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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion
Tue Aug 30th 2011, 03:09 PM
The Wireless Generation, mostly owned by Murdoch, was to build test data tracking for students and their test scores. That was part of the $700 million NYC was getting to better their education system. It was a no bid contract set up right after Joel Klein left as school chancellor and joined Murdoch's team.

Glad NYC cancalled the contract. I guess they decided the phone-hacking was a pretty big deal after all. Since former school chancellor Joel Klein joined Murdoch's company at once when he retired....the deal sounds very odd anyway.

NYC Kills $27M Education Deal With News Corp Over Phone Hacking

New York City ditched a $27 million education contract with News Corp subsidiary Wireless Generation, citing the ongoing investigations into the phone hacking allegations related to News Corp's now-defunct News Of The World tabloid.

State Controller Thomas DiNapoli rejected the Education Department's contract with the company, the New York Daily News reports, which would have paid $27 million to create software to track test scores. The funding would have come out of the state's $700 million "Race to the Top" education funds, but DiNapoli's office said that there were concerns about News Corp's "incomplete record" and about the ongoing scandal

"In light of the significant ongoing investigations and continuing revelations with respect to News Corp., we are returning the contract with Wireless Generation unapproved," wrote DiNapoli's office of the decision.

It was a no-bid contract. They would have spent 27 million on tracking students'test scores, then complain about not having enough money for schools.

According to WNYC, the New York Department of Education “plans to award a no-bid contract for building a data system to the same company that built New York City’s ARIS system for tracking student achievement.”

Here’s more:

The Brooklyn-based Wireless Generation will receive almost $27 million for its work on the project. In a document given to the state comptroller’s office, education department officials in Albany explained why it wanted to give the project to Wireless Generation without considering other bids. They stated that the cost of using Wireless Generation is reasonable, that it had experience in New York City, and that the state only has four years to build the new data system.

Though former Chancellor Klein is now a vice president for educational technology at News Corp, and was involved in the ARIS project for New York City, Wireless Generation insists he had “nothing to do with” the new state contract.
Company spokesman Zach Silverstein says Wireless told the state it was interested in the contract back in June of 2009, a year and a half before Klein joined News Corp. The state wanted to build a system for tracking children from kindergarten through the end of high school as part of its Race to the Top application. It eventually won the $700 million federal grant.

Yes, it's amazing. If you build tracking data and pay teachers by test scores you can get government money. Seems like it is not about learning in depth anymore, just test scores.

Klein is now the go to guy for the investigation against Murdoch in the US. He was seated right behind the Murdochs at the hearings in the UK.

Murdoch's lieutenants will report directly to former NYC schools CEO Joel Klein for clean-up

Picture from BBC News

He left his post as CEO with Mayor Bloomberg's NYC schools to join Murdoch's empire. Now he is the go to guy for the Murdochs during the investigation.

He is right behind James Murdoch in this picture.

Glad to see they cancelled the contract. There was such an uproar I guess they thought it was necessary.

Joel Klein's influence went beyond being school chancellor. He was handpicked for his present role.

From the WSJ

Murdoch Selects His Team Carefully

Perhaps nobody has risen more quickly in the News Corp. hierarchy than Mr. Klein. The 64-year-old joined News Corp. six months ago to help Mr. Murdoch carve out a role in the education business. Two weeks ago, he was huddled with Mr. Murdoch and a few close advisers in Sun Valley, Idaho, at the Allen & Co. media conference, helping craft the company's response to events in real time, people familiar with the matter say.

Mr. Murdoch subsequently formalized Mr. Klein's role at the center of the response to the crisis, announcing that he had selected the former education reformer to "provide important oversight and guidance" and that Mr. Klein, along with News Corp. board member Viet Dinh, would keep the board apprised. By last Wednesday evening, Mr. Klein was on a plane to London to help manage the crisis from its core.

Makes you wonder how much behind the scenes influence Murdoch had on NYC school policy...another billionaire who supposedly knows more about learning than educators do.

And how did we get to the place in this country that some found it acceptable to spend that much money on software to track test data instead of investing it in real in-depth learning.
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