• Adam Dayan, Esq.

DOE In Turmoil

It seems you read a new story every day about the DOE botching a project or corruption within the school system. One example concerns school progress reports: NYC Comptroller John Liu has completed three audits of the DOE since taking office in part because, even though the city has an $80 million database meant to track student academic records, there are concerns that the data is inconsistent and maybe inaccurate too. The DOE assigns grades of A to F to schools every year and uses that information in making decisions about which programs to reward and which to shutter but the formula behind the grades changes so frequently that you can't reasonably compare one year's findings to the next year's. Suspicions that schools are manipulating the data to show better performance is the subject of a separate investigation.

Also of interest are the flurry of corruption stories within the DOE. One recent example is Judith Hederman, the Executive Director of the DOE's division of financial operations, who resigned amid allegations that she had an improper personal relationship with one of the DOE's consulting companies. The DOE was employing the company for a $43 million contract for technology and computer services. Apparently, the consulting firm hired subcontractors (which the DOE contract prohibits) and charged the DOE $22,400 per month for the work while the subcontractors were paid only $3,370 per month - the rest presumably going straight into the company's purse. Nevertheless, the DOE plans to designate $1 billion for consultants next year.

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