How is it possible that after spending $30 Million dollars three years ago to establish a secure database which simply houses every public students grades throughout the state we now have to lobby the Federal Government and the State Tax payers for additional funds to basically scrub the plan and redesign it completely?
In an age of companies like Google, Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo, who in essence are giant database managers and sift through trillions of documents across multiple geographic locations in nanoseconds, we (the New York State tax payers) can't seem to either build a database that in essence contains the grades of all k-12 children in public schools and can spit out the results in less than 10 minutes?
God forbid we were to expect this database would keep track of the 7,000 public/private schools and our 248 colleges and universities. Or our 7,000 libraries, and 750 museums. Or the 750,000 professionals we have hired to administer classes or maintain facilities.
We are severely overdue a reality check. Unfortunately it is coming in the form of severe layoffs and excruciating economic hardship. Lets face it, when the Department of Education is allowed to burn money the way it does, can this possibly be a surprise? We are constantly throwing good money at utterly incompetent people and not asking for concrete and realistic results.
Does anyone with any sort of realistic rational think we could not have put this project up for a competitive bid and demanded guarantees from the developers? Does anyone honestly think Google or Microsoft would not have built this database for us for cheaper? Furthermore, does anyone doubt that once one of these fabulously smart whiz kids was assigned to this database that it would not morph into a piece of software that would manage not only our young kids, but also our older ones, our facilities, our teachers, our administrators and probably anything else he/she/them might think was pertinent?
Take it one step further, by establishing a comprehensive database like the one I have portrayed, how much money would the Department of Education save that could be applied to special education programs, or new facilities, or teacher training, or extra curricular activities?
I don't know for certain, but I wouldn't be surprised if the savings would be large enough to completely revamp and fund every arts program in the State for example.
We need serious operators who grasp the severity of our problem and more importantly understand the vast resources we have available if we could just approach issues with an open mind and without a sense of arrogance. Members of the Board of Regents have failed us, and more importantly our kids.
The fact that the mayor and the governor have not stepped up to confront them is equally alarming. Yet again, another undeniable example of frivolous waste, cowardice and irreverence to their constituents.