Shine light on courses, not wiring
- By Greg Langlois
- Feb 08, 2001
Government should stop using tax dollars to wire the nation's classrooms
and instead hire software developers to create online course materials,
Sun Microsystems Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Scott McNealy
In a wide-ranging talk at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., which
touched on tax and trade policy, Microsoft Corp.'s antitrust case, and California's
power crisis, McNealy said the federal government's effort to bring technology
to students is misplaced.
Simply adding new computers won't improve student performance, McNealy said.
"That's like putting a telephone or TV in every classroom. It won't help
[students] learn" on their own, he said.
"What we need is online curricula for students so that they can go at their
own pace," McNealy said. "Online, on-demand, self-paced [course material]
is where we have to go."
McNealy said there is no need to have students with differing academic abilities
constrained by their shared grade level. Online curricula would enable students
to progress independently, he said.
McNealy founded Sun in 1982, and the company sponsors many programs that
involve primary, secondary and higher education. The company also participates
in the government-run E-Rate program that provides telecommunications and
Internet access to schools and libraries using money supplied by industry
According to Sun's Web site, the company "envisions a network-computing
model" for primary and secondary schools "in which teachers, administrators,
students and communities will have access to the tools that enable access
to information anytime, anyplace by anyone on any device."