I think the necessary companion to Sherry's "The Start of the School Year" post, which reflects the one-step-forward-two-steps-back state of school IT in 2007, is this eSchool News story about tech support costs doubling over the last four years.
The suggested fixes in the article -- standardizing your platform, weeding out old hardware -- don't really ring true to me, because my impression is that on the whole, that's what schools have been doing over the four years support costs doubled. There wasn't a new Microsoft OS in that period. Some schools would have been making the transition to Mac OS X from Mac OS 9, and I'm sure some are still in the middle of that. And a few schools have added Linux on the desktop. But on the whole, 2002 - 2006 was not a period of proliferating platforms for schools.
My unscientific guess is that the reason tech support costs have doubled is because 1) schools have higher expectations for reliability because they've got more mission critical administrative functions running over their networks, and 2) because before they locked down all the systems, a lot of problems that would previously be fixed by teachers and students (or never fixed) are now 100% the IT staff's responsibility. Of course, there was a cost of all that teacher time, but it didn't show up in the tech support budget line.
Nonetheless, it seems to me that a lot of schools aren't being well served by their IT strategy. Standardizing around networks of Windows PC's is just not that cost efficient, especially given the amount of flexibility that ends up being sacrificed. If you're creating a locked-down monoculture, you should at least be getting more access in return. Sherry is not alone in feeling like she's getting the worst of both worlds right now.
When you think about scaling this system up for 1-to-1 initiatives, it seems completely unworkable. We really need a completely different paradigm. Think of a Marine battalion. How many rifle technicians does it take to clean and maintain every marine's rifle? OK, I don't really know, but I'm pretty sure the answer is ZERO, because every marine takes care of his own. We need a kid's version of The Rifleman's Creed and computers that are as field-strippable and user-maintainable as an M1 rifle to get out of this mess.