Blog/20090225 The first rule of government spending

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There's a couple of things that I just can't resist blogging about: Firstly, David Wiley in his blog post "The First Rule of Government Spending" writes:

In the 1997 film adaptation of Carl Sagan’s Contact, S. R. Hadden teaches Ellie Arroway “the first rule of government spending: why have one when you can have two for twice the price?”

If only! When it comes to curriculum materials like textbooks, practice exercises, test item banks, instructional videos, and online simulations, our government and school districts are more than happy to pay for them again, and again, and a hundred thousand times again, year after year.


These commercial online curriculum licenses are perhaps the single biggest waste of taxpayer dollars in all of government spending, and that’s really saying something. Our schools pay for tens of thousands of copies, and pay for them again and again, year after year, when simply producing one copy the state owned would suffice.

(David invites feedback, and you can leave feedback here.)

A similar issue could be raised around ICT in schools, and here we have a positive story: Miles Berry in his blog post on "A level playing field for open source software" writes:

The government's support for open source software, as outlined yesterday at, is to be welcomed. Given that most UK education takes place in the public sector, it is to be hoped that this support from central government will be reflected in greater confidence at school and local authority level to adopt, specify and develop open source solutions, making possible the re-use and sharing of software, and perhaps ultimately content, amongst schools and LAs.

Cf. also

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