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Where are the DCPS contracts?

By Bill Turque

DCPS used to post a monthly listing of the contracts it awarded, offering a window into how the $700 million a year agency spends some of its money. In January, for instance, there was a $3.1 million contract with First Home Care, a firm hired to help manage the city's special education students in private schools that came under fire from parents for its attempts to "reintegrate" some kids back into the public system.

In April and May, two contracts totaling $978,000 went to the New Teacher Project, the non-profit founded by former Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee that operates the D.C. Teaching Fellows. D.C. Central Kitchen, one of the firms selected to help upgrade school meals, received $278,000 over the summer.

But the monthly listings stopped in July. DCPS chief operating officer Anthony Tata said he'd look into it.

"Might just be a backlog issue," he said.

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By Bill Turque  | November 10, 2010; 8:36 AM ET
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Mr. Turque,
Rather than pursue this gotcha story that is probably an administrative problem that actually has a solution, why not look into special ed.?

Look at the frequent and common scamming that commenters often talk about. We know the program management is bad, but why not begin with the cabal of lawyers and other experts who know how to play the system on behalf of clients in the rich part of town, as well as in the not so rich part of town? Anyone can play this game, and the players are all over, or so it seems.

Posted by: axolotl | November 10, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

$978,000 is a huge investment in rookie teachers, which is all TNTP deals with.

I wonder what percentage of all DCPS teachers are rookies - with one or two years in. This should be easy enough to find out.

Posted by: efavorite | November 10, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Bill, please stick with this story because it will lead you to the real reason for educational "reform" in DC.

It's taken a long time for the press to catch on but now I see it happening.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | November 10, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Just maybe the person who was in charge of posting the information lost their contract. This just might be a mere coincidence but around the same time the posting ceased, didn't the support for Fenty seemed to ramp up, so just might the personnel was pulled from one area to help in another.

Posted by: PowerandPride | November 10, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth to efavorite and our California Linda, the best teacher my kids had in their 8 years in DCPS was a first year just out of school. The big difference between her and many others was high standards. She required them to read challenging books, sent back writing with comments and required drafts to be rewritten. It was the first time they experienced that level of expectation in DCPS.

Unfortunately, she left after one year to teach in a charter school in Harlem.

Posted by: trace1 | November 10, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

The Contract and Acquisitions for DCPS are posted online here:
(It goes through August 2010 from August 2009. Missing is September and October 2010)

The above link is at the bottom of the this page:

(Where are the ones from prior fiscal years?)

How about "Solitations" found here:

Here are a few titles:
# 7/27/2010 - GAGA-2010-I-0122 - NCLB Choice Program Bus Transportation Services
# 7/26/2010 - GAGA-2010-R-0125 - Value Added Assessment System
# 7/20/2010 - GAGA-2010-R-0109 - Expanded Assessment Services
# 6/12/2010 - GAGA-2010-R-0124 - Roster Confirmation System
# 5/4/2010 - GAGA-2010-R-0098 - Food Services Pilot Program: Portable Meals
# 5/4/2010 - GAGA-2010-R-0099 - Food Service Pilot Program: From Scratch Meals
# 4/6/2010 - GAGA-2010-R-0082 - Title II Professional Development Services
# 4/5/2010 - GAGA-2010-R-0081 - Title I Professional Development Services
# 03/17/2010 - GAGA-2010- R-0087 - Evaluation of Title I Program - AWARDED

The "RFP" for 'Value Added Assessment System" is here:

--- Will the public get to see the final contract accepted?
--- Will there be an accounting or summary of how much is spent where?
--- Will there by any oversight or secondary evaluation as to the effectiveness of these contracts?

Go study where your tax dollars are going.
Don't expect the Post or anyone else to publish any details!
Someone needs to follow the money!

Posted by: interested8 | November 10, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

DCPS chief operating officer Anthony Tata said he'd look into it.

"Might just be a backlog issue," he said.

I say,

Might be a cover-up issue . . .

Posted by: BitterJill | November 10, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse


When we are discussing human beings, there is a wide range of characteristics and exceptions. So you can have a first year teacher who is the greatest and you can have a 30 year teacher who is incompetent. However, the inexperienced teacher, as most will tell you, is usually not that effective at the beginning. Teaching takes an enormous amount of on-the-job learning because there are so many practical skills that need to be mastered. In most cases the experienced teacher is more effective, but not always.

What we are talking about here is transparency. Rhee promised to place a highly effective teacher in each classroom and yet it looks as though she hired rookies instead. She did this even during a recession when she could have combed the country for teachers who PROVED themselves to be successful. Why did she do this? Also, she could have hired people without paying high fees to recruiting agencies. These are important questions that need to be answered. As the saying goes, follow the money.

What Rhee is doing to education has national repercussions, so Long Beach Linda and Kansas City Kate had better be paying attenion.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | November 10, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting that DCPS is still paying the New Teacher Program almost a million dollars, and this is a one month payment.
What is the cost of the full contract?
What exactly is Michelle Rhee's relationship with the organization she founded? Did she sever all ties?
Has DCPS continued to do business with the New Teacher Program the entire tenure of Ms. Rhee as Chancellor?
Like many DC residents I truly wonder how an agency can spend the money that DCPS does with little to no oversight, reporting or transparency. Is this what we all signed on for with education reform?

Posted by: 4thekidsorforthe | November 11, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I raised the issue quite some time ago in response to a Jay Matthews column that a conflict of interest existed relevant to Rhee's position as chancellor and DCPS's longstanding relationship with the New Teacher Project she founded. I have long wanted to know the price of the contracts she has doled out to her former company during her tenure, even as she laid off qualified teachers to make way for the recruits. I submit that her practices amounted to--and probably still do--to a blatant rape of the treasury to keep an organization that she established successful, even during an economic downturn. At the time, Jay Matthews ridiculed me for raising the issue. I took exception to his whitewashing the issue then, and I am even more concerned about it now.

It's interesting that Prince George's County has severed its relationship with the the New Teacher Project (google "Prince George's County Teaching Fellows" and see for yourself), undoubtedly having concluded that the program is not worth it. Nonetheless, D.C. is doling out nearly a million dollars to the organization in one month? Something is terribly wrong with this picture!

Prince George's is sponsoring a teacher fair and they are asking for CERTIFIED teachers. No more of the on-the-job-training experiment that the Henderson-Kamras team and the "Rheeform" crowd no doubt would continue to perpetuate in DCPS.

Unfortunately, our children will continue to be the victim of experiments by unqualified administrators recruiting unqualified, inexperienced teachers.

This madness has got to stop!Our children deserve better.

Posted by: vscribe | November 11, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Interested 8:

Thank you for your research and for your dissemination of the information! How about a column (in whatever newspaper brave enough to print it) or a blog, entitled something like "Follow the Money at DCPS?" It should be most informative in this era of educational reform!

I am convinced that there are more shocking details to uncover relative to the Rhee administration's oversight of the District's tax dollars. But we also have an incoming Mayor whom we need to ensure will be accountable to the tax-paying citizens of the District of Columbia for his decisions relative to educational reform.

Posted by: vscribe | November 12, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

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