The state Department of Education awarded an $8.3 million contract to a New York company to help teachers in public schools learn how to use data from math and reading assessments to guide classroom instruction.The data coaches are a key component of the state's $119 million Race to the Top education reform plan.The state selected Wireless Generation to help hire, train and deploy its data coaches.The company faced criticism last year for its work in New Jersey, which lost its bid for a Race to the Top grant because of a technicality.Wireless Generation has worked with schools in many states, but is best known for its efforts to foster data-driven instruction in New York City schools.The company faced a firestorm after it worked with New Jersey on its failed Race to the Top grant application. The application was found to have a clerical error in it -- information for the wrong budget year was included.Some politicians blamed Wireless Generation for not catching the error and asked the company to return the $500,000 fee paid for technical assistance on the application.
Yeah, you wouldn't want to put that money into the classroom or anything.The Delaware Department of Education did not look at the New Jersey situation when it selected Wireless Generation for the data-coach grant, said Dan Cruce, the state's deputy secretary of education. Cruce said even if the state had been aware of the controversy, it would not have been an issue because the state was hiring the company for a different function.Data coaches are educators who use data to help teachers figure out ways to boost struggling learners or fine-tune schools that already excel. The first five data coaches will be in classrooms as soon as next month, and the state plans to eventually have 29 of these experts in Delaware's districts and charter schools.
Funny how the same players keep showing up in this twisted little school reform drama.