Is Google planning a classroom takeover? Not quiet. But the private company has donated millions in supplies, and plans on playing a larger role in the education system through marketing and technology. (photo from Overton2012)
EDDIE SAYAGO --- The Daily Dot
On August 7th, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in a statement that Google and Staples have provided funding for all the projects that Chicago-based teachers were seeking funding for on the website DonorsChoose.org. "Teachers will receive close to $400,000 in classroom supplies, including paper, pencils, books, musical instruments, and microscopes, and laptops," wrote Shia Kupas for Crain's Chicago Business.
"There is no greater investment," said the mayor, who knows a few things about generous financial investments.
We have failed as a tax-paying society when a private company such as Google is supplying the paper so that teachers can provide materials for their students. The last time I checked, public education is something that falls under the jurisdiction of a public school system (such as Chicago's C.P.S. aka Chicago Public Schools) or the local, state, and federal governments. How is it possible for one of the largest public school systems in the country to fail to provide musical instruments, laptops, and books for its students, many whom cannot even afford these items on their own?
In addition to the financial contribution, Google is also planning to becoming a more significant part of the classroom. Over the course of the summer, the Internet giant/unintentional verb has tested out its program called Classroom, a free program that will allow teachers to do everything they do on a virtual scale, from assigning homework to collecting and grading those assignments. Google's Doc and Drive tools will be an essential part of that program, which is already been put to use in many schools nationwide.
Universities and colleges have used a similar program called the Blackboard Learning System for years, so this isn't new for some people. What is new is the way Google is marketing to educators, teachers, and the most vulnerable of all-students. Google has sold one million Chromebooks to schools in its second financial quarter. "[Students' are the future," said Zach Yeskel, a Classroom creator and Google product manager. "They're going into business someday."
The second part of that statement overshadows the first part. Whitney Houston once sang that she believed the children are the future, but she didn't add that they should go out and buy her albums and see her movies. It's impossible for one to believe in altruism when people and companies believe that nothing is worth achieving if they don't directly and immediately benefit from it.
Google isn't a new sponsor to your local public education system. In 2012, Chicago Public Schools announced that all its teachers, principals, and administrators—as well as its students—would be on a single email platform, provided by Google apps. This supposedly saved CPS six million dollars over the course of three years, which is the length period of the contract.