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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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  • A Win Win (Score:5, Informative)

    by OfficerNoGun (686128) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:03AM (#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.
  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Informative)

    by millwall (622730) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:05AM (#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.
  • by kurosawdust (654754) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:14AM (#6878089)
    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"?

  • by hermango (619774) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:16AM (#6878102)
    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.
  • by Radon Knight (684275) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:17AM (#6878114)
    > Sent home after drinking a Coke? You must be kidding
    > me...

    I remember something about this. A quick Google turned up the following blurb. I don't know that this is true (a little more digging should confirm/reject it):

    Greenbrier High School in Evans, Georgia had sponsored a "Coke in Education Day" in order to win $500 from the Coca-Cola company. One kid (Michael Cameron) wore a Pepsi shirt to school to protest and was suspended.

    So, the report, albeit incorrect, was not *that* far off the mark. And the above story of Greenbrier High School, if true, is very worrisome.
  • Rebels! (Score:2, Informative)

    by chendo (678767) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:24AM (#6878150)
    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 network goes to pieces.

    It's not every day you walk down to the helpdesk and see half the staff hunt-and-pecking with two fingers.
  • Re:It smells... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mike_mgo (589966) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:37AM (#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.

  • by Simon (815) * <simon@s i m onzone.com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:45AM (#6878305) Homepage
    It's mentioned and referenced in "No Logo" by Naomi Klein. Her reference for the story is from "Associated Press, 25 March 1998".

    Here is the first link from Google on the subject:

    http://www.noveltynet.org/content/paranormal/www.p arascope.com/articles/cnews/980325.htm [noveltynet.org]

    I very strongly recommend that everyone read "No Logo". Brands in education is a problem.

    --
    Simon

  • Re:Blackmail (Score:3, Informative)

    by Blob Pet (86206) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:12AM (#6878557) Homepage
    Here [salon.com] is an article on that incident. It does force you to wonder what the licensing scheme will be.
  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Informative)

    by mj01nir (153067) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:21AM (#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) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:36AM (#6878784)
    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.
  • by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity&yahoo,com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:40AM (#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 JTFritz (15573) * <jeffreytfritz&gmail,com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:57AM (#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.

  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kulaid982 (704089) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:12AM (#6879156)
    "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."

    Actually, Newark High School in Newark, DE has just unveiled a new schoolwide network (built by volunteer Dads and Moms, totally funded by fundraising that people in the school community had done) featuring boxes with AMD procs all running Red Hat, Open Office, and a myriad of other programs included in the K-12 Linux Terminal Server Project. Basically, the only cost was hardware, otherwise, the volunteers built all the boxes, installed the software, and configured the network. What a great step away from Microsoft, eh?
  • by lylonius (20917) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:18AM (#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 sammaffei (565627) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:22AM (#6879848)
    Being a 'white middle-class' resident of Philly, let's set the record straight...

    We're not so desparate that the city is building (built) 2 brand new stadiums at a HUGE cost to the taxpayers (see Monday Night Football this week). But, hey, the labor unions need their payoffs / kickbacks for their continued support of Mayor Street.

    Philly has money for what it wants to have money for. That's always been the case. They could do better by the schools (considering they just upped real estate taxes again). They don't want to.

    How else are they going to get street sweepers for "The Avenue of the Arts"?
  • by monkeydo (173558) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:31AM (#6879945) Homepage
    But Gates Foundation or no, the linked article is very clear on MS' involvement (and it's non-monetary-- so it works is they give stuff to the school which costs them very little incrementally to produce, then they write off the full retail value on their taxes, essentially making a profit on their tax return).

    You forgot to say IANACPA. I'm not either, but I do know that according to the IRS your basis for charitable contributions of inventory (that is property you sell in the course of your business) is the SMALLER of the fair market value or your cost.

    If MS donates software that cost them very little to produce then they get very little tax deduction. If the software comes directly from MS then MS is donating millions of dollars worth of software that the school could probably never afford in exchange for very little tax benefit. If the software is coming from the Gates Foundation, then the foundation would have to buy the software from MS and donate it. Since the foundation is tax exempt the deduction wouldn't be an issue. If you like you can check out form Publication 526 [irs.gov] from the IRS.
  • by greenhide (597777) <jordanslashdot@@@cvilleweekly...com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:36AM (#6879989)
    Hmmm, maybe Microsoft can figure a way around this, but generally when you donate services rather than tangible items, you get screwed concerning tax writeoffs.

    At our business, we put in hours and hours of work into free websites for non-profits, only to find out that we couldn't get any tax deductions for services rendered.

    Not a penny.

    I'm not sure how the tax code works exactly in this respect, but the only amount they can deduct is the amount of money spent to salary the workers, which they would be doing anyway even if they were working in Microsoft proper. If Microsoft is already reporting the salaries for these workers (and I'm sure they would be!) then they can't take any further deductions for these workers, even if all the work they do is "donated". And for services rendered, they can only deduct for the real cost associated with them, such as costs for printing and various tangible goods.

    Please let me know if this is not the case, because it'd never hurt to be able to deduct the work we've done. :-) Every resource online I've found, however, suggests that these sorts of donations can't get tax writeoffs.

    The reverse is not true, apparently. Say I give someone 10 hours of web work in exchange for a free meal worth $75. The IRS sees this as a barter exchange, and technically I have to report the full value of the time as income. So I would have to report fair-market value of ten hours of web work (around $450-700) as income. *grrrrr*
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:03PM (#6880732)
    I wouldn't be surprised that he would have to pay huge taxes instead of giving his money away.

    The rich usually have the choice between giving their money to the state OR to non profit organisations.
    So creating a foundation bearing its own name is a common thing.

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