SAS to offer educational software to teachers at no cost
Posted December 12, 2008 12:00 p.m. EST
Updated December 12, 2008 5:06 p.m. EST
Cary, N.C. — Jim Goodnight, one of the world’s richest men and a strong advocate of education, is committing more money and resources to efforts to boost classroom learning.
At a speech Friday, Goodnight disclosed that SAS is making available free of charge its “SAS Curriculum Pathways” educational software package.
Addressing members of the North Carolina General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Technology Committee at N.C. State University, the SAS co-founder, chief executive officer and majority owner said SAS made the decision in an effort to improve education.
“Shrinking budgets and pricing structures should not stand in the way of America’s students' receiving education technology that will engage them and better prepare them for today’s work force,” Goodnight said.
SAS, the world’s largest privately held software company, is giving up more than $1 million in annual revenue and is prepared to absorb an as-yet-undefined cost as part of the effort, according to Bruce Friend, director of the Curriculum Pathways unit.
“We will be prepared to cover the additional costs of programming and support,” Friend told WRAL.com. “All our content is included, and we plan to build out more.”
A SAS spokesperson said Curriculum Pathways was generating $1.3 million a year in revenue. Once current contracts expire, users will no longer pay to use the software, the spokesperson said.
The SAS education unit already has some 40 people involved in instructional design and content creation, Friend noted. Many of those are former teachers.
SAS also offers professional development and training for fees, but Friend noted that SAS does not charge for regional training programs in North Carolina. There also is no training charge for schools that offer one-on-one instruction, he said.
“Over time,” he added, SAS would add resources and personnel as needed to support the program.
In his speech, Goodnight said Curriculum Pathways provides educators with tools to help excite children about learning.
“Today’s students communicate, learn and interact with the world through technology, yet we ask them to leave that behind when they enter a classroom,” he said. “Education has not changed, but this generation of kids has.
“They are bored and they are dropping out,” he added. “Online education is one way we can begin to adapt our educational systems to their needs.”
SAS has spent more than a decade developing and supporting Curriculum Pathways. Thousands of teachers across 30 states use it.