by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
North Carolina public schools’ transition to the new K-3 reading diagnostic tool, Istation, will be delayed according to reporter Lindsay Marchello’s most recent article in Carolina Journal. The delay is reportedly due to complaints from teachers and school officials about the compressed timeline to train teachers and implement the program. According to Marchello, the new plan states:
[E]lementary schools must wait until January to start using Istation. Teachers will be trained during the summer and fall to prepare for the new reading diagnostic tool.
The switch from the previous diagnostic tool, Amplify’s Mclass, to Istation has presented additional difficulties – namely a legal protest filed by Amplify against the state. Marchello reports:
Amplify has filed a legal protest to either delay or stop the process. The company claims the contract shouldn’t go to Istation because the assessment tool doesn’t satisfy requirements in the law and is too advanced for young children.
Istation’s president, Ossa Fisher, replied with a statement calling the protest “frivolous” and “Without any substantial basis or merit.” Marchello quotes Fisher:
“Their purpose is solely to cause unnecessary delay in the contract awarded to Istation,” Fisher said in a statement. “The false and misleading statements that Amplify is publicly distributing are intended to harass and cause harm to our company after we were awarded the contract — fair and square — based on our product offerings and proven track record working with millions of students across the country.”