Dear Commons Community,
The Daily News reported today that the New York State Education Department is getting ready to award a $27 million no-bid contract to a company former city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein oversees.
The money – part of the state’s $700 million in Race to the Top funding – will go to Wireless Generation, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, 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?’
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.