If Anything, It’s iStation That’s Sowing The “Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt”

As of this day, I have yet to hear of a parent in this state with a child in K-3 who has received an email from Amplify concerning their mClass product and the recent events that led DPI to “award” a contract to iStation.

iStation has sent many.

As of this day, I have yet to receive a Facebook ad or pop-up notice from Amplify that touted mClass as a superior product.

iStation has been hammering them in North Carolina based on social contacts and profiles. Have people in NC received Tweets from iStation? Yep. Not so much from Amplify.

And not a single person from Amplify has asked me as an education blogger to write on their behalf. And not a single time has Amplify asked me represent iStation in any way, shape, or form.

But Ossa Fisher wants to cast herself and iStation as the victim of bullying.

Hard to be bullied when the vendor who issued the appeal over the contract for the reading assessment tool to be used with Read to Achieve has only communicated with state agencies and not through social media campaigns.

Today, the following was sent to parents in North Carolina of elementary aged students in public schools:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 27, 2019

CONTACT:
Ossa Fisher
Istation President/COO
ofisher@istation.com

972-715-3866

 

Istation Statement Regarding Memorandum of Understanding with NC DPI

DALLAS, TX – Istation – a national leader in education technology selected by the North Carolina Department of PublicInstruction as the K-3 reading diagnostic assessment vendor for the 2019-20 school year – issued the following statement regarding a Memorandum of Understanding with DPI.

“Istation is committed to continuing the important work we began this summer, especially now that the school year has begun.While stirring fear, uncertainty, and doubt continues to be the strategy of the losing vendor, we will continue to uphold our commitment to North Carolina: helping students across the state develop critical grade level reading skills.

Neither DPI nor Istation have received a response from DIT concerning our requests for an emergency hearing on the stay, which was imposed without due process. Due to this uncertainty, we have agreed to work with DPI, educators, parents, and students without pay until the issues surrounding the stay are resolved.

Istation has since June 7th already trained over 4,000 educators, enrolled nearly 400,000 students, and assessed over 12,500 students statewide. The feedback we’ve received from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive because Istation frees up valuable classroom time to be used for instruction instead of testing and provides real-time reading results to help guide improved learning throughout the school year.

Today’s agreement with DPI allows us to preserve the incredible progress that we have already made and continue working towards ensuring that North Carolina and Istation can hit the ground running as soon as this frivolous legal challenge is put to rest. We are dedicated to succeeding on this important project, and we will not abandon educators, parents, and students across North Carolina.”

–– Ossa Fisher, President and COO, Istation

Strong diction and some self-congratulatory word choices in that letter.

While stirring fear, uncertainty, and doubt continues to be the strategy of the losing vendor…”

What fear? What uncertainty? What doubt?

Is she talking about the false need to have legal representation send out Cease & Desist letters to people who were questioning the procurement process under Mark Johnson’s direction? The same people who openly questioned iStation with actual data and reviews of the product?

If they were truly sowing uncertainty, then Ossa needs to prove that.

“Neither DPI nor Istation have received a response from DIT concerning our requests for an emergency hearing on the stay, which was imposed without due process.”

Wait, when Amplify asked for a hearing to issue an appeal, did iStation not have their representatives in the meeting as well and had concerned citizens removed from what had been termed an “open meeting.”

And it would be great if Ossa could explain what the “due-process” of the stay should have been.

Interestingly, the Department of Information Technology’s organizational flowchart doesn’t seem to show it answering to the Department of Public Instruction.

DIT1

Actually, the person at the top of the flowchart is the governor.

And just this past week Gov. Roy Cooper issued a veto on a bill dealing with the Read to Achieve initiative for which iStation was supposed to work under.

Gov. Roy Cooper called the Read To Achieve program ineffective, costly and a failure on Friday as he vetoed a bill some legislators said would fix it.

State lawmakers had passed the Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019, which includes changes to address shortcomings in a program designed to get North Carolina’s children reading at grade level by the end of third-grade. Despite spending at least $150 million since 2012, the state has seen reading scores in third grade decline.

“Teaching children to read well is a critical goal for their future success, but recent evaluations show that Read to Achieve is ineffective and costly,” Cooper said in a statement Friday. “A contract dispute over the assessment tool adds to uncertainty for educators and parents. This legislation tries to put a Band-Aid on a program where implementation has clearly failed.”

Maybe Ossa will want to blame Amplify for bullying Gov. Cooper into issuing that veto.

“Istation has since June 7th already trained over 4,000 educators, enrolled nearly 400,000 students, and assessed over 12,500 students statewide. The feedback we’ve received from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive because Istation frees up valuable classroom time to be used for instruction instead of testing and provides real-time reading results to help guide improved learning throughout the school year. ” 

4,000 educators. Did they all like iStation?

Enrolled 400,000 students? How did that happen? From teachers or from the state?  But only 12,500 students assessed? Ossa just bragged about how iStation has just assessed 3.5% of the students enrolled, but to her that already translates into being “overwhelmingly positive.”

That’s odd to brag about how much has already been done in schools when most all of the schools literally just started the school year.

Today’s agreement with DPI allows us to preserve the incredible progress that we have already made and continue working towards ensuring that North Carolina and Istation can hit the ground running as soon as this frivolous legal challenge is put to rest. “

Incredible progress? If she says so.

But if anything, it has been iStation that has expended the time and energy to frantically try and frame the narrative around this whole procurement process and contract extension. It’s iStation that has swarmed around parents, teachers, and social media sites to tell them how to think about what has happened.

If any one entity is to blame for stoking fear and uncertainty in this situation, then it’s iStation.

And that comment about pay?

“Due to this uncertainty, we have agreed to work with DPI, educators, parents, and students without pay until the issues surrounding the stay are resolved.”

Teachers in North Carolina constantly work under uncertainty with this NCGA but still do their best for other educators, parents, and students. And much of that “uncertainty” deals with their own recompense.