'Wireless Generation...' and the latest outsourcing atrocities in Chicago... CPS testing craziness hitting home at Track E schools in the coming weeks, citywide after the September strike
In case Chicago missed it, Rupert Murdoch is now profiting from the testing craziness hitting Chicago's public schools. He owns an outfit called "Wireless Generation" that is now a contractor with CPS. Anyone who doesn't already know that the administration of Chicago Public Schools, the nation's third largest school system, is in the hands of amateurs (or worse, outsiders who want to destroy public education and turn it over to the private sector at all costs), should be contacting any of the 241 principals of the so-called "Track E" schools which begin receiving their students on August 13, 2012.
Things have gotten so crazy in the 2012 world of edits, memos, Power Points, orders, reforms, re-reforms, and re-re-re-reforms from the administration of former Rochester school supt. Jean-Claude Brizard and former "Relationship Banker" Rahm Emanuel that it would take a team of a dozen investigative reporters on the ground school-by-school (with a backup team of another dozen researchers) to separate out the greed, mendacity, incompetence, and silliness that is being foisted on Chicago behind the smokescreen of the latest iteration of "School Reform." Meanwhile, the city's communities, teachers, principals, and children will be facing centrally planned chaos as the first full year of Rahm's version of "School Reform" kicks in non Monday August 13, 2012. The 241 Chicago "Track E" schools would make this sub-system one of the 20 largest school districts in the USA were it a separate system. But it would be one of only three (the other two are Detroit and New Orleans) currently ruled by a group of outside mercenaries dedicated to destroying public education.
In general, principals are now being ordered to do things that are impossible, and ordered around by people with huge salaries and fancy titles who have never worked a semester in a Chicago classroom.
Take the following memo, on one of the small things principals are required to do, that came out on August 12, 2012. Principals were told they had to do Wireless Generation by their "Chiefs of Schools" (COS). Schools with multiple classrooms in kindergarten through second grade (where they have to do "Wireless Generation", despite the fact that in the context it amounts to educational malpractice, are being ordered to implement it without the tools that supposedly make it possible (ipads).
THE FOLLOWING IS AN ACTUAL CPS MEMO TO PRINCIPALS. ONE OF MANY THAT WE WILL BE SHARING AND THE CHAOS ESCALATES DURING THE COMING MONTHS.
August 12, 2012
Welcome back to school and thank you for opting in for the Wireless Generation mClass assessments this year! We hope you had a wonderful summer and look forward to partnering with you during SY12-13.
Based upon the Department of Student Assessment's recent survey of the number of iPads currently in your building and the number of K-2 classrooms you are serving, CPS has determined that _____ iPad(s) will satisfy your school's need. The attached IPAD Agreement will detail procedures for picking up your new equipment from the CPS Warehouse. Please read this carefully before picking up your equipment and be sure to bring this form with you.
Other Useful Information:
• Attached, please find instructions on how to configure your iPad(s) for mClass usage, once they are in your possession.:OWA-iOS Best Practices
• Please note that, as your building's administrator, you have the ability to provision Wireless Generation accounts to your staff who do not already have access. Please call the Wireless Generation Customer Care line below for assistance if you are unable to do this.System Access:
For questions related to iPad distribution, please contact the Department of Student Assessment at .For further Wireless Generation support, please contact their Customer Care line at 1-800-823-1939, option 3. 773-553-2430
Kelly K. Mina
Assessment Specialist Department of Assessment | Chicago Public SchoolsP 773.553.2430
NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE BELOW ON THE PURCHASE OF WIRELESS GENERATION BY NEWS CORP AND THE HIRING OF JOEL KLEIN BY RUPERT MURDOCH
News Corp., After Hiring Klein, Buys Technology Partner in a City Schools Project, By FERNANDA SANTOS Published: November 23, 2010
Greg Gunn and Larry Berger met as Rhodes scholars at Oxford University and, after stints teaching computer skills and mathematics to children in Harlem and Stamford, Conn., they came upon an idea: create a business that would put technology in the hands of teachers and into classrooms.
Mr. Gunn, 40, and Mr. Berger, 42, founded Wireless Generation 10 years ago, and the company has since grown from a start-up with a bare-bones budget and staff to a national leader in a new wave of education reform, where data is a crucial tool to transform failing schools.
On Monday, News Corporation announced that it had signed an agreement to buy 90 percent of Wireless Generation for $360 million in cash, its first foray into the for-profit world of education since its book publishing arm, Harper Collins, got out of the textbook business in the mid-1990s. The deal thrusts one of the world’s largest media conglomerates behind a concept championed by New York City’s schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein: a numbers-based system to evaluate and rank schools and to improve teaching.
The announcement was all the more interesting because just two weeks ago, Mr. Klein said he would leave the chancellor’s job at the end of the year to become an executive vice president with News Corporation, charged with pursuing business opportunities in the education marketplace.
Wireless Generation, whose headquarters are in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn, is the city Education Department’s leading partner in School of One, a pilot program that tracks student progress and tailors individual lesson plans based on the results — an approach that Mr. Klein said allowed learning “in a way no classroom can.”
Josh Reibel, president and chief operating officer of Wireless Generation, would not disclose how the company and News Corporation came together. Teri Everett, a spokeswoman for News Corporation, said that the transaction had been in the works for several months and that Mr. Klein “had no involvement” in it.
Conflict-of-interest rules set strict limits for city employees, both during and after their tenure, which could make Mr. Klein’s transition a tricky one. City employees are never allowed to disclose confidential information about the city’s business dealings or future strategy, and they cannot communicate with the agency for which they worked for one year after they leave. The rules also bar them from ever working on matters they had substantial involvement in as city employees.
A spokeswoman for the Education Department, Natalie Ravitz, said that Mr. Klein recused himself from all business dealings between the department and Wireless Generation “as soon as we learned that News Corp had acquired” Wireless Generation. He will also “continue to follow the advice of the conflicts board on this matter” and abide by all applicable rules once he starts work at News Corporation, Ms. Ravitz said.
The mayor’s office is currently seeking state approval for Cathleen P. Black to succeed Mr. Klein.
Gene Russianoff, a spokesman for the New York Public Interest Research Group, a good-government organization, said that potential conflicts sometimes came up “because people do what they know best” once they leave their city jobs.
But he added, “Respecting the post-employment restrictions is important and it goes to the heart of the public concern that there’s a revolving door between government and the private sector.”
Wireless Generation has a contract with the city for $7.5 million, expiring in May, and, according to the city comptroller’s office, has received roughly $1.1 million in payments since Jan. 1.
Mr. Reibel would not discuss the finances of the company. The sale is expected to be completed before the end of the year. Wireless Generation employs 400 people and also has offices in Atlanta, Dallas and Washington.
The company received about $500,000 to prepare New Jersey’s application for a $400 million federal education grant, which the state lost during the summer because of a clerical error. Some legislators have blamed Wireless Generation for not catching the error, and have asked the company to return its fee.
Tim Arango contributed reporting.