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Oakland Mom Has a Question

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I can’t vouch for any of the details in this comment but it is posted and now in the blogosphere. So I invite readers who are familiar with the details to write comments and, if needed, corrections. I offer the same invitation to any of those mentioned her, to set the record straight.

She writes:

”Was hoping someone on this thread could advise on a similar contract issue here in Oakland. During the 2016-2017 school year, our board, under the approval of Antwan Wilson, sole-sourced a contract with Blueprint Schools Network. Blueprint would provide Math Fellows, via Americorps, for tutoring in 5 middle schools here. How much? How does a cool $1M sound? (with the add-ons). You’d think for that kind of money, our high-needs students would get actual educators with master’s degrees. Nope, Americorps volunteers only had to have a high school diploma. Half of the original contract for $835,000 (!) went to administrators in Blueprint Schools. The actual Math Fellows, were paid a pittance of around $25,000 with health benefits for one year, plus a $5K bonus upon completion.

“BSN is headed up by Matthew Spengler. Who is he? Harvard ed-reformer who was principal of a small district high school here, Met West. He then went on to work as a Director at Harvard’s EduLabs figuring out all kinds of neat experiments he could use on our students. Then, he found some superintendents who were willing to farm out their students for Mr. Spengler’s ed experiments, including, you guessed it, Antwan Wilson and Denver Public Schools. Next, Antwan Wilson shows up in Oakland, with Mr. Spengler close behind, ready to peddle his “tutoring” Math Fellows to our highest-needs students. And, bingo, the Board approves a sole-source $1M contract, just like that.

“Blueprint Schools end game is really data-mining. OUSD pays a fortune for an unproven program from an organization whose mission is to apply charter reforms to public schools. BSN gets all the data they want; I’m sure the participants/parents have no idea.

”This sole source agreement for essentially low-paid, unskilled “teaching” labor for $1M just doesn’t pass the sniff test. I’m going out a limb and saying it’s both illegal and immoral, but here we are. Any advice?”

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