March 1, 2012

IN: State, IBM blame each other as trial begins
The state had agreed to pay IBM $1.37 billion over 10 years to modernize Indiana’s welfare system, but it canceled the contract in 2009, after only three years, because of widespread complaints. The state sued IBM in May 2010 to take back the $437 million it paid the company. IBM countersued, saying the state still owed the company about $100 million. Marion Superior Court Judge David Dreyer ruled in January that the state would have to pay IBM $40 million in subcontractor assignment fees. He also capped the damages the state could seek at $125 million. The trial began Monday and is scheduled to last up to six weeks…Attorneys for the state showed clips of videotaped interviews with a young mother, a nun and an elderly man who all had trouble with the automated system. They presented a chart that showed FSSA’s application backlog jumped from about 10,000 applications in early 2007 to nearly 50,000 in late 2008 while IBM was rolling out the automated system. They also pointed to an IBM assessment from 2009 that documented problems and more than 200 recommendations for improvements. Indianapolis Star

AZ: Tired Tucson teacher: A promise to education and other lies
…What Arizona wants is to get out of the business of educating the public. And they are not that keen on higher education either. At least that is the conclusion you must draw if you look at the intent behind many of the proposals of our “Less” – gislature. In Arizona we believe that education is for those who can afford it and the rest don’t need it. While “readin’, ritin’ an’ ‘rithmetic” might be alright for some, if they can pay for it, in Arizona we see such nonsense for most of our citizens as fluff and waste. Tucson Citizen

NC: Limited time to comment on Pre-K privatization
Want to weigh in on a legislative proposal to privatize Pre-K? You’ll have to act fast. The House Select Committee on Early Childhood Education Improvement is accepting public comments through the close of business this afternoon. Children’s advocates are troubled by the fact the draft report would narrow the financial eligibility for NC Pre-K. Action for Children NC notes several other flaws in the Republican push to privatize the early childhood program. Specifically they object to the: Loss of local decision-making authority;  Fewer slots as a result of higher reimbursement rates for private providers; Lack of capacity in rural areas; Loss of connection between NC Pre-K and school system. The Progressive Pulse