President Clinton's plan to issue an executive order directing federal agencies to donate millions of dollars worth of excess computer equipment to our nation's schools deserves a special mention.

According to General Services Administration figures, federal agencies donated $88.6 million in computer equipment in fiscal 1995. A very small fraction of that total actually made its way into schools, according to a government source familiar with the program. Much of the gear was directed to other agencies, grantees, contractors and nonprofits.

Despite its laudable goals, the latest proposal is sure to draw its share of criticism. Indeed, talk of a Clinton order was met with skepticism by some who would be charged with carrying out the donations.

One reader suggested that our children shouldn't be subjected to "hand me down" equipment.

We agree that the directive has the potential to become a logistical nightmare. It's hard enough to figure out how much equipment the government owns, let alone how to equitably divide and safely distribute it to countless worthy entities.

But at a time when both city and county governments are looking to social services and education budgets to slash spending, we support any effort to funnel equipment to schools, whether it be "outdated" or not.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

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