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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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  • Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ken@WearableTech (107340) * <ken@kenwilliamsjr.cNETBSDom minus bsd> on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:56AM (#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.
  • Pink Floyd (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dolo666 (195584) on Friday September 05, 2003 @07:59AM (#6878004) Journal
    Pink Floyd would have a field day with this. Except in this case, the giant meat grinder would be an NT server from hell!
  • coders (Score:3, Interesting)

    by selderrr (523988) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:03AM (#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 Kierthos (225954) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:09AM (#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
  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dnoyeb (547705) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:17AM (#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...
  • by OfficerNoGun (686128) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:17AM (#6878110)
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:18AM (#6878116)
    .. after so much was given away. See http://www.savephillyschools.org/money/ [savephillyschools.org]
  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:2, Interesting)

    by glenn1you0 (685156) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:19AM (#6878126)
    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. "
  • by turgid (580780) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:31AM (#6878191) Journal
    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.

  • by maharg (182366) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:35AM (#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]
  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Blob Pet (86206) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:46AM (#6878310) Homepage
    I question it.

    Anyone remember this [theregister.co.uk]?
  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aaronvegh (546815) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:48AM (#6878325)
    Actually, a lot of people cry out that Coke and Pepsi are warping childrens' minds. It's part of the war against commercialization in schools. See this paper [asu.edu] for an example.

  • Re:coders (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mumblestheclown (569987) on Friday September 05, 2003 @08:55AM (#6878375)
    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 DeltaHat (645840) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:24AM (#6878659) Homepage
    I used to attend a high school in North Carolina that tried the whole "Technology-centric School" thing and here is what I saw. Everything started out fine, we had a school wide network, a PC for every two students, web access and email for all, and enough server space to cover our collective file storage needs. After the school opened, things went down hill. Our net admin was a complete dolt. He managed to melt our main authentication server, causing a school wide network outage for almost two weeks. Our network was plagued with macro viruses, hackers, and faulty hardware. Ninety percent of the staff was completely incompetent when dealing with all the glitzy technology thrown in their face, and the turnover rate was horrendous due to technology frustrations. It seems public school teachers don't get paid enough to deal with technology inept PHBs. By my senior year the school computers, which were more often than not the same computers that were there when the school first opened five years prior, had become so overloaded that they were practically unusable. To add insult to injury, the entire school shared a single T1 line. During peak hours, internet access screeched to a halt.
  • by SuperChuck69 (702300) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:33AM (#6878751)
    A local school near me had a similar deal with (if I recall correctly) IBM.

    It was fantastic the first year. New computers, servers, modem banks, everything a high school loser could ever hope for! But then IBM cut funding, leaving this little rural community footing the bill.

    I kid you not, the next year, the school was so strapped for cash, students were required to bring their own toilet paper to school with them!

    Sure, it good for some publicity photographs and it gets Micro$oft on Slashdot for something POSITIVE for a change, but will M$ continue to pour cash into the school, or will the tide turn when the paint dries?

  • by kfg (145172) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:51AM (#6878924)
    And I welcome the day Microsoft makes like investments in libraries. . .

    Just so long as they make sure they have the complete O'Reilly catatlog and don't put up a fuss about the Linux backend running the catalog.

    I'm reminded of one of my favorite bumper stickers:

    "Welcome to New Jersey! Leave your money and go the fuck home"

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

    by hellfire (86129) <deviladv&gmail,com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:02AM (#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.
  • by truthsearch (249536) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:58AM (#6879616) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by FLoWCTRL (20442) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:15AM (#6879770) Journal
    How many inner city students will be able to afford Windows XP -- now more expensive than entire computer systems? The same goes for MS Office. Poor kids can probably get now-obsolete-by-market-standards hardware for free. For example, I know of one university with a few hundred P200's sitting in storage. No one wants them, and its expensive to recycle them.

    Linux user group(s) in Philadelphia should think about finding old, donated equipment, and offer it along with group Linux lessons and installfests to students of "MS High". Contact the student council. MS isn't running the school, they're only providing the technology & support. The exposure to technology that these kids will get at school may spark their interest, but they could have no money for the expensive proprietary software, and we know what happens when MS software is pirated [salon.com]. With some help, they could learn that great software isn't necessarily expensive.
  • by darien (180561) <darien@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:28PM (#6880996)
    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.

    Captain Nitpick writes:

    Nicely done, except that "thine" means "yours" (or it can mean "your" before a vowel, as in "thine user base"); so I'm guessing that in the bit about SCO you probably want to be using "their" instead of "thine" throughout.

    And they said an English degree was useless.
  • by J3zmund (301962) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:40PM (#6881654)
    I saw no reference to the audit MS did in the Philly public schools a few years ago, which forced one of the poorest school districts in the country to shell out cash they really didn't have. What happened? MS wrote off the balance due and called it a donation.

    link [salon.com]
  • by Illbay (700081) on Friday September 05, 2003 @04:24PM (#6882587) Journal
    ...is the Philadelphia School District selling out to Microsoft really the only way to achieve this?

    Well, since they spent the last century and a half "sold out" to the State of Pennsylvania, this could be PROGRESS.

  • Re:Blinded By Hate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hellfire (86129) <deviladv&gmail,com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @05:55PM (#6883468) Homepage
    Well first you think I disagree with this move. I don't entirely. However, I think any move that involves "donation" of software deserves scrutiny. We've already been here before [slashdot.org].

    A typical monopolist tactic is to sell or give away software at reduced prices. This is flat out illegal for a monopoly to do. Microsoft can afford to give away software if it means making up profits by locking this school into buying future microsoft products to remain compatible. Give away the software, sell upgrades at astronomical prices.

    Now, two things could be happening here, I think. The Gates foundation could be not only donating the software needed, they could be donating services and free upgrades. If Microsoft pours nothing but heart into this and expects no monetary gain out of this, then its a noble cause. Even if they expected a little mindshare I wouldn't mind.

    However, if the Gates foundation says "here's a bunch of PCs with windows and office on them, see you in 2 years when you'll need to upgrade them" I expect someone to step up and cry "MONOPOLY" because this is a loophole which should be illegal. IANAL so I don't know if it is or not, but it should be.

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