Education Industry Ethics For-Profit Rhode Island

Excellent Summary of Rhode Island Me$$

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A regular reader called Bethree summarized the Rhode Island situation, in which friends of the Governor won a $5 (plus) million contract, although the corporation was formed only weeks before the contract was awarded and was the high bidder.

She wrote:

Read the wpri.com coverage 9/7,8,14 for the nitty-gritty (google wpri.com McKee ILO). As a one-time procurement supervisor for an engrg co, I found it highly entertaining.

Summary: ILO was incorporated 2 days after McKee’s March 2 election, and invited by his office to submit a bid for the work March 23. 5 bids received in April: 3 bidders knocked out during tech evaluation.

The two remaining bids– $8million vs just under $1million, made it obvious that the scope of work was, shall we say, imprecise. Results of rebid (? Or perhaps just an arm-wrestling session—unclear): ILO $6million, other guy $3million. ILO was apparently given the nod due to its long work history of absolutely bupkis, sadly other guy’s 20-yr history as a state ed consultant just… didn’t measure up. But, no worries– West Ed gets to share the spoils: $5million for ILO [scope K12], $1million for WestEd [scope colleges, U’s]. “’The Review Team believes that no additional time should be wasted on this procurement or a rebid,’ the four-member panel’s final report said.”

“We’ve supported people who get the work done…” McKee said at his weekly news conference Tuesday. “So it didn’t matter who referred or who may have had a relationship. I just want good people who can figure out how to help the state of Rhode Island and education, and that’s what we got.”  

“Magee [CFC boss & close McKee buddy/ donor via his brother’s 50CAN PAC] said Chiefs for Change isn’t working with ILO on the contract.” ROFL. Let’s just pretend we didn’t notice ILO was incorporated virtually yesterday, and its partners left Chiefs for Change to form ILO.

The state’s bid package put ILO in the catbird seat from the get-go. Although RI is paying for this work out of Covid-19 aid fed funding, the scope asked for expansion of “municipal education offices” outside the purview of traditional LEA’s. That’s a scheme realized in Cumberland by then-Mayor McKee and buddy Magee of CFS. McKee has 5 more such offices planned, to be run out of his office, for the [state-run] Providence school system. A full half of ILO’s proposed workhrs are devoted to that thinly veiled ed privatization; stated goal “to address lost learning and catch up and long-term learning programs.”

That leaves $2.5million for safe school reopening during covid. How is ILO doing 2 wks after students returned to bldgs? “…RI Assoc of School Committees exec dir Tim Duffy… surveyed all school supts and school chairs… ‘So far, there’s only one district that’s asked the ILO Group to review their school reopening plans, and that was Little Compton. The rest… haven’t been contacted and are not even aware of the services the consulting firm offers… reopening efforts this year have been guided by the U.S. CDC, the RI Dept of Health and RI Dept of Education.” He also noted the timing of the ILO news: ‘School reopening has already happened.’ Duffy’s comments contrasted with ILO’s Tuesday, when partner Cerena Parker cited helping schools reopen as one of the consulting firm’s biggest accomplishments so far.”

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