See What $69,157,850 In Education Contracts Buys For NC

Next week is the NC State Board of Education’s monthly meeting.  It’s going to be an expensive one.

John Locke Foundation’s Lindalyn Kakadelis has noted that at this Board meeting, contracts totaling $69,157,850 are on the agenda.  Go read it and then come back here.

There are a total of 74 contracts. Let’s look at them a bit.

Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA)
First, as Kakadelis noted, there are a ton of Kindergarten Entry Assessment related contracts:

The new K-3 Formative Assessment, which begins as the Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA), involves 8 contracts – totaling $3,288,486. However, this is just a drop of what has been spent on this initiative since November 2013.

Interesting trivia: the ratings of 5 year olds from the KEA, creating a “Child Profile,” will eventually be placed into the P20W (Preschool – 20 grade/Higher Ed -Workforce) Data System which receives $2,053,552 this month.  This amount is divided among 5 contracts: UNC General Admissions, NC Community College System, NC Independent Colleges, NC Dept. of Commerce, and Solomons International, Inc. This company receives $80,500 to provide “project management services for the federal grant that funds the P20W Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS).” Solomons must “ensure that the project completes all grant deliverables” to the Federal Government. Wonder if the Federal Government gets access to the data? Follow imaginary NC student “Will” from 1 year old until he is 26 years old (slides 11-14). Does this feel creepy to you?

Contracts 16, 17 and 18 are contracts regarding the KEA and are with departments of education in Maine, Arizona and Iowa respectively.

Contract 19 is also KEA related, but tracks back to the UNC Franklin Porter Graham Child Development Institute. I would bet that contract 19 has something to do with FirstSchools.

Contract 60, with Manifest Productions, is the one I find really disturbing.  I personally don’t want my child videotaped as part of this grand experiment.

“Migrant Children Program”
Contracts 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 31 all deal with Migrant children.
The first one, contract 21 with Blue Jay LLC is “To serve as a Regional Recruiter for the Migrant Education Program, identifying and recruiting migrant children and youth into the Migrant Education Program.”
There is little to nothing out there about Luis Ciliselli or Blue Jay LLC other than they are located in Wilmington, NC.

All Those Contracts to Corporations & “Non-Profits”
The lion’s share of the 74 contracts went to corporations, solutions providers and ‘non-profits. A lot of these contracts are sending dollars out of state.

#6 Heritage Consulting – The contract mentioned ‘Margaret Heritage’.  I found profiles for Margaret Heritage at Renaissance Learning, Dynamic Learning Progressions and the U.S. Dept. of Education’s go-to grant lapdog, WestEd.  It appears to be the same woman as cited by NC DPI’s Wikipage.

#36 – Craig Testing Inc. – Try Googling them. Nada. Zip.

#39 – 21st Century Solutions Inc. – I was unable to locate their website, but you can look them up at the NC Secretary of State.

#41 – New Teachers Center – They appreciate the over $10 million in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Hewlitt Foundation. The woman listed as the contact on the grant, Margaret Gayle, is a former NC DPI employee.

#42 – BloomBoard Inc. – “Formerly known as FormativeLearning, Inc., Palo Alto-based BloomBoard was founded in 2010 by Jason Lange, a former private equity associate, investment banker and NewSchools Venture Fund summer associate and Eric Dunn, formerly director of engineering at EdisonLearning.” EdSurge

#43 TregoED –  Common Core love affair.
“Reading informational texts and developing good arguments are two important skills that students need to develop to reach the common core standards.” – About  TregoEd ‘SCAN”

#44 – BlackBoard Inc.Partnered with more data driven, data collecting testing people than you can shake a stick at — Including Pearson.

#47 – Iron Data Solutions – Outsourcing reporting that DPI should be doing in-house? “Iron Data helps education regulatory agencies save time and money by automating critical business processes and reducing paper-based transactions.” Iron Data, About

#48 – MCNC – Deals with Broadband and Communications infrastructure in NC. An outfit brought to you by the legislature in 1980.  I bet most North Carolinians didn’t know that this thing existed.

#49 – CORE Education Consulting – Another tech firm using buzzwords; boils down to an outfit offering apps to test, track and report about activities by students and teachers.
“CORE ECS was established based on the idea that customized, tailored content and “high touch” services  – combined with effective, useful reporting and technology  – have the power to transform education in the 21st century.” CORE Education Consultin

#50, 51 and 52 – NewSouth Technologies – More business functions and data ‘help’. At least they are located in North Carolina to get their $521,920.00 in federal dollars.
“NewSouth Technologies, Inc. is an information technology services consulting company founded in 1998 and located in Raleigh, North Carolina. NewSouth specializes in helping state and local government clients develop and maintain state-of-the art information systems and business processes.” – NewSouth Technologies

#53 – KMQ Enterprises – You won’t find them under that name, try Tailwind Associates, located in upstate New York. More infrastructure and business solutions?

#54 – SAS Institute – With $3,816,474.00 in state funds, this contract to “provide reports” for  Educational Value Added Assessment System (EVAAS) — which attempts to predict student performance by looking at test scores. Goodnight will have more dollars to spend silencing Common Core critics from that chunk of change.

#55 -TECHEAD – Yet another business functions and solutions provider.
Staffing, Training and “Solutions“.  Let’s hope the money goes to the Charlotte location.

#56 – Trigyn Tech Inc. – Again, ANOTHER business solutions and IT related outfit.
No location in North Carolina.
“Trigyn provides IT Staffing, Solutions, Systems Integration, Software Development and Maintenance, Data-Driven Digital Marketing and other services to its clients.” – Trigyn

#57 – Solomon’s International – See their website. More tech/solutions from out of state. As Kakadelis noted in her article, “This company receives $80,500 to provide “project management services for the federal grant that funds the P20W Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS).” Solomons must “ensure that the project completes all grant deliverables” to the Federal Government.”

#72 – K12 Insight – This contract is apparently to supply an “online Software as a Service for a K12 Education Stakeholder Engagement Tool” to let NC DPI  “track, analyze and be responsive to NC K12 stakeholder concerns and recommendations for improved K12 education”.  – K12 Insight
Question: What stakeholders, exactly?
This is a company who helps steer the desired education narrative… or as K12 Insights call it, ‘overcoming obstacles‘ in that are in the way of administrators. Lately, those ‘obstacles’ have been parents and the public.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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