At the beginning of the 2010 Hawaii Legislative session, with the State facing a $1.1 billion budget deficit, I wrote a five-part series for our Legislature and for our tech community. The purpose was to demonstrate simple procurement decisions, and abuses, that subsidized technology-driven jobs in locations other than our own economy.
Failing to Leverage Buying Power
Everyone aware of education and NCLB know how important the HSA, Hawaii State Assessment, test is for our NCLB compliance. This year the DOE has turned to Washington D.C. based Advanced Institute for Research to design our online test. In a demonstration of the lack of strategic decision making, THE WEB-BASED HSA ONLINE TEST WILL NOT SUPPORT THE SCREEN RESOLUTION OF THE NETBOOKS THAT NEARLY EVERY SCHOOL USES. Having seen the torment our tech coordinators are undergoing as they try to determine if they can support this test, please, if you are serious about saving money, creating jobs, and doing anything other than blaming others, ask yourself the following:
- How much money, per each of our students, are we paying to license this software?
- Why did the RFP not require that the web based test support the most common screen resolution, 1024x600, of our DOE' netbooks?
- How much money will schools now spend buying computers for the test, or monitors for their netbooks?
- How much money could schools have saved had Apple Computer not paid to dispose, or ecycle, their surplus monitors for the last two years?
- How many jobs could we have created locally if we were designing the software with our own experts?
- How much revenue for the State could we be earning if we were selling and supporting our own web-based testing platform?
- How many hours, in a shortened school year, will teachers and Tech Coordinators spend supporting this?
- Why am I, an outside volunteer, the one expert actually asking the D.C. software developers critical questions about supporting our complex infrastructure?
The example cited here, Paying to Watch Videos, and the example above, put us over 10 million dollars in savings without consideration for the revenue potential. If you are interested in solutions that are Free to the taxpayers and that create jobs, then this is your second tangible example.
2010 R. Scott Belford
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