About That Mysterious “Exhibit C” – The Supposed Shakespearean Text Message That “Secured” The iStation Contract

By now, many of you have seen the released letter by DPI to Amplify concerning their appeal of the iStation contract. In it, Mark Johnson lays out the argument that the second RFP that had voted to go with Amplify was canceled because of a confidentiality breach.

He offer this text message that was supposedly given to him and DPI by a whistleblower as evidence.

It is known as “Exhibit C.”


It’s hard to read – so here is the text:

Well, just got off another marathon call with _______. 1 hour 45 minutes all about
RFP what a mess!


Geez! What is going on?


MJ came into their voting meeting to basically (without coming directly out and
specifying) tell them how to vote! However the vote did not go his way so it will be
interesting to see how he gets his way on this.


OMG! I know they were shocked!


Yep, she said they walked out of the building and several people said what just


Someone, _______ should’ve recorded it on her phone!


She thought about it but her phone was lying on the table in front of everyone.


Oh yeah that would be tough…who else on the team was in the room? Have they named a replacement for _______?


_______ She and _______ and _______and _______ and _______ voted for children. _______
and one of Mark’s staff voted for helping teachers. She said she about helping
teachers and never once mentioned children and saving teachers’ time.



The sad thing is, he may win his next race because he will talk about how he helped


Well that’s why he is pushing this. Children can’t VOTE so we appease lazy ass



After reading this time and time again, a few questions / observations arise concerning this “Exhibit C”. All but one of them need answers or clarification.

1. Timing

This text message exchange is stamped for 1/8/19. The RFP was issued 9/6/18, opened on 10/2/19, and then cancelled on 3/21/19.

It was cancelled over two months after this particular text message occurred.

So when did the whistleblower give the text message exchange to Johnson and DPI?

2.  Pressure on voting for a particular vendor.

Re-read that part: “MJ came into their voting meeting to basically (without coming directly out and specifying) tell them how to vote! “

Why would Johnson have come into the voting meeting? And why would he have pressured them directly or indirectly to vote a certain way?

So awkward was Johnson’s actions that “several people said what just

That sounds like a breach of something to me.

3. Children versus teachers?

“_______ She and _______ and _______and _______ and _______ voted for children. _______
and one of Mark’s staff voted for helping teachers.”

It seems that there was a lot of talk within the RFP committee of how iStation / mClass was a product that would help teachers and/or children to the point that a line of demarcation on the decision would be if it helped children achieve more or help teachers “do more.”

That alone needs clarification because Johnson’s whole mission to “personalize” learning has been a technological quest to almost replace the teacher with technology.

4. “Ass?”

One participant called Mark Johnson an “ass.” When Johnson selected this text message as Exhibit C, did he really want people to see that people in the committee were calling him that? Did he want to look like a victim? Did he want to establish that people were already out to sabotage what he was trying to do?

Makes one wonder why Johnson did not take this part out of the screenshot. but it is there, and it establishes that Johnson is not looked upon favorably.

It is a tad bit Shakespearean as well.

In Much Ado About Nothing, the comical constable Dogberry humorously “catches” the culprits in a scheme to stop the lovers from getting married and having their happy ending. After inadvertently gathering all the proof and comically foiling the plot, Dogberry is fixated on the fact that one of the consprirators called him an “ass” as if that was the greatest crime committed. Forget that the lovers will have a happy ending. Forget that a tragedy has been averted. Dogberry was  called an “ass” and he wanted people remember that. From Act 4, scene 3:


Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white and
black, this plaintiff here, the offender, did call
me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered in his
punishment. And also, the watch heard them talk of
one Deformed: they say be wears a key in his ear and
a lock hanging by it, and borrows money in God’s
name, the which he hath used so long and never paid
that now men grow hard-hearted and will lend nothing
for God’s sake: pray you, examine him upon that point.

5. Next race?

“The sad thing is, he may win his next race because he will talk about how he helped teachers!”

So Johnson is running again?

Then those campaign contributions to his reelection will be placed under a large amount of scrutiny.