Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ARIS Computer Tied to Bloomberg Third Term Bid

October 28, 2008 (GBN News): More than a few eyebrows were raised when the NY City Department of Education took its much ballyhooed $80 million ARIS computer system off line recently. ARIS, an acronym for “Achievement Reporting and Information System”, was procured from IBM in a no-bid contract to gather an ambitious array of data ranging from children’s test scores to bathroom visits. However, many users have contended that the system has been a spectacular failure.

The DOE claims that the system was taken down in July for what it termed an “upgrade” and will be back on line in November. However, the timing has struck some as suspicious, and GBN News has learned that the time off line may be a smokescreen for what some may feel is a more nefarious purpose. A source in the DOE accountability office has told GBN News that contrary to news reports, ARIS has actually worked even better than expected. So much better, in fact, that Mayor Bloomberg commandeered the entire system to further his successful effort to end term limits so that he could run again for a third term as Mayor.

According to this source, the Mayor paid IBM an undisclosed sum, likely in the tens of millions, to reprogram ARIS to track down and catalogue the past school records of every member of the City Council. The computer then reportedly emailed Council Members who opposed the Mayor on the term limit resolution, and threatened to publicly reveal embarrassing past information such as failing grades and disciplinary incidents. If those Council members continued to insist on opposing the Mayor, they were threatened with being labeled by ARIS as “failing members”, and would lose their seats under a little known rule called NCLB (Non-cooperative Council Left Behind).

When reached by GBN News for comment, a spokesperson for the Mayor flatly denied any impropriety in Mr. Bloomberg’s use of the ARIS computer, contending that, “He just borrowed it for the weekend to play solitaire.”

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