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Friday, August 8, 2008

Questions Raised Over McCain Use of ARIS Computer

August 8, 2008 (GBN News): Those who claim that NY City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has been trying to influence the Presidential election found some potentially damaging new evidence today, when it was reported that presumptive Republican candidate John McCain has been receiving computer training on the Department of Education’s $80 million supercomputer, ARIS. ARIS, the acronym for Achievement Reporting and Information System, has been used by the DOE to track everything from students’ test scores to bathroom visits. The computer, procured through a no-bid contract between the DOE and IBM, is supposed to be used exclusively by the Education Department. However, Senator McCain, who recently had to admit that he is not particularly computer literate, seems to have been granted an exception.

Mr. Klein, through his Educational Equality Project, has already made statements which some have interpreted as favoring Senator McCain. But allowing the candidate the use of ARIS will certainly lead to new charges of preferential treatment, and of inappropriate use of city property for political purposes.

When reached for comment by GBN News, Chancellor Klein denied any impropriety. “Senator McCain is simply taking advantage of our fine adult education program, just like thousands of other older adults throughout the city,” said the Chancellor. However, a GBN News spot check of a number of adult ed classes run by the DOE turned up none that used a computer anywhere near the capabilities, let alone the cost, of ARIS.

In a related story, reporters covering the McCain campaign have expressed concern over the Senator’s frequent references to their old high school test scores. While nobody has been able to offer any real evidence to date, some members of the press apparently fear that the candidate’s knowledge of such potentially embarrassing facts about them could have a chilling effect on their ability to report objectively on the campaign.

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