Public Consulting Group Inc. And Their Mysterious Connection to the Delaware DOE, Teachers, IEPs, State Health Information, and More! #netde #eduDE @DianeRavitch @KilroysDelaware

Public Consulting Group has data on many aspects of our children and teachers time at schools.  I did a brief tease yesterday into what I am now finding is a very huge company called Public Consulting Group Inc.  I ran into them doing a research article on the Delaware DOE, and what they spent money on in the month of July. 

I found that Delaware paid Public Consulting Group $79,114.50 just for the month of July.  They spent $347,161.00 on them in Fiscal Year 2014, but the entire state of Delaware, that amount was  $7,944,955.94.  That’s a lot of cash for one company to get on taxpayer money.  The bulk of that was from the Department of Health And Social Service Medicare/Medicaid Division: $7,177,857.08.

Public Consulting Group, also known as PCG, is a technology company.  They provide many systems for various states nationally and internationally.  For Delaware, and more specifically, the DOE’s Exceptional Children’s Group, it is unknown what exact services they do provide.  No other area of the DOE is paying PCG, so it doesn’t look like they use all of their education consulting services.  Which is a good thing, cause they are in bed with some major players out there.  Folks like Council of Chief State School Officers, National Literacy Project, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the last is sure to tickle many teacher’s fancy, the good old Pearson Education.

Doing some more digging, I found members of their management team.  One was Willard Woody Farley.  Mr. Farley, as per PCG’s website, has done the following:

Manager | PCG Education

Before joining PCG Education, Mr. Farley was CEO of Soft Pubs Incorporated, where he led the team that designed and developed Easy IEP™. He has more than 35 years of experience in the design and development of hardware and software systems and is well acquainted with Human Factors Engineering of computer software and displays, networking, web design, database design, and the Internet. Mr. Farley became interested in special education when his son became eligible for special education in 1992. After attending several IEP meetings, it became obvious that special education teachers were spending too much time meeting the paperwork requirements for his son’s IEP. He decided to assemble a team of educators and software developers to use a central database accessed via the Internet to reduce the paperwork for special education teachers and administrators. This effort resulted in Easy IEP™. Mr. Farley has implemented Easy IEP™ in school districts of all sizes, including Broward (FL), Charlotte (NC), Minneapolis (MN), Washington DC, and has implemented state-wide systems in Tennessee and New Jersey. He also led the Response to Intervention (RtI) development team that developed EDplan™, PCG’s RtI management system, and developed the EasyFax™ system for converting paper documents to electronic format via a fax machine.

That’s quite a lot of systems he has helped develop.  How many schools utilize RTI software?  This means that the Easy IEP system is owned by PCG.  Other interesting items from their website (there is so much) include the following:

State and federal reporting – EDFacts, the Consolidated State Report, CCSSO’s State Education Data Center and other national data outputs.

  • At-risk student identification – Dropout, behavior, and other at-risk early identification and prevention.
  • Instructional improvement – State assessment item analysis and benchmark assessment predictive analysis.
  • Special education compliance – Disproportionality risk ratio calculations, compliance fidelity, and analysis of services prescribed versus services delivered.
  • Disproportionality – Across the nation, minority students are disproportionately likely to be placed in special education programs when intensive instructional services are instead needed. PCG can work with schools to make the best use of diagnostic data to identify students in need of additional instruction.
  • ETL: data collection and validation,
  • Data Warehouse: longitudinal relational and dimensional central data stores

 Data Collection and Validation

PCG Education has a track record for delivering on-line, interactive, ETL and data collection/validation tools to support large and small scale data centralization initiatives, including unique student and staff identification.

Data Warehousing and Reporting

PCG Education’s™ data warehouse is designed for ease of use and sustainable management. The PCG Education™ data models have been optimized with Microsoft’s SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) to achieve maximum performance and minimal total cost of ownership.

It starts to get a little scary when it goes into student behavior.

Tracking of disciplinary incidents

Student Incident Reporting (SIR). Allows staff members to report incidents and related factors with real-time data entry. Provides student incident history, monitors need for manifestation determination meetings, documents physical restraints, records actions taken based upon user permission level (e.g.: teacher, administrator) and creates finalized records for tracking incidents over time.

Tracking instances of restraints and isolations

Restraint and Isolation features. Help districts or organizations to appropriately manage cases involving restraint or isolation. These features can stand alone or plug into Incident Tracking and document

Behavioral Screening

Provides a quick and easy format for identifying students with specific challenging behaviors to assist schools and districts in proactive intervention. Research shows that students identified early in the school year via an informal screening tool are often the same students that end up referred to the office so many times over the course of weeks or months.

This is lots of stuff, especially the parts about “identifying students”.  That’s a major concern of mine.  Let’s find out who the trouble kids are early, get them in the system, and create a stereotype of that student.  I’m still not sold on this company.  Maybe I should look at their privacy policy.

The Privacy Policy applies to all PCG corporate web sites that are generally accessible by the public.  The Privacy Policy does not apply to password-protected web sites created by PCG for specific PCG clients, which by their nature require different uses of personal information.  The policy also does not apply to the web sites to which this web site may link.  If you choose to follow a link to another web site, please consult the privacy policy for that site. 

Now for their own website, I am guessing you have the capability of giving them personal information, but beware of the following caveat:

Maintaining the security of your personal information is of utmost concern to PCG.  PCG uses reasonable security measures to protect your personal information from unauthorized access.  However, no system can be absolutely secure.  Consequently, you should not transmit to the Site any health information or other information that you consider sensitive.  PCG cannot warrant the security of your personal information transmitted to the Site, and you do so at your own risk. 

Now that’s a little frightening.  This is the same company that houses special education warehousing data on so many of our students in America, but they can’t guarantee security of personal information sent to their own website.  Maybe I need to Google them to find out more.

Look at that, they won a contract to write English curriculum for New York high schools in 2013, according to the Hechinger Report.

They also have a contract with the State of Delaware, through the Department of Health and Human Services, Contract #DMS-14-013, but when you look at the state contract page, it is for a quarterly cost allocation claims processing contract.  There is no information on the state website on a contract between the Delaware Department of Education and Public Consulting Group Inc.  It is nowhere to be found.  I did Google searches on every possible scenario with Public Consulting Group and the Delaware DOE and found nada.  Good thing I submitted an FOIA request last night so all the Delaware special needs parents can see exactly what is going on here!

3 thoughts on “Public Consulting Group Inc. And Their Mysterious Connection to the Delaware DOE, Teachers, IEPs, State Health Information, and More! #netde #eduDE @DianeRavitch @KilroysDelaware

  1. PCG is not the only one who does this. eSIS (now owned by Pearson and sidelined) had very similar features. The program used by the State of Oregon (and is mandated statewide, I believe) is sold by Edupoint — it is called Synergy and has disciplinary, attendance, grading, and IEP modules all in one. I participated in my district’s SPR&I records review process years ago so I know what the compliance monitoring process on the state level is all about…but now the state is capable of looking into individual Synergy files to check compliance on every small detail entered into the program. I left teaching, but my last year (13-14) meant that I was doing a lot of CYA data tracking in Synergy. These programs also have preloaded Common Core standards and we were expected to write Common Core compliant IEPs. I knew I was leaving so I did it as I always had. Hadn’t gotten any training on it; wasn’t gonna do that to kids until I had to.

    My fellow general ed teachers were shocked when they discovered that the state could look in to see if they had tagged Common Core goals to every assignment they entered in their gradebook as well as looking at the gradebook. They were even more shocked when I told them about IEP monitoring.

    Like

  2. Pingback: This Is Bad! DOE Picks Public Consulting Group To Handle Statewide Review of Educational Opportunities!!! | Exceptional Delaware

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