Education

DPI wins latest battle in ongoing fight over reading assessment contract

Posted December 23, 2019 10:12 p.m. EST

— The state Department of Public Instruction on Monday won a temporary restraining order in the ongoing fight over a statewide K-3 reading assessment tool.

The order, granted by a Wake County Superior Court judge, lifts two stays issued by the state Department of Information Technology, which stalled the contract DPI awarded last summer to use Istation’s services to test readers in early grades.

DPI was required by law to choose a vendor for early literacy measurement as part of its Read to Achieve effort to raise reading proficiency.

Amplify, the losing bidder and previous vendor, protested the state’s decision and procurement process in June. In August, Amplify was granted a stay of the contract until the process was reviewed.

DIT General Counsel Jonathan Shaw determined that DPI tweaked criteria the evaluation team was using to rank how well vendors met the state’s needs. He also found evidence that DPI removed evaluation team members from the process who voted for Amplify and kept those who voted for Istation before entering into direct negotiations with the two companies.

DPI and Istation claimed the delay in the review was causing “worsening statewide confusion” and “threatens to implicate the fundamental, constitutional rights of public school students to a sound education.”

"The Court’s order is good news and will prevent the disruption of the work and progress North Carolina reading teachers have already made this school year," Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson said in a statement. "Now teachers will be able to continue using Istation to assess students’ reading and have a benchmark to use at the end of the year. I’m thankful to the court for lifting these erroneous stay orders and look forward to a full Superior Court hearing."

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