Thursday, August 2

Consultant botches kids' high school apps

Spherion Technologies, the contractor hired to run the DOE's computerized high school application process botched the applications of kids from a Flushing Catholic school, the New York Daily News reports today, costing some of those kids spaces at their top-choice schools. After City Council member John Liu intervened, the kids got their applications reconsidered and their placements adjusted; one even got into Townsend Harris High School, one of the most selective schools in the city.

But it does make you wonder how many other applications might have been botched and how many kids without the wherewithal to enlist their City Council representative as an advocate might be winding up at the wrong schools. The contractor was hired in one of the many no-bid contracts that has led Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum to complain that the DOE is "throwing taxpayer dollars out the window."

UPDATE 8/3: Andy Jacob from the DOE's press office just called us to let us know that the article had a couple of factual errors. Most important, he said, is that Spherion's contract, which was originally issued in 2001, is not a no-bid contract. In fact, the contract process was fully competitive then and will be again in 2008 when the Spherion contract comes up for renewal, Jacob said, noting that the DOE plans to request proposals from other vendors as part of the renewal process.

1 comment:

Seth Pearce said...

Accountability, accountability, accountability...we need it.
The high school process is completely messed up as it is. It creates a highly segregated high school system and prevents kids with 96 averages at top middle schools (who come from a not so privileged background and have really worked for their grades) from getting into any of their top 9 (yes 9!) schools. How do we expect to bridge the achievement gap when it seems like every opportunity the DOE gets, it makes students feel like they are not wanted in this system. (sorry for ranting)