Jason Stanford is a political journalist in Texas who keeps
a close watch on the nexus between money, politics, and education.
He is especially interested in how lobbyists shape decisions about
where the education money should be spent. In this post,
he sees the usual lobbyists pressing to make more money for their
clients: Forcing schools to buy a graphing calculator for
every single 8th grader in Texas would make Texas Instrument
probably in excess of $1 million at a time the state is failing to
increasing funding to keep up with population growth. And you can
only use a TI graphing calculator to do one thing; schools can use
tablet computers for innumerable purposes. In a state that prides
itself on being miserly with the public purse, you’d think this
would be a no-brainer.
Enter Sandy
, a lobbyist for
Pearson (the testing company), for Amplify (Robert
Murdoch’s pre-K tablet company), and, as it turns out,
for Texas
as well. And initially, Texas Education
Agency commissioner Michael Williams sided with Texas Instruments,
saying that using a tablet could help students cheat on tests.
Using the calculators would prevent that, he claimed. This might be
true if the kids have never heard of YouTube where one can find
numerous tutorials on how to use TI graphing calculators to cheat
on tests…
  Read more to see what happened.
Win some, lose some.