Superintendent Johnson to Amplify: Istation is better

State Superintendent Mark Johnson is standing by his controversial decision to award the state’s K-3 reading assessment contract to Istation.

Johnson notified Amplify of his decision Friday in a letter to the firm’s Raleigh attorney, J. Mitchell Armbruster.

Amplify filed a protest after the contract was awarded to Istation. Johnson’s letter is his response to that protest.

“Istation is the best diagnostic tool for the state of North Carolina,” Johnson said. “Istation received the contract award through a fair and objective process conducted by an evaluation committee that adhered to all laws, rules, and policies.”

Johnson went on to say that the evaluation committee recommended Istation over competing firms, including Amplify.

“The evaluation committee recommended Istation to me and to the State Board of Education,” he said. “I approved that recommendation, and the State Board unanimously approved that recommendation.”

Critics of Johnson’s decision to dump Amplify and its mCLASS reading assessment tool in favor of Istation dispute his claim that the evaluation committee recommended Istation.

Public records show the original evaluation team recommended Amplify. But after the request for proposal (RFP) process was cancelled, a second group of evaluators recommended Istation.

N.C. Department of Public Instruction officials have said the original RFP was cancelled because a member of the evaluation team breached confidentially on the procurement process. They also contend there had been no unanimous consensus in selecting a vendor.

The Istation contract award has been a top subject of conversation in recent weeks.

Senate Democrats jumped into the fray Wednesday by calling for a legislative review of the contract award to Istation over Amplify, which scored higher and was the initial selection committee’s clear choice.

And a group of parents and public schools advocates held a press conference this week to ask State Attorney General Josh Stein and State Auditor Beth Wood to investigate the contract award.

Click here to read Johnson’s letter and the attachments.

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