|For Immediate Release|
|Friday, November 17, 2000|
|Contact:||Darrell S. Pressley, 781-338-3126|
Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Announces the Results of an Internal Review of the Department of Education's Educational Technology Group
Malden - Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll today announced the results of an internal review of the operations of the Department of Education's Educational Technology Group (ETG). Today's announcement culminated a month of review by officials and auditors from various state agencies, including the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, the Operational Services Division, the Information Technology Division, and the state Comptroller.
While the review found that DOE's management structure has been successful in achieving major accomplishments for Massachusetts schools and districts, it also discovered that there have been inadequate fiscal and procurement controls, safeguards, and documentation, particularly in the ETG, to ensure that all contracts, payments and bills were being processed properly.
Commissioner Driscoll announced that he is taking the following immediate steps to address these problems:
- Sever DOE's relationship with vendor NitroCom;
- Appoint a Chief Operating Officer at DOE to report directly to the Commissioner;
- Appoint a new director as head of the ETG, and reassign Greg Nadeau to the role of strategic planning, reporting to the new head of the ETG;
- Invite the state Operational Services Division and the state Comptroller to oversee procurement and fiscal systems until further notice; and
- Refer all findings of the review to the Office of the State Auditor for further examination.
"Despite all of the technological development brought forth by the ETG in recent years, we are still just scratching the surface of the benefit that technology will bring to the classrooms of Massachusetts," Driscoll said. "In order to ensure that educational technology meets its full potential, we need to have the proper operational and fiscal controls in place. We are grateful for the assistance of Administration and Finance and the other state government professionals for putting us on track to achieve our important mission."
Administration and Finance Secretary Stephen P. Crosby added, "I commend Commissioner Driscoll and his staff for their full cooperation throughout the entire review process. They understand that educational accountability begins at DOE, and the new structure will allow them to continue the important progress made through education reform."
Over the past five years, the ETG has greatly expanded its scope to maximize the use of technology as an educational tool for teachers, students and administrators. A low cost Internet service for teachers, MassEd.Net, was established and serves 25,000 Massachusetts educators; a Youth Tech Entrepreneurs group was formed in which hundreds of Massachusetts high school students are gaining valuable technical and technology skills in an academic environment; the Information Management System which will improve data reporting on 980,000 students is nearly complete; electronic "smart forms" have replaced most paper forms in collecting data from school districts, allowing more rapid and accurate information for policymakers; computer software and hardware services were provided to districts and saved millions of dollars; and the Virtual Education Space, a nationally recognized online curriculum, instruction and assessment tool for students and teachers, was launched in Massachusetts last week.