A software company got a no-bid $1.8 million contract, courtesy of the Metro Nashville Public Schools and, more specifically, Director of Schools Shawn Joseph, according to NewsChannel 5 of Nashville.
Joseph, according to the report, had already done business with this company, the Utah-based Performance Matters, in the past.
In doing so, the school system violated state purchasing laws, according to NewsChannel 5.
“Our exclusive investigation also uncovered evidence that, in doing so, Joseph and his team repeatedly misled members of the Metro School Board about key aspects of the deals,” the station went on to say.
Metro Schools told NewsChannel 5 they made mistakes “in good faith.”
Performance Matters markets student assessment software. The goal is to allow educators to track student progress and professional development software to monitor training that teachers must complete, the station said.
“Joseph, who took control over the Nashville school system in July 2016, had appeared in a slickly produced video that touted how Performance Matters’ student assessment software had been utilized in his previous job in Prince George’s County, Maryland,” NewsChannel 5 reported.
“A complimentary quote from Joseph was included in the company’s promotions. He had even been the keynote speaker at a Performance Matters conference in 2014.”
But six weeks after he started as director of Metro Schools, the station discovered Joseph hosted a Performance Matters’ salesman in the district offices.
“A month later, chief academic officer Dr. Monique Felder directed MNPS staff to get to work on a contract with the company for its Unify student assessment platform, according to emails obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates under the Tennessee Public Records Act,” the station said.
Internal emails the station obtained revealed veteran employees were unsure what Performance Matters’ Unify platform could offer that the school system’s own data warehouse did not already have, the station said.
“Emails reveal frustrations that Joseph and his team had seemingly not taken the time to learn what MNPS’ existing system could do before they turned to Performance Matters,” the station reported.