Fraud? In the E-Rate Boondoggle? No.


Surprise, surprise. The absurd, wholly unnecessary E-Rate program—a subsidy for public schools to get on the Internet—has spawned a multi-million dollar fraud in New York.

One ISP operator faces 60 years if convicted on all charges stemming from an alleged $9 million fraud in the federal program.

And it is a certainty that the program is filled with fraud. Think about it. E-Rate exists because schools claim ineptitude and helplessness in the face of getting online and hooking a few PCs to a network. How, then, are they going to know what is fair market value for those services?

They can't, don't, and are paying who knows what for simple set-ups.

NEXT: Busting Immigrants

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  1. It’s sad that educators are so bad with technology.

    I can remember using one of the only DOS computers at my school to dial into BBSes and download games, etc. The librarians all wondered how I got the computer (which they almost never used) to make all the funny noises. The only computers they new how to use were the Apple II they used to instruct students in how to use – and this was in 1991!

    Every general computer class I took in the early 90s (except programming) used Apples IIs or Mac Classics, despite the fact that no one outside of education had used Apples for years, and Macs were only used in publishing and design.

    My middle school and high school were well funded, newly built, and in an upper middle class suburb too, so there was no lack of funds….

  2. One more thing and I’ll shut up….

    If the school is too friggin’ STUPID to know it’s getting taken for a ride, why should the shmuck who took them there go to jail.

    “A fool and his money….”

  3. It’s free money. do you REALLY think the schools care how much they pay? They just ask for more. Look at how the schools are failing and for 40 years now, they’ve said more money will fix it. Are the tax payers gonna figure this out? Seems like a violation of the public trust to me.

  4. And another thing:

    In my job, I better know what the fair market value of contract services is or I’m out of a job.

  5. The write-up that Reason has done on the voter initiatives in California over public education seems to describe the typical situation in all states. Almost every milliage increase proposed for the schools in Michigan has been passed by a fairly wide majority, with no one ever asking if the schools really need the money. I think the average voter has a blind spot with regards to something that directly effects their children and they just uncritically throw more money at the education establishment.

    A friend of mine is a public school teacher, and she told me that last year all teachers in Michigan were given a $1500 grant to purchase a home computer (not for the classroom but for their personal use) so they can be more up to date on technology and hopefully this will rub off on their students. What if you already have a home computer? Then you can spend the money on another ‘high technology’ device like a digital camera!

    I can see how one could reason that this may benefit students indirectly, but it seems unlikely anyone did a cost-benefit analysis of the type that a private company would have to do on this type of expenditure. Would General Motors give every employee a free car so they can understand how to design & build cars better? Hell no they wouldn’t, and neither should the taxpayers be giving out this kind of freebie to public employees.

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