Change in Columbus schools' computers...

Change in Columbus schools' computers fuels union grievance | The Columbus Dispatch

There are 95 comments on the Columbus Dispatch story from Oct 18, 2010, titled Change in Columbus schools' computers fuels union grievance | The Columbus Dispatch. In it, Columbus Dispatch reports that:

The union that represents Columbus schoolteachers has filed a grievance concerning a new classroom computer system, saying it's so defective that it violates their contract.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Columbus Dispatch.

Greg

Columbus, OH

#21 Oct 19, 2010
If you have "Central Servers" then you're not really doing "Cloud Computing". What you have is a mainframe, and you're not in the cloud to begin with.
Villebilly

Columbus, OH

#22 Oct 19, 2010
If the tax payers only knew half of what goes on at CCS the next bond issue would be turned down unanimously. The more money they get, the more they waste. Would someone please tell them that throwing money away doesn't solve the problems. I'm sure CCS is the laughing stock of the computer industry, they will buy anything and they don't care if it works.
Tech Man

Sunbury, OH

#23 Oct 19, 2010
Maybe the problem is that IT doesn't know what cloud computing really is. It's not the same as thin client computing. If you don't understand the basics of computing you will always fail.
Oh really

Delaware, OH

#24 Oct 19, 2010
As to how great the new system is -- I think it's hilarious that the entire district is unable to use the Student Information System today. Teachers cannot open it to take attendance, post grades, or enter assignments. Then again, they cannot use Word, Excel, or any other application. The only thing available is the internet and even that is having problems. Only someone who hasn't a clue would think that's okay.
Reader

Columbus, OH

#25 Oct 19, 2010
another CCS teacher wrote:
Interesting that Mr. Houpe acknowledges that there have been problems in the first 10 days of school. What about all the problems since January of 2009 when he foisted this disaster on us? When will they be resolved? If this were a business environment he would have been fired a year ago.
Ironic that teachers are suggesting that the school system should operate like a business environment. I recall not too many years ago when it was nearly impossible to get a message to a teacher and expect a response within a reasonable timeframe (no voice-mail, students answering phones, no phone answering following the final bell, etc--not to mention that CCS teacher use of email is spotty), when I made the same comment about how far CCS was lagging behind the business world. I got a very huffy rejoinder that CCS WAS NOT a business.

It's really difficult to be able to tell what is going on here when the union is the one collecting comments. If you have ever read the CCS union sponsored blog, it is clear that teachers pay it no mind unless/until the union is running a campaign and has put out the word that teachers are to comment on a question that has been posted there. Then there are lots of comments. And despite the fact that it's a public blog, non-supportive comments from the public get axed. So--clearly the union is gunning for something here. But, whether there is really a computer problem, or this is just a bargaining chip in some other struggle that is ongoing is really hard to tell.

I am quite certain that some teachers are upset if they have to rely on district provided software from a central server (although I thought that had been the reality for some time--but if they are really "thin" clients now, then they cannot get around policy and put their own stuff on), although this is certainly the policy and practice in just about any business the size of CCS. The union also likes to feed paranoia about the possibility of "downtown" having legal access (whether they do anything with it or not) to teacher's work email accounts (they advise teachers to respond to their annual survey from a computer outside the district to prevent snooping). Again, SOP in any business these days. But the paranoia means that many teachers refuse to communicate with parents via email, and those who do may or may not use their district email--so even getting an email address is a challenge.

Interesting that one teacher complained about the time it took to set up the computers for students--haven't seen a lot of integration of computers into classroom work, glad to see it happening. But--I have also seen plenty of classrooms where the required 4 computers sat in the back gathering dust. They were "available."
Details

Columbus, OH

#26 Oct 19, 2010
frustrated sped teach wrote:
the new system took away the use of most of the assistive technology for special ed students. those that work took over a month and a half to get the "hurt" desk to come out and set up on my computer. Go it is frustrating to read that Dublin schools are getting iPads and we can't even get working dell desktops. We wonder why we aren't on even playing ground?!?
Dublin residents pay through the nose for superior technology. Columbus does not.
Reader

Columbus, OH

#27 Oct 19, 2010
Details wrote:
<quoted text>
Dublin residents pay through the nose for superior technology. Columbus does not.
And perhaps they have bigger noses, as well.
unionschmunion

Columbus, OH

#28 Oct 19, 2010
Those who are calling for firings due to non-perfromance of job duties should take a long look in the mirror. May be the largest district in the state, but also may be the most uneducated student population in the state. Take note, teachers!! Sorry, I forgot...you don't have to worry because your union will support your inept ability to teach...Just sayin'!!
biology teach

Columbus, OH

#29 Oct 19, 2010
There is no way the problems are solved. I cannot even use PowerPoint or Word when the system is down - ridiculous! Even when I do not need to get online I cannot proceed with my well-planned lesson. In addition, the lack of CD-ROM drives has hampered my ability to use great interactives that I have put considerable effort into obtaining. Lastly, I cannot show videos or news clips, on the TV - because no AV output or on the LCD projector the school bought because the processor is so slow it makes for a pixilated screen and lag in sound.
teachteach

Columbus, OH

#30 Oct 19, 2010
unionschmunion wrote:
Those who are calling for firings due to non-perfromance of job duties should take a long look in the mirror. May be the largest district in the state, but also may be the most uneducated student population in the state. Take note, teachers!! Sorry, I forgot...you don't have to worry because your union will support your inept ability to teach...Just sayin'!!
What are you talking about? I work at a triple crown school and the top IB school in the state - how does this make me inept? We are talking about wasteful spending here, what is wrong with that? Don't you see that we want to use public funds thoughtfully?
Anonymous

Lewis Center, OH

#31 Oct 19, 2010
JustWondering wrote:
Hey teachers, try this. Just quit coming up with excuses and just teach. There is nothing wrong with using a blackboard/whiteboard, pencil. and paper.
Yes, it's a waste of money, but so are the unions.
Sounds great, but what exactly do you suggest I do without computer access as a technology teacher?
teachteach

Columbus, OH

#32 Oct 19, 2010
Reader wrote:
<quoted text>
Ironic that teachers are suggesting that the school system should operate like a business environment. I recall not too many years ago when it was nearly impossible to get a message to a teacher and expect a response within a reasonable timeframe (no voice-mail, students answering phones, no phone answering following the final bell, etc--not to mention that CCS teacher use of email is spotty), when I made the same comment about how far CCS was lagging behind the business world. I got a very huffy rejoinder that CCS WAS NOT a business.
It's really difficult to be able to tell what is going on here when the union is the one collecting comments. If you have ever read the CCS union sponsored blog, it is clear that teachers pay it no mind unless/until the union is running a campaign and has put out the word that teachers are to comment on a question that has been posted there. Then there are lots of comments. And despite the fact that it's a public blog, non-supportive comments from the public get axed. So--clearly the union is gunning for something here. But, whether there is really a computer problem, or this is just a bargaining chip in some other struggle that is ongoing is really hard to tell.
I am quite certain that some teachers are upset if they have to rely on district provided software from a central server (although I thought that had been the reality for some time--but if they are really "thin" clients now, then they cannot get around policy and put their own stuff on), although this is certainly the policy and practice in just about any business the size of CCS. The union also likes to feed paranoia about the possibility of "downtown" having legal access (whether they do anything with it or not) to teacher's work email accounts (they advise teachers to respond to their annual survey from a computer outside the district to prevent snooping). Again, SOP in any business these days. But the paranoia means that many teachers refuse to communicate with parents via email, and those who do may or may not use their district email--so even getting an email address is a challenge.
Interesting that one teacher complained about the time it took to set up the computers for students--haven't seen a lot of integration of computers into classroom work, glad to see it happening. But--I have also seen plenty of classrooms where the required 4 computers sat in the back gathering dust. They were "available."
You are mistaken; the district has hindered our use of previously bought (with the district funds) software because of this upgrade. There is a problem, though also a bargaining chip I do not know. In addition, I do not know one teacher who does not have an email address with which they communicate with parents and students. I have a course website that I update daily, from home, as I am blocked from doing so at work. I have no computers in the back of my classroom.
teachteach

Columbus, OH

#33 Oct 19, 2010
JustWondering wrote:
Hey teachers, try this. Just quit coming up with excuses and just teach. There is nothing wrong with using a blackboard/whiteboard, pencil. and paper.
Yes, it's a waste of money, but so are the unions.
I don't have a blackboard in my room that is visible from all of my desks; in addition, there is nothing wring with using PowerPoint presentations to teach - it doesn't make me less of a teacher or lazy. The thing you seem not to understand is that the technology is bought and paid for; we are not asking for more. We are just trying to teach students in a manner to prepare them for college with the technology we have.
frustrated sped teach

Columbus, OH

#34 Oct 19, 2010
Details wrote:
<quoted text>
Dublin residents pay through the nose for superior technology. Columbus does not.
I agree. I think that your residents show that you value education and GOOD WORKING technology. When you pay for something you expect it to work. The residents of Columbus paid for technology, they were told it was being fixed and it is NOT!! They deserve the same. The students deserve the same!
Bank Lobbyist

Reynoldsburg, OH

#35 Oct 19, 2010
Americans are just plain dumb, they can't do computer technology right and I would have outsourced those jobs overseas for cheaper labor. But even that the kids are still not going to learn cause they are Americans!
CCS Teacher

Pickerington, OH

#36 Oct 19, 2010
Dear Reader:
Thank GOD for the union. This has been a problem since the thin clients were installed. Hopefully this will get fixed, thanks to them. The reason they're collecting the comments is because they are responsible for advocating for my colleagues and I. I've got to say, they're doing a heck of a job.
Non-supportive comments from the public get axed? Really? You should rethink your position on that one.
Regarding the rest of your comments, I've never been able (nor have I ever tried) to install my own software on my computer. That's just not part of the deal.
Reader, what you don't understand is the fact that we have to educate our students for the 21st century. How can one do that when the tools we have are stuck in the 1990's?
I understand that what I do on the computer in my classroom becomes public domain; due to this fact, I don't check my personal email, nor do I do anything that isn't related to the performance of the goal which I am hired-- educating my students. I don't have time. If you were a teacher in CCS, you'd understand. For example, I wanted to comment on this article, but A) I didn't have time, and B) Couldn't during the day because it wasn't related to my duties.
I would, however, like to say that your misgivings regarding this situation are troubling. You have to understand, Reader, that we are expected on an ever-increasing basis to integrate technology into our instruction, to say nothing of the district-mandated assessment that we are REQUIRED to implement in our classrooms. The world is flat, and it is due to technology. Technology we're supposed to teach and assess with.
If the system that is supposed to support that technology is inherently faulty and does not work, what are we to do? I am a CCS teacher, and I am proud to be in this district. My students need me, and I accept the challenges that teaching in CCS brings. All I ask is for adequate, functioning technology. We don't have that.
Therefore I unequivocally support what my union is doing. They advocate for those who advocate for the students. This is about our students. They're being left behind. Reader, why are you doubting what I am saying?
The Old School

Southlake, TX

#37 Oct 19, 2010
When I went to Linden McKinley in the 50's, all tests were on paper and pencils were very common! Each school room had a pencil sharpner.
CCS Teacher

Pickerington, OH

#38 Oct 19, 2010
JustWondering wrote:
Hey teachers, try this. Just quit coming up with excuses and just teach. There is nothing wrong with using a blackboard/whiteboard, pencil. and paper.
Yes, it's a waste of money, but so are the unions.
I do teach with paper, pencil and blackboard. However, the world has moved beyond that, as evidenced by your interactive Web 2.0 type post. My union is worth every penny. My union advocates for me asI advocate for what my students need.
techie_parent

Lucasville, OH

#39 Oct 19, 2010
Bank Lobbyist wrote:
Americans are just plain dumb, they can't do computer technology right and I would have outsourced those jobs overseas for cheaper labor. But even that the kids are still not going to learn cause they are Americans!
As for this comment, why should I even bother? Why is this person even in America??? Wrong forum. Anyway...

Regarding the REAL topic here, it pains me to sit here and read about teachers complaining about their "broken toys." Why do I call them that? I do so because they are too often looked at as teaching alternatives instead of teaching tools. And yes, I am about to go there. When I was in school (and I'm sure many of you teaching in the system are probably around my age or older) we didn't have computers to use to learn how to read, write, and comprehend. There were books, pens, pencils, paper and a little imagination and thought. Ooooh what a concept! So if the technology you want to use is not working, then break out with a back up plan. Now THAT is a "well planned lesson."
techie_parent

Lucasville, OH

#40 Oct 19, 2010
Bank Lobbyist wrote:
Americans are just plain dumb, they can't do computer technology right and I would have outsourced those jobs overseas for cheaper labor. But even that the kids are still not going to learn cause they are Americans!
As for this comment, why should I even bother? Why is this person even in America??? Wrong forum. Anyway...

Regarding the REAL topic here, it pains me to sit here and read about teachers complaining about their "broken toys." Why do I call them that? I do so because they are too often looked at as teaching alternatives instead of teaching tools. And yes, I am about to go there. When I was in school (and I'm sure many of you teaching in the system are probably around my age or older) we didn't have computers to use to learn how to read, write, and comprehend. There were books, pens, pencils, paper and a little imagination and thought. Ooooh what a concept! So if the technology you want to use is not working, then break out with a back up plan. Now THAT is a "well planned lesson."

As far as the technology goes, it does sound like money could've been better spent and implementation done in phases. For a school system this large you can't do it any other way and expect it to "work out of the box." If the schools are anything like the few I've worked with then I'm willing to bet that every teacher wants their OWN programs to work with their OWN systems as if they brought them from home. Now when you have a problem with all these different types and versions of software and hardware and no standardization like businesses and corporations (referring to an earlier teacher's remark about schools being like a business), you have a hodge podge that you can't even BEGIN to support with reasonable efficiency. Also it takes away the "I wanna use what I wanna" mentality as far as SOME of the "teaching tools" go. And yes it is the 21st century. WOO HOO! Big freakin' deal. While I agree that we need to have technology that works we also need to get out of this spoiled brat mentality that people have in this era where everything works ALL the time out of the box. Unless the district wants every school to be it's own little technology island, then yes, get rid of the "upgrade" and go back to the way things were before if they even ran at all.

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