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K-12 student management software is messy, there is no other way to describe it. Options are limited and none of them stand out as being well written or well maintained. It is sad really. Very important data is passed over, underutilized, and ignored because of the inability of the software or the software company to see actual needs and respond to them.

What school districts need is software that is lightweight, is easy to understand, simple to maintain, and can be expanded upon if needed. Right now the software that is out there only mixes and matches a couple of those items, not all of them.

There are a lot of resources spent on software, hardware, and yearly fees, and it’s unnecessary when we really dig down and look at the requirements. School districts are simply small cities that have to manage themselves, why can’t software be built around that effectively?

The biggest issue standing in the way of progress when it comes to student/district management software is too many hands seeing cool or new things and wanting them. A lot of school districts are split up into different areas, just like a company, and each of these areas oversees different pieces of information. The problem arises when none of the areas coordinate their software buying and end up with multiple tools that in the end, could have been consolidated with one tool, had there been communication.

We as software developers need to look at this as a real problem and try to fix it. If we can make affordable software for school districts that works, we can help that school district find a more affective way to use the money they saved.

A story has been weaving its way around the internet about an American Airlines web designer being fired after responding to a complaint from a user. I have watched as some big names in the web space have ripped AA apart for their firing of the designer, claiming that AA.com is terribly designed and letting someone go who had ideas is a horrible decision.

Every single criticism of AA ignores the most obvious detail, that the employee broke the terms of his NDA. This type of attitude seems to be the norm in society now, that the violator is somehow the victim. Sure, I agree that it is probably a bad idea to fire someone who has ideas that could have a positive affect on a website or company, but at the same time what kind of example does it set for the rest of your employees if you allow someone to blatantly break the terms of their agreement?

Sometimes, things need to be called out for being right and being wrong, no matter how you feel about the tertiary aspects of the issue.