On Education “Partnerships”

Categories: Miscellania
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: October 19, 2015

Everywhere I turn, I see vendors proudly announcing they are partners in education. They print it on their literature, they post it on their signs, they even build logos around the slogan.

But what is a partner? I decided to ask Google.

partner

Sounds simple enough, yes? But when I apply that to the actual behavior I see in those same vendors, I start to question whether we share the same definition of the word.

inigo-montoya

I have a telecom vendor who has failed to deliver on purchased services over one year after contracts have been signed and payments have been made. I kicked up a chain of complaints and was told by a high-level executive that it would be fixed, how their company is a proud partner of education, and blah blah blah. Over a week later there’s been no hint of movement to resolve the issue.

Years ago we had two computer labs full of PC towers. After a year, we lost over 20% of them due to a bad security chip on the motherboards. Both the vendor and the manufacturer claim to be partners in education, yet their only solution to the problem was to shrug and offer to sell us new computers, even after observing similar problems for other customers.

These stories go on and on. Companies assign a rep to be our alleged partner, but the only time we hear from them is when they want to sell us something.* We’re a small district, so we’re not worth their time. We see a product we can really use but we just don’t have the budget to support it, so they walk away.

I get it, vendors. You’re running a for-profit business, not a charity. You have your own costs and commitments. This is how business works.

Just stop with the “partner” nonsense, because you’re not fooling anyone.

*The one exception here is Apple. I spoke to my reps and engineers frequently, and they stopped by whenever they were in town. Our district finally went a different direction by choosing Chromebooks, but I know I can have an Apple rep here if we were ever to revisit the direction of our 1:1. Experiences vary for some of my colleagues, but it’s always been solid for me.
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