A $27 million no-bid contract will be awarded to Wireless Generation, a company owned by Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. and is run by Joel Klein, the former New York City Schools Chancellor. The money is coming out of the $700 million the state won as part of the Obama Administration's "Race to the Top" educational funding.
According to the New York Daily News, the money will be going towards development of software that will track student test scores and other student and educational statistics.
This is a "no-bid" contract. This means that only one company was able to "bid" on the state's offer. There was no review of other companies and cost comparison with other companies. No public opinion was requested to make sure that Wireless Generation was the best choice. Wireless Generation, whose parent company is one of the largest media companies in the world, was just handed nearly $30 million during a time when school districts across the state are cutting sports and art programs, cutting back on or eliminating all advanced Placement classes, cutting books and teaching supplies, closing schools, and laying off teachers!
Klein was appointed Chancellor in 2002 by current New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He left his position with the New York City schools in December of 2010. It is important to note that he does not hold an educational degree nor has he ever held a teachers certificate. A graduate of Columbia and Harvard, Klein has a doctorate in Law. Despite this, he was appointed the head of Wireless Generation in January of this year.
Most cities and states have laws in place that prevent contact between a former employee and their former office for at least a year after an employee leaves their job. In the case with Klein, it's a former city employee with a state contract, so it is not the same office he left. So Klein found a loophole that state administrators are going to need to look into closing so this conflict of interests does not take place again.
State officials have defended their decision by showing that the system Wireless Generation created is already being used over 35 percent of the state. The system will be similar to a system they already implemented in city schools, Achievement Reporting and Innovation Systems or ARIS.