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New York State Department of Education awards News Corp. company $27M no-bid contract

Ohanian Comment: And the Billionaire Boys' Club rolls on--funded by the taxpayer. Why don't the media harp on this day in and day out--the way they do the sexcapades that are nobody's business?

Life is too short to list all the ways that Murdoch's Wireless Generation taps into the Common Core, but here are a couple:

  • An Increasing Emphasis on Writing

    The recently released Common Core Standards place an increased emphasis on explicitly addressing writing skills and, in particular in teaching students how to write about what they have read. See how teaching writing with WEX [ Writers Express]aligns to the Common Core Standards for Writing. . . WEX addresses the challenges presented by tomorrow’s standards.

  • Program Alignment to K-3 Common Core Standards mClass Math

  • But of course the real "alignment" that counts for Wireless Generation is the funding alignment

    BY Rachel Monahan

    The state Education Department is poised to award a $27 million no-bid contract to a company former city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein oversees, the Daily News has learned.

    The money - part of the state's $700 million in Race to the Top winnings - will go to Wireless Generation, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., to develop software to track student test scores, among other things.

    Klein took a job at News Corp. overseeing its educational technology business after he left the chancellor job in December.

    City rules forbid former workers from contacting the agency that employed them for one year, but the rules would not formally bar contact between Klein and the state.

    "It raises all kinds of red flags," said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York. "It just smacks of an old-boys club, where large amounts of public money are spent based not on 'is this the best product?' but 'I know this guy and I like him and I want to be sure he makes a lot of money.'"

    Wireless Generation vice president Zach Silverstein rejected any suggestion that the company traded on Klein's connections, noting the company had been in talks with the state since 2009.

    "It's fundamentally unfair to insinuate Klein had anything to do with this when the facts are absolutely otherwise. He had nothing to do with this contract. He had nothing to do with this negotiation," Silverstein said.

    Wireless Generation helped build a similar system in the city called Achievement Reporting and Innovation Systems, or ARIS, that has been widely criticized in the city.

    The contract would expand the ARIS system statewide.

    In a request sent to the state controller's office in May to sign off on a no-bid process, officials cited the tight timeline for beginning the Race to the Top project and the company's record at producing results.

    State officials argued the ARIS system already covers 35% of the state, and the system had received "national recognition."

    They also said Wireless Generation had a "demonstrated capacity" and would be able "to extend and expand ARIS" to the entire state.

    State Education Department officials declined to answer any questions about the possible contract for nearly three weeks, but Thursday defended the possible contract.

    "Consistent with our Race to the Top commitments made well over a year ago, this contract provides for an integrated and flexible student data system in an open source, non-proprietary application that will save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and improve education across the Statem," said spokesman Tom Dunn.

    — Rachel Monahan
    New York Daily News





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