Related link: Barlow Response: DC School System
Greg Barlow, CIO of the DC School System, responded to one of my harsh blog posts. From his response, it is clear that if there was mismangement it wasn’t his own - he’s been there less than one month. It appears that he inherited this mess from the previous manager.
“Before you get too harsh, you may want to know that I have been here less than one month. I was brought in to look at such issues and make corrections as necessary. Unsupported environments in mission critical applications are usually not where you want to be.” - Greg Barlow
Good Luck, Mr. Barlow. I’m sure you never wrote that letter thinking that it would be released to the Washington Post, and I’m sure that you’ll have a chance to clean up. New CIOs always have a delicate balancing act between effecting real change and dealing with entrenched interest. I hope that after this fiasco the school board and superintendent are giving you full latitude to make the necessary staffing and technology changes.
I’ve seen academic computing environments and I know that technology in the academic setting is a catch 22. With limited budgets, it is almost impossible to retain the best, and, even with dramatic educational discounts, critical turnkey software packages still cost a tremendous amount of money. School boards and those tasked with oversight are more often interested in doling out work to political allies. I’m sure you can’t tell us who was really responsible for this failure, but I’ll assume you are part of the solution.