G. Barlow Responds to DC School System invective

by Tim O'Brien

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.


2005-09-14 10:13:57
Not to be a pest, but...
Not to be a pest, but this is a follow from my comments on the previous article. I'd like to say that with a little investigation, the assumed "stupidity" of a situation is almost always easily explained. With even more checking, I'd almost bet that a decent "explaination" exist as to how this happened in the first place.

It sounds as though they quickly knew a problem existed which is more than I can say for almost any other academic IT department. I have to extend a tad bit of credit for that.

I would be interested in more details however. I'm glad Mr Barlow found his way to this site. Welcome!

2005-09-14 13:20:46
Not to be a pest, but...
Go ahead black_771, this is what the discussion section is for.

The DC school system has been rife with mismanagement for some time, and I can only assume that they spent considerably more than was reasonable to build a web-based system to track attendance and grades.

Remember, this is the school system that spent 2.3 million on GPS systems for school buses, yet the district still has trouble opening schools on time every year because of fire and safety compliance issues.