BMW give a crap about breast cancer? No. Like all the other corporations that support "breast cancer research", they're basically just looking to get women to buy stuff from them.

    "Buy ________, we support ______ by donating* to the __________ foundation of America!"

    (*1/10th of a percent of the net profit of this product, minus taxes, executive bonuses, kickbacks, and of course some good old fashioned book cooking)

  • I sure hope they intend on having other operating systems in the school other than Windows. The key to having marketable IT skills is diversity.

    From a hardware standpoint, know how computers work and all of the meta layers of state machines and computers (logic gates, microcode, registers, memory access, and functions of various CPUs, operating systems, applications, and how all of the above is programmed)

    From a programming standpoint, know multiple languages and concepts (assembler vs. lisp vs. C vs. pe
  • Ah, they're just using the patented HubbardTech to apply LearnTech to students.

    "Ms Hoover... I don't see why the GPL is viral. The argument makes no sense!"

    "Well, Jimmy, that's because there is a word in B. Henry Gates' lecture that you don't understand. Go use WordClearTech until you find it. The rest of you: class dismissed because a worm has crashed the LAN again."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There are so many things that schools need more of... dicipline, respect, reasons to have respect, learning to learn, learning to like to learn, reading, math... Will computers give the kids this?

    Gee, how did we ever survive school without computers? I feel like I need to do it over again, and get it right...
  • Rebels! (Score:2, Informative)

    by chendo (678767)
    You realise if they do actually make running anything other than run Microsoft products against the rules, kids are more likely to disobey. Most kids are rebellious, and they like to stand out, to be different.

    To be l33t.

    I feel l33t because I'm the only person who uses linux in the whole school (sysadmins included) :p.

    On another note, our school would greatly benefit from ANY sort out IT help. Either they don't subnet or have good bridges. When a class logs on the Novell-based network, the whole netw
  • by loveandpeace (520766) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:24AM (#6878151) Homepage Journal

    Bill Gates can build all the schools he wants to and Linux can't for one reason and one reason only: Windows makes an offer. Bill and Melinda have built a foundation with grants galore [gatesfoundation.org] for the implementation of the Windows system. Whether you see it as gifting technology to the masses or corrupting the youth to the product, the point remains that public schools would gladly take the technology no matter who offers it. And these days, it's not as though anyone in the non-Windows world is giving the schools a whole lot of alternatives.

    The solution: quit complaining about the philathropic efforts of Windows and start an Open Source Foundation. Have an endowed fund and accept grant applications. Built it. They will come.

  • by lateralus (582425) <yoni-r@a c t com.com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:24AM (#6878152) Journal

    Mr. Doe I'm sorry to say that your son's report "What Microsoft Applications I Ran This Summer" was not graded because our systems can't read old Word files anymore. Please upgrade to a newer version of MS Word at home and resubmit your son's work for grading before the next semester.

  • by Dolohov (114209)
    Many, if not most, of us here cut our teeth on MS operating systems. They're good trainers and good toys. We were also bright enough to realize that there were some serious flaws there, and recognized a good/better thing when we saw it in Linux, MacOS, BSD, etc.

    Besides, most of us were introduced to Steinbeck in High School too, and who here still reads him? :)
  • I don't see a long line of philanthropic entities lineing up to provide competing service.

    As much as the communal voice of Slashdot wants to make Microsoft out to be the Great Satan (tm), they DO add positively to our society. (Do you really think those extremely cheap hardware options you have would be there without M$?)

  • Getting an education is the important thing. Yes, in a perfect world we would love the kids to cut their teeth on high end machines running a high end OS and follow that up with a few years at MIT.

    BUT....

    Way back when I went to school, Apple was the driving force. Schools had Apple computers, that was a given. So I learned all the geeky computer stuff on an Apple II and a Franklin.

    Was Apple my first computer purchase?

    Hell no! When I finally had my first real job I was watching the money. IBM clones
  • by Cally (10873)
    Can you say 'Hellgate'?

  • No Logo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:34AM (#6878214)
    Go to your local book shop and read chapter 4 of Naomi Klein's No Logo; in it she describes the myriad ways in which corporations have infiltrated schools. In that context, this is a very logical next step.
  • by maharg (182366) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:35AM (#6878220) Homepage Journal
    http://www.thestreet.com/comment/keyhole/774791.ht ml [thestreet.com]
    Scroll down for Paul Allen reference

    http://www.savephillyschools.org/edisonwatch/ [savephillyschools.org]
  • I wish I could have gone to this school -- even if it is in the inner city (suburbian myself :).

    My favorite days were those closed school snow days. I guess they'll be getting used to crash days...
  • its certainly good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asv108 (141455) * <alex@phata[ ]o.org ['udi' in gap]> on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:40AM (#6878267) Homepage Journal
    I grew up with TRS-80's, then Mac's, then Windows 3.x, for the past few years I've been using Linux. People often assume that just because a student uses a specific OS in school that they are going to use it forever, this is obviously not the case otherwise Apple for have a much larger share of the market.

    While its certainly a good idea to have kids exposed and trained to use Linux and other oses at a young age, people must consider the rebellion factor. A lot of kids will hate whatever the school endorses. Considering this is an inner city school, I would just be happy that they are getting the money.

  • by Infernon (460398) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nonrefni]> on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:48AM (#6878890)
    I grew up in Philly and left about four months ago. Here's what I know.
    The Philly public school system is shite. They're in their fourth year of budget problems and the state actually stepped in and bailed them out on one of them. Packed classrooms, lack of textbooks and teaching materials, etc. It's nasty. I spent a year at Southern before my mother pulled me out and put me in Catholic school.
    I would only think that this could be a good thing, especially considering that the city likes building football and baseball stadiums instead of improving things like public education. Outside interests can only help. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that it's the greatest thing in the world and it skeeves me out just a bit, but it's more of a 'better than nothing' situation. Kids can only benefit. Let them find open source the way I did-- I like to think of it as being chosen:)

  • by nicky_d (92174) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:50AM (#6878915) Homepage
    As ever, this is neither good or bad; it can't be anchored to either extreme. It's good in as much as the more kids get access to technology, the better. If it has to be MS tech, then even the most cynical can take comfort in the possibility that the kids will be desperate to get away from Windows by the time they're freed. But there's no competition between a kid with access to a PC and a kid without; the kid with a PC is undoubtedly better off.

    But this is also bad in that branded education is arguably undesirable. One of the dangers, for example, is that the school won't be free to teach students about Microsoft's less desirable traits and tactics, or about the problem with monopolies in general. As the article notes, MS is pursuing this as a case study - it may decide it wants to market this service far and wide in the future. A Microsoft school is obviously going to reflect Microsoft's interests. You may not think this a problem today, but how might this develop in the future, as MS' strategies develop and the schools they created are bound to follow? Now, I'm not proposing GNU-sponsored schools here, but at least such schools would have guaranteed freedom and flexibility in terms of their IT setup and how they choose to use it.

    The big difference is, of course, that MS is able to do this here and now, and potentially make great improvements to kids' educations. So for once, this isn't a theoretical debate. Which, you know, makes the whole thing ten times more difficult.
  • no no no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by chunkwhite86 (593696) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:54AM (#6878964)
    Microsoft is not building the school, they are only contributing the associated technology and services. With spending cuts hitting schools hard, Linux looks more tasty each passing day. This cunning move by microsoft assures them that this school will pump out thousands of students per year who are brainwashed to believe that computers = microsoft.

    Linux? eh? Mac? What's that? It runs inside of WindowsXP right? Behold, the next generation of systems administrators, purchasing directors, and CTO's.
  • by JTFritz (15573) * <jeffreytfritz@gmTOKYOail.com minus city> on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:57AM (#6878997) Homepage Journal
    Think about this for a second:

    Philadelphia school district is among the poorest funded in the nation. In 1998 Microsoft and the BSA nailed the district to the tune of $4.8 million. [salon.com]

    Now, Philadelphia is going to Microsoft and helping them market their products in return for funds to help build a new high school (which is desperately needed). I think Mayor John Street and his team have done a good job in turning that loss in 1998 into a win 5 years later.

  • by SlashDotForever (648359) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:55AM (#6879589)
    What happens to the kids that won't get access just because someone makes some sort of arbitray ethical decision? The world is full of huge contradictions and paradoxes. If this gives these kids the chance to use computers and be comfortable with technology, why don't we trust the rest of the school system to teach them to think and make their own choices as they grow. The experience is more important then the who or what.
  • Crash days? (Score:3, Funny)

    by WiggyWack (88258) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:55AM (#6880650) Homepage
    I wonder if instead of "snow days" the students will be hoping for "crash days".
  • by ekc (594380) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:59AM (#6880694)
    1. Textbook patches will be released biweekly. Application of the patches is mandatory.

    2. When the blackboard suddenly turns blue, students must leave the classroom in an orderly fashion and return to their seats after ten minutes. No explanation will be given.

    3. An alarm bell will sound to signal a massive virus outbreak or worm infestation at Microsoft High. Students are required to calmly exit the building. No drills have been scheduled for this procedure, as it is believed the bell will ring frequently throughout the term without them.

    4. Visits to Open Source High are stictly forbidden. Students are, however, encouraged to visit other area schools and report any smaller, well-run institutions with innovative programs to expedite their hostile acquisition by the Microsoft School Board.

    5. Our MSSAT exam is similar to--though subtly incompatible with--its government counterpart.

    6. Please do not be alarmed by the video portraits of Bill Gates whose eyes follow you down every hall. He got the idea from reading Harry Potter.
  • by 26199 (577806) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:00PM (#6881346) Homepage

    ...then I remembered where we get Computer Science lectures at Cambridge University: the William Gates Building. We also get free copies of Windows XP, amongst others. So it would be a bit hypocritical to object :-)

    These things can go either way... we still have Linux on all the lab PCs and we get taught as much Linux-specific stuff as Windows-specific stuff, if not more. So, wait and see before you judge, is my advice...

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