County schools did the right thing on AIM

December 15, 2010

As a Baltimore County Public Schools teacher and happy user of the Articulated Instruction Module (AIM), I read your opinion of Superintendent Joe A. Hairston's handling of the development of the software, and I take issue with your analysis ("Questioning AIM," Dec. 13).

You analogize the relationship of AIM developer Barbara Dezmon to Bill Gates if Mr. Gates worked for IBM. In your example, Mr. Gates' employer is in the business of creating and selling software; that's their main mission. Baltimore County Public Schools is not a software development company, and the taxpayers do not want them to get into that business.

It would have been a better analogy if your IBM employee had come up with a better way to, let's say, water the lawns around the corporate headquarters. The bosses might well have said, great, sure, you can have marketing rights to that, we don't know how to sell lawn watering systems, just see that we get a little goodwill out of it. Not everyone outside of the corporate shark tank runs scared to death that someone else is going to make a dollar on some idea they got for free somewhere. If we teachers thought like that, well...

Robert Cooper

The writer is a music teacher at Scott's Branch Elementary School.

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