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Connecting the Dots

by Jay Spuck and Susan Ohanian

One year after receiving the no-bid contract described below, Wireless Generation appointed Hosanna Mahaley Johnson to a newly-created job, Executive Director, Social Justice and District Innovation. According to the press release, "In this newly created role, Johnson will serve as a senior partner and advisor to school systems working with Wireless Generation, ensuring that these collaborations help to measurably advance district plans for improving student achievement."

Who is Hosanna Mahaley Johnson? Quoting from the Wireless Generation press release (no longer available at their website but here is a cached copy), "She spent 8 years working on education issues in Chicago, first as Special Assistant to the Mayor and then in a succession of leadership roles within Chicago Public Schools. As Chief of Staff to then‐CEO Arne Duncan, Johnson initiated and executed policy changes to improve student achievement in over 600 schools."

Also from the press release: "Wireless Generation CEO Larry Berger and Johnson met as inaugural Fellows of The Aspen Institute‐New Schools Venture Fund Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Program, and have been discussing their shared mission of improving public school performance ever since."

Here is Johnson's Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee testimony on Chicago's success[sic] with turnaround schools.

In-between Chicago, which she left in 2007, and Wireless, Johnson moved to Atlanta to launch new education foundation, the Atlanta Local Education Fund.

Now take a look at the July 2008 non-competitive renewal contract with Wireless Generation signed by then-Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan.

The contract calls for use of the Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) in Chicago Public Schools.

mCLASSReading 3D was developed through a unique collaboration with the DIBELS authors Dr. Roland Good III and Dr. Ruth Kaminski of the University of Oregon, the Dynamic Measurement Group, and the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in Maryland. DIBELS, when paired with a Text Reading and Comprehension measure (which was evaluated by MCPS Office of Shared Accountability) showed a successful impact on instruction as well as its internal and external predictive validity."

TPRI for Reading First (UT-System/UTHSC-H, Texas Education Agency, Foorman, Fletcher, Francis, Santi, Ciancio), DIBELS (University of Oregon - Good, Kaminski, and Carnine), Reading 3D (Montgomery County, Weast, Porter).

According to the contract signed by Duncan, "The original agreement was awarded on a non-competitive basis based on Consultant's expertise and unique experiences. Consultant holds an exclusive license to offer the scientifically-validated DIBELS assessment using handheld devices for administration."

Don't miss the inbreeding among board members of Plato, Voyager Expanded Learning, Wireless Generation, Best Associates, KinderCare Learning Centers, Discovery Communications, Renaissance Learning, Teachers Support Network, and Horace Mann Educators Corp., NCS Pearson, and so on.

You'll see the Old Favorite names from Reading First fame.

One could follow links 365 days a year and not uncover a fraction of the entrepreneurial connections. For Example:

  • Upcoming CCSSO Federal Liaison Network Meeting in Washington, DC

    CCSSO will be hosting a meeting of the Federal Liaison Network (FLN), June 15–16 in Washington, DC. Pertinent issues to be discussed during the meeting include: priorities of the 111th Congress, Fiscal Year 2010 budget, state data systems, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act implementation, and the Common Core State Standards Initiative. To help inform this conversation, representatives will be joining sessions from congressional offices, the Committee on Education Funding, Wireless Generation, U.S. Department of Education, and several national organizations. In general, this meeting serves as an opportunity for the FLN to engage in meaningful conversation with each other and the broader national education community.

  • And take a look at this roster of participants in the Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard University.

  • Horizons National Annual Report

    Horizons National continues to thrive through an abiding theme of partnerships. Starting with the program itself, in which public and private schools work together to build and improve the horizons model for their students, this theme extends to the teachers, administrators, families and students. Horizons National works with state and regional associations of independent schools in expanding our network,
    and is constantly developing new partnerships to reach more children and improve the quality and effectiveness of our model. Two new partners, Wireless Generation and Renaissance Learning, are helping us implement a ground-breaking literacy Initiative that will benefit our students nationwide.

  • — Jay Spuck and Susan Ohanian
    Business Week, Wireless PR, & Chicago contract





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