Saturday, March 1, 2014

NC Should Hold Everyone for Pearson PowerSchool Implementation Malfunction Accountable

In two previous posts, "Pearson PowerSchool Disasters in NC and Tech Lessons to Be Learned From It" and "Update! Pearson Sees Most of NC Users as Satisfied with PowerSchool---Huh?" I outlined the major issues North Carolina public schools are navigating due to Pearson's malfunctioning PowerSchool software. Based on yesterday's Charlotte Observer, it seems now state education officials are trying to get money back from the partially failed one-year implementation of PowerSchool, (See "NC on Troubled School Data System: Give Us Money Back"). This is the least Pearson owes educators in the state of North Carolina.

What was also of interest in the Charlotte Observer article was the fact that there was at least one superintendent in this state who saw this "trainwreck" coming. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent Heath Morrison reportedly "asked state officials to slow the timeline and help with local costs, but was refused on both counts." It appears that state policy-makers were bent on taking the Pearson discount to implement in one year, rather than trying to do what was probably expedient and implement more slowly.

At the end of the day, what is important is that both Pearson and the state officials who pushed through this rushed implementation be held accountable for their mistakes. We talk a great deal in education about holding teachers, principals, and even schools accountable in education, but when major mishaps like this Pearson PowerSchool implementation happen, few seem to talk or want to talk about holding those who rushed this accountable. It is refreshing to see that the state is now going to at least hold Pearson somewhat accountable for the mess their software has caused.

I would also suggest that those who decided to push this one-year implementation be held accountable as well. Pearson should also pay for all the lost time districts and schools have spent dealing with the mess their software has caused. In addition, Pearson should also be mandated to provide proper training for everyone. Just paying for the times their software was down does not take into account all the times their software may have been available, but was malfunctioning and unusable. Perhaps the state should seek a refund for that as well.

If accountability is good for the school level educators, then companies that sell our schools products, and those who direct the implementation of those products need to be held accountable too.

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