Questionable contract?

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007


As recently reported in the NY Times and the NY Sun, there is so little interest among parents in running for seats on Community Education Councils -- primarily because of their lack of power and the scant respect given them by Tweed -- that parent coordinators were offered bribes to recruit candidates. Here is an update from GBN News:

May 1, 2007 (GBN News):
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, struggling to keep up the appearance of parental involvement in the face of parents' widespread refusal to participate in the Community Education Councils, has reportedly commissioned a new game involving the CEC’s. The Chancellor was said to have felt that a game would generate greater enthusiasm among parents than the actual parent councils, and would be seen as more meaningful. The game, still in the production stages and as yet untitled, would be one of the more unique games ever developed. According to sources at the Department of Education, this would be the first game ever in which the object of the game would be to get people to play it.

Choosing a company to develop and produce the game proved to be a major dilemma for the Chancellor. Given the wide popularity of the game, “Children First: A Game of Irony”, based on the NY City schools, all of the major game companies were interested in vying for the contract for this one. However, the Chancellor, with no experience whatsoever in dealing with contract bids, was unable to cope with this competition. With all of the experienced companies engaged in a bidding war, the Chancellor had to find someone to whom he could grant the sort of no-bid contract with which he is comfortable. Fortunately for Mr. Klein, Deputy Chancellor Chris Cerf had just finished reading the recent best seller, “No-Bid Contracts for Dummies”, and the Chancellor immediately tapped him to produce the game.

Few details about the game have been revealed, given the DOE’s penchant for secrecy. All that is known is that parents will have no role in developing the game, but will be consulted after the game comes out. And, it is rumored that it features a large role for Parent Coordinators, who can win lavish prizes for succeeding in persuading parents to play the game.

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