ONE way districts are negotiating cheap, reliable internet for themselves

28 school districts in Michigan leverage their cumulative power to provide bargain-priced internet access to Oakland County.

internet-consortiumAs an early adopter of the “county-wide internet” concept, the School District of the City of Pontiac in Michigan pays less than a third of the statewide average for its high-speed, highly reliable internet.

Pontiac is just one of the 28 Oakland County schools districts that have hooked into the ONE consortium, which pools its collective resources to bargain big with telecom providers and tap into other funding sources. The consortium is part of a statewide Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant (TRIG) effort that’s partially funded through the federal E-rate program.…Read More

Wis. schools face deep cuts under gov.’s budget

Gov. Scott Walker is plowing ahead with his full plan for balancing Wisconsin’s budget, proposing massive cuts to public schools even as he faces a stalemate over his proposal to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights, the Associated Press reports. With Senate Democrats still missing, Walker presented the second part of his two-year spending plan to the Legislature on Tuesday. It relies on getting concessions from government employees to help pay for about $1 billion cuts in aid to schools, counties and cities while avoiding any tax or fee increases, furloughs or widespread layoffs as lawmakers grapple with a projected $3.6 billion shortfall…

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Wisconsin protests grow as teachers balk at proposed legislation

Protesters have gathered at Wisconsin's Capitol for days to oppose the governor's proposed labor changes.

Republicans who swept into power in state capitols this year with promises to cut spending and bolster the business climate now are beginning to usher in a new era of labor relations that could result in the largest reduction of power in decades for public employee unions.

But as massive public protests and legislative boycotts in Wisconsin have shown, the Republican charge can be fraught with risk and unpredictable turns as politicians try to transform campaign ideas into action.

The question GOP governors and lawmakers are now facing is exactly how far they can go without encountering a backlash. Do they merely extract more money from school teachers, prison guards, and office workers to help ease their states’ budget problems? Or do they go at the very core of union power by abolishing the workers’ right to bargain collectively? Do they try to impose changes by steamrolling the opposition, or by coming to the bargaining table?…Read More

Editorial: Public school employees under attack

If U.S. schools continue to lose too many smart, dynamic college graduates to the private sector, it won’t just be current teachers who are stung by these attacks; the nation’s students stand to suffer, too.

(Editor’s note: This is a slightly longer version of the Default Lines column published in the March issue of eSchool News.)

Conservative lawmakers are targeting educators as part of a broader attack on public-sector employees in states from coast to coast—and the fallout could have lasting implications for the nation’s students.

Consider these examples:…Read More