Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, November 16, 2014

NYCDOE Getting Rid Of Joel Klein's $95 Million Dollar Computer System Boondoggle

Gee, who couldn't see this coming?

A controversial $95 million computer system that tracks and distributes student scores and other data is headed for the scrap heap, the Daily News has learned.

The Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) was implemented by the Education Department in 2007. It’s one of the city’s biggest computer systems, with records on more than 1 million current and former students. But it has been blasted by critics for being clunky and slow.
Former schools Chancellor Joel Klein, who oversaw the creation of ARIS, has also drawn fire for taking millions to maintain the system with his company Amplify.

That’s all coming to a screeching halt by 2015, Education officials told The News.

“The Education Department has decided to end our contract with Amplify as a result of the extremely high cost of the ARIS system, its limited functionality, and the lack of demand from parents and staff,” said agency spokeswoman Devora Kaye.

“The shockingly low usage of ARIS shows that the vast majority of families and Education Department staff don’t find it a valuable tool,” Kaye added. “By developing an internal program we’ll not only save millions of dollars, but better serve parents and school communities.”

NY1 did a couple of reports on ARIS years ago that demonstrated how many teachers and administrators found the system to be mostly useless and a huge waste of money.

I'm sure the Bloomberg DOE knew that, but I would bet Bloomberg kept it around because it was Klein's baby.

Now, a year into the de Blasio administration, the de Blasio NYCDOE is trashing it.

To which I say - good.

Next up on the trash heap?

Another Klein technological boondoggle - iZone, the computerized learning program that costs a bundle to run and does little to educate students or aid educators.

Pass/fail rates for iZone classes are abysmal - as is the cost to run them.

They stick kids who have failed classes in the past in front of computers for "credit recovery" classes.

Many of these kids already have difficulty paying attention in real live classes - that's why they have failed some of their classes in the past.

Who would think sticking them in front of a computer for hours a week and forcing them to slog through online material would work with students who already struggle in school?

Why Joel Klein, that's who!

More and more, we see the vaunted Klein track record fall to scrutiny and the light of day as the failure it was.

Of course, the real idea behind the system was to steal money from children and give it to edu-entrepreneurs:

“Good news they’re junking it,” said Arthur Goldstein, an English teacher at Francis Lewis High School in Queens. “They spent $95 million on that thing and my kids are in trailers. What they did with that money is criminal.”



  1. I thought you and your readers might be interested in an article I wrote on Schoolbook on Jan. 28 in the long, painful lead-up to the contract negotiations called "Cut Waste at Education Department Before Negotiating Teachers Contract."

    One could put any number of the technology and organizational and procurement boondoggles from the Bloomberg Era in any order of waste, perversity or simple ineffectiveness: my top candidates were SESIS (the "Special Education Student Information System"), your very own beloved ARIS, failure to collect hundreds of millions in federal and state reimbursements to the City for providing "related services" to students with disabilities because the DOE has no effective way to capture the information that would support the claims, stopping non-competitive contracts and procurements to "DOE-friendly" organizations and reforming or eliminating the failed and expensive school network systems.

    I have always found it remarkable that the man who was responsible for building one of the most successful financial technology companies in the world could not get a single effective technology system build during his time in the City-- ARIS, SESIS, City-Time, Enhanced 911--but yet he and Joel Klein were lionized as visionaries and effective managers by many who wanted to believe.

    ARIS we hardly knew ye but we're so glad to see you go.

    1. Just used your comment as focus for a new post, Harris:

      I added the NYCHA computer system ($36 million), the FDNY and Sanitation Department GPS mess ($7.3 million) and the EMT tablet mess (which they used to try and partly explain the 911 system mess back in 2013) to your list of Bloomberg tech boondoggles.

  2. In 2012 companies affiliated with Klein were given $10 million in contracts to manage the ARIS system. This is one of the numerous conflicts of interest Klein has been involved with in the past few years.

    1. Wireless Generation, Klein and Murdoch - ground zero for conflict of interest.

  3. ARIS and Amplify reek with the stench of fraud. They are the obvious follies of Joel klein's untethered educational fantasies.

    1. K12 Inc. having tough time these days too.

      MOOC's not going so well either.

      The technocrats tried to sell the public on this stuff.

      But after a few years, it becomes pretty clear the "promise" the technocrats hawked has not been realized.

  4. Amplify has been bleeding - first the tablet fiasco in Guilford NC, then the inBloom disaster (Amplify was the prime subcontractor for this $100M + Gates project) and now this.

    Question: where do you get the pass/fail data from the Izone?

    1. Do not have system wide data. Can only tell you anecdotally that some school administrators are not pleased with the program's pass/fail rates for credit recovery.

  5. Don't forget the Daedalus system either...after stealing money from the public education system for all of these diversions, the education reformers have finally gotten around to going after everything that is public education (to the tune of $700 billion annually)...The 21st century Grand Theft of American Democracy...Bloomberg and Klein are both guilty of negligence and/or fraud...When they were both in office, they should have come to the trailers and seen the dilapidated conditions that they both were responsible for. It would have been my pleasure to take a photo of each one of them in front of the neglected trailers that hold the forgotten children of New York, as each one of them could only think of new ways to steal from our citizens. Furthermore, any one of the students would have been well qualified to give Bloomberg and Klein a civics lesson on what it means to be a caring and responsible human being.

  6. Joel Klein has a column in USA today calling for an end to teacher tenure to make teaching more professional (sic).