GPS Screws Up Another Chromebook Rollout

The Great Chromebook Rollout of 2016-2017 is sputtering its way through Gilbert Public Schools, once again showing no one in the GPS administration ever pays a price for screwing up. You would think that, since GPS schools held special events before school started to get their massive amounts of administrivia under control, Chromebooks immediately would have been in the hands of students. After Christina Kishimoto invented the Internet, she waited seven days to invent 1:1 technology, or so she would have you believe. Alas, nothing ever works as planned in Gilbert Public Schools.

Some teachers didn’t get the memo that the inefficient distribution of Chromebooks meant many students have not been issued their own Chromebooks. After all, parents are required to sign forms giving away their firstborn child accepting the GPS Technology Device User Agreement before their kids can receive GPS-owned Chromebooks. Nevertheless, some of those teachers went so gung-ho for Kishimoto’s digital curriculum initiative, they immediately assigned homework that required collaboration among students, all in the name of *digital scholarship.* Since Chromebooks were not universally available to all students, teachers helpfully directed students to use their personal smartphones to get the homework done. Brilliant:

We have to look and ensure that we’re paying attention to what we’re doing, so that we don’t reflexively institute processes and procedures that exclude people without thought. -Sonia Sotomayor

GPS ineptness meant that not all students had Gmail accounts, so it was impossible for all students to access all the nifty GPS resources required to do the homework. Not all students had smartphones, either, so many students were unable to do any homework at all. Some of the kids who do have smartphones operate on a data usage plan that was never envisioned by their parents (who foot the bill for cell phones, whether smart or not). When those data plan consequences become due, we’re going to hear some howling! In many cases, the kids will be explaining to their parents about how their teachers caused the problems, but many parents won’t realize how the outrageous data usage was just business as usual for Gilbert Public Schools. No one in the GPS administration will be called to account for this screw up.

Since kids really, really wanted to get their homework done and make a good first impression on their new teachers [which will last for a week or two, perhaps], kids shared their personal email account information with each other. Gee … didn’t GPS tout that students would be issued Gmail accounts to assure parents that the GPS administration would properly supervise the 1:1 digital learning process? Now that kids have shared their personal email address and other information under the guise of *doing assigned homework,* how long will it take before some unfortunate kid is cyberbullied on said personal email account? Once again, GPS failed to follow through on promises to parents and students that GPS administrators would protect vulnerable students from cyber danger. Once again, no one in the administration will be held accountable for a foreseeable tragedy. GPS admins never pay any price. GPS students are not so *lucky.*

For kids who don’t have cell phones at all, once again it is Haves versus Have Nots — the quality of the educational offerings vary according to the socio-economic status of GPS students and their families. Or according to the strictness of parents who refuse to delegate to GPS their parental duty of supervising their children’s Internet usage. Those parents might have considered opting out of the GPS technology digital scholars rigmarole, but that’s not possible. If you click the image labeled Technology on the GPS Home Page, there is a helpful link to a Technology Opt Out form. If you click the link to the form, you get a Page Not Found message.  Actually, that’s true of all the “Important Files” links helpfully listed on the Technology page. Sheeeesh.

Congratulations, Jon Castelhano, Executive Director of Technology, for being professionally unprepared for the new school year! Reasonable people would have expected that if Chromebooks were so important, the district would have figured out how to get those devices into the hands of students BEFORE teachers assigned homework requiring online collaboration. Reasonable parents expect that they should be able to access information about the GPS Chromebook program and opt out if they so desired.

Once again, it appears that Christina Kishimoto selected a subordinate for reasons other than such a mundane background as technological proficiency, like her former Executive Director of Technology, Charles Stevin Smith. We’re still waiting for GPS to produce public records showing the bonuses and stipends paid to Kishimoto’s favored few in the past two years. Of course, no one is surprised that information has been placed under lock and key, legally or otherwise.

Here’s what TEACHERS are saying about how screwed up the entire GPS focus on *technology* has been:

People who are able to leave will leave as long as the focus on the spending is going to be on technology and not teachers. Class numbers are still high as they are not replacing every teacher who left this last year. We hear the term *data driven practices* from administration in our teaching yet there is not one study that shows 1:1 with computers will increase achievement. There are plenty of studies though that show lower class size does increase achievement. Maybe the 1:1 needs to come closer with students and teachers and not students and computers. I am not against technology but I am against replacing teachers with it, with not funding extra curricular adequately with it and making it a focal point for a PR move.

Place your bets, folks! Which will happen first this school year?

A. Kids will defeat inept GPS filters and access porn on their GPS issued Chromebooks, or

B. Kids will discover teacher and/or admin login information and send out porn over GPS servers.

An even bigger jackpot goes to the person who correctly predicts the date(s) on which either or both of those two events occur!

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