The Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) was implemented by the NYC Education Department in 2007. It’s one of the city’s biggest computer systems, with records on more than 1 million current and former students. But it has been blasted by critics for being clunky and slow.
BY Ben Chapman NEW YORK DAILY NEWS | http://nydn.us/1EW1P4G
Smith, Bryan: Former schools Chancellor Joel Klein, who oversaw the creation of ARIS, has also drawn fire for taking millions to maintain the system with his company Amplify.
Sunday, November 16, 2014, 2:30 AM :: A controversial $95 million computer system that tracks and distributes student scores and other data is headed for the scrap heap, the Daily News has learned.
The Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) was implemented by the Education Department in 2007. It’s one of the city’s biggest computer systems, with records on more than 1 million current and former students. But it has been blasted by critics for being clunky and slow.
Former schools Chancellor Joel Klein, who oversaw the creation of ARIS, has also drawn fire for taking millions to maintain the system with his company Amplify.
That’s all coming to a screeching halt by 2015, Education officials told The News.
“The Education Department has decided to end our contract with Amplify as a result of the extremely high cost of the ARIS system, its limited functionality, and the lack of demand from parents and staff,” said agency spokeswoman Devora Kaye.
“The shockingly low usage of ARIS shows that the vast majority of families and Education Department staff don’t find it a valuable tool,” Kaye added. “By developing an internal program we’ll not only save millions of dollars, but better serve parents and school communities.”
The Education Department will create a new system to replace ARIS by September, agency officials said. Like ARIS, the new system will provide an online platform for parents and teachers to access data on student achievement.
Education Department officials wouldn’t say how much the new program would cost, but said it would be funded using money already set aside for ARIS, which was built by IBM.
Originally hailed as a one-stop shop for teachers, school administrators and parents to access detailed information on students, ARIS has drawn fire from critics for years. In 2012, an audit by then-controller John Liu found the program wasn’t as widely used as officials had hoped, and the city hadn’t established a method of determining if it helped student achievement.
ARIS ran into other issues when a company led by former Chancellor Klein (l.) landed a contract for nearly $10 million to manage the system in 2012. Subsequent contracts held by Klein’s companies have been worth millions more.
Most city teachers and parents have stopped using the system. Just 3% of parents and 16% of teachers used it in the 2012-13 school year, education officials said.
City educators hailed the decision to scrap the program.
“Good news they’re junking it,” said Arthur Goldstein, an English teacher at Francis Lewis High School in Queens. “They spent $95 million on that thing and my kids are in trailers. What they did with that money is criminal.”
But Amplify spokesman Justin Hamilton defended his company’s handling of the program.
“Six years ago we were called in to fix this project when it was well underway. We did so on time and on budget,” said Hamilton. “We’ve been working over the past two years to wind down maintenance-level work because of potential plans to transition to a new state system with similar — and, in some cases — overlapping functions.”
Hamilton also said Klein did not participate in the city's decision to award management of ARIS to IBM, the original contractor, because of family stock holdings in that company. That recusal also meant he plaid no role in awarding Amplify's contract to fix IBM's work.