Federal

Mum’s Mostly the Word on Firm’s Work in Iraq

By Mary Ann Zehr — October 25, 2005 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

No independent evaluation of the current two-year contract held by Creative Associates International Inc., the Washington-based firm engaged to support the Iraqi Ministry of Education in that restructuring, has been completed. The contract took effect in July 2004.

Called Education II, it is the second contract that the U.S. Agency for International Development has given to Creative Associates for education work in Iraq and is worth at least $51.8 million. Creative Associates was paid $56.5 million for carrying out the first yearlong contract, which took effect in May 2003, soon after U.S.-led forces overthrew the Hussein regime. (“Creative Associates Gets New Iraq Contract,” July 14, 2004)

Heather Layman, a spokeswoman for the USAID, acknowledged in an e-mail last week that “there has not been an independent evaluation of the Education II contract to date.”

By contrast, Management Systems International, in Washington, conducted an evaluation of the company’s work on its first contract in Iraq less than a year after it took effect.

The USAID refused to provide that evaluation to Education Week. The agency said in a March 24, 2004, response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the newspaper that “release of this deliberative-process information to the public could hamper the exchange of honest and open communications and thus adversely interfere with our agency’s contract-monitoring activities.”

When Education Week requested a similar kind of evaluation for the second contract through the FOIA this year, USAID officials replied in a Sept. 29 letter that no such appraisal existed.

Ms. Layman said that when Education II started, Management Systems International was “winding down” in Iraq, and that the new contractor charged with evaluating for the USAID has just recently arrived in the country. She added that the Education II contract has been well monitored even though an independent evaluation has not been conducted.

Upon request, the USAID last week provided a four-page document that describes Creative Associates’ accomplishments and goals under Education II.

Creative Associates, that Oct. 7 document says, has helped the Iraqi ministry select 84 primary and secondary schools that can serve as models for teaching and learning. From January to March 2005, it says, Creative Associates distributed more than a half-million school kits to high schoolers.

In addition, it says, the company has trained more than 6,600 teachers in English and 6,000 in information and communication technology. The document says that several groups of educators have been trained as “master teachers,” and that 59 officials from the Education Ministry have studied finance and leadership.

Jordanian Subcontractors

Creative Associates subcontracted some education projects to Jordanian companies.

Rubicon, a Jordanian educational software-development company, has produced a series of cartoon programs for Iraqi television that are meant to help prepare children for school. For example, episodes are ready to teach children to recognize letters of the alphabet, numbers, colors and shapes, and community helpers.

On its Web site, Creative Associates says that “the cartoon series is intended to allow Iraqi preschoolers to enjoy an age of innocence—away from the war that the world has come to know in headlines.” It says that episodes depict Kurdish children and both Sunni and Shiite Muslim children learning and playing together. Neither the USAID nor Creative Associates spells out when the series will be broadcast.

The USAID summary says that Primus, a division of Computer Networking Services, a software-development company based in Amman, has worked with the Iraqi ministry to establish requirements and create a prototype for an education management-information system for the country.

Citing security concerns, Stephen A. Horblitt, the director of external relations for Creative Associates, declined to provide details about the company’s work.

The Iraqi minister of education, Abdul Falah Hasan Al-Sudani, and his staff have not responded to repeated requests since May for information about the progress of the rebuilding of schools in Iraq. Mr. Al-Sudani, a native of Iraq who was appointed as minister in May, was formerly a teacher and researcher in biochemistry at the University of Wales-Swansea.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the October 26, 2005 edition of Education Week as Mum’s Mostlythe Word On Firm’s Work in Iraq

Events

Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
How Whole-Child Student Data Can Strengthen Family Connections
Learn how district leaders can use these actionable strategies to increase family engagement in their student’s education and boost their academic achievement.
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
The School to Workforce Gap: How Are Schools Setting Students Up For Life & Lifestyle Success?
Hear from education and business leaders on how schools are preparing students for their leap into the workforce.
Content provided by Find Your Grind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal What the Federal 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Actually Says
The bill would restrict federal funds for lessons on LGBTQ identities. The outcome of this week's election could revive its prospects.
4 min read
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol Museum in front of the Florida State Capitol on March 7, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida House Republicans advanced a bill, dubbed by opponents as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, to forbid discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, rejecting criticism from Democrats who said the proposal demonizes LGBTQ people.
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol Museum in Tallahassee on March 7, 2022. Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law was a model for a federal bill introduced last month.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal Fed's Education Research Board Is Back. Here's Why That Matters
Defunct for years, the National Board for Education Sciences has new members and new priorities.
2 min read
Image of a conference table.
vasabii/iStock/Getty
Federal Opinion NAEP Needs to Be Kept at Arm’s Length From Politics
It’s in all our interests to ensure NAEP releases are buffered from political considerations and walled off from political appointees.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Feds Emphasize Legal Protections for Pregnant or Recently Pregnant Students, Employees
The U.S. Department of Education has released a new resource summary related to pregnancy discrimination in schools.
2 min read
Young girl checking her pregnancy test, sitting on beige couch at home.
iStock/Getty Images Plus