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Does anyone think that Google and Oregon’s announcement today regarding Google Apps for Ed being free in Oregon is anything but a political maneuver by Supt. of Public Instruction Susan Castillo?  She’s in a reasonably tough election that will be decided in less than a month.  The Oregon/Google deal is giving her fantastic press state (and nation) wide.

Most students (and teachers) can’t even access Google’s non-search services from school computers so it’s going to be a massive switch for school districts to get on board with this.  Computers in my district will need massive upgrades to run the javascript that powers Gmail.  District bandwidth is restricted. School cultures don’t encourage the kind of collaboration that Google offers with Docs and Chat.

But, Susan’s definitely gotten a whole lot of positive, free name recognition and is now far closer to re-election than before.  She’s still way better than her opponent in this race, but this whole deal reeks of politics.  Is this, by chance, another instance where Oregon’s Department of Education talks a good talk but isn’t really looking out for the students of our state?

That said, I still welcome our Google Overlords.


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