Wednesday, August 27, 2014

NPR: Investigation by member station KPCC, which obtained emails between Deasy and tech executives that bring into question whether the initial bidding process was fair. #JohnDeasy #Pearson #Apple #Ipads

"...Pearson software wasn't ready..." 
Deasy "not uncommon to meet with" vendors prior to competition...

NPR:  The LA School iPad Scandal: What You Need To Know

A massive expansion of classroom technology has come to a grinding halt in Los Angeles.
The L.A. Unified School District had planned to buy some 700,000 iPads for its students and teachers. The Apple tablets would include learning software built by publishing giant Pearson. But Superintendent John Deasy announced earlier this week he is cancelling the contract and restarting the bidding process.
The decision comes on the heels of an investigation by member station KPCC, which obtained emails between Deasy and tech executives that bring into question whether the initial bidding process was fair. First, some context...
The goal of the expansion was simple yet ambitious: to equip every student in the nation's second-largest school district with a tablet computer. The expected price tag for equipment, software and wi-fi upgrades to schools: $1.3 billion...
...Then came the emails.
"Looking forward to further work together for our youth in Los Angeles!" Deasy wrote to Marjorie Scardino, then Pearson's CEO, on Tuesday, May 22, 2012, after hearing an initial pitch over lunch.
"Dear John, It's I who should thank you," Scardino replied. "I really can't wait to work with you."
KPCC reports these notes were going back and forth long before the tech contract was ultimately opened for competitive bidding:
KPCC's investigation found Deasy and his deputies communicated with Pearson employees over pricing, teacher training and technical support — specifications that later resembled the district's request for proposals from vendors. Pearson and Apple emerged as the winning bidders and were awarded the now-abandoned contract in June 2013...


  1. Los Angeles. What amateurs. Come to MC to get a lesson on contracting with who you really want. Of course the LA public school board might be at a disadvantage. The parents out there might actually care.

  2. MCPS hasn't managed a billion-dollar contract like LA. Not even the 100K laptops & tablets will cost that much (at least not before maintenance and updating and licensing and broadband; once the bells and whistles are added on we might be a lot closer LOL).

    I sure would like to know more of the MCPS computer purchase backstory, though. I hope someone somewhere is working on that.

    1. MCPS doesn't manage anything. You have no idea what they are doing or spending because they don't even put out Requests for Proposals and don't even get bids on many, many massive contracts. The reason the LA story is in the news is because apparently people in California give a hoot. No one in Maryland cares if MCPS spends without bids. Our state laws do not require MCPS to take bids, and so they don't.

  3. Let's hope that this - - doesn't happen here!


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