The U.S. Department of Education is getting ready to oversee control of a potential $ 70.7 billion fiscal year 2016 budget, which includes a proposed billion-dollar increase in Title I funds to ensure college readiness primarily for ethnic minorities and non-English speakers.
Training 10 department employees in “all aspects of e-mail writing and delivery” – and paying a therapy and behavior-modification firm nearly $ 8,000 for the task – apparently is one way the federal bureaucracy is helping carry out the Obama administration’s expansive education policies.
Despite providing the Education Department’s press office with a direct link to the detailed FedBizOpps contract award to Granato Counseling Services, spokeswoman Jo Ann Webb asked: “What is the name of the grant program? The U.S. Department of Education has many.”
She didn’t answer WND’s questions, which were:
- Why is the Education Department spending nearly $ 8,000 to train about 10 employees how to use email?
- What employee actions, if any, triggered the need to procure these services?
- Why is a company with expertise in counseling and behavior modification being used for this endeavor, as opposed to a tech company?
Webb offered to WND an irrelevant reminder that “the department makes grant awards to states or school districts, not individual companies. Please check with your state board of education or your local school district. Thank you.”
What do YOU think? Sound off on using $ 8,000 in tax dollars to teach federal employees to email
According to the contract Scope of Work, by the end of a two-day class, participants should be able to:
- Determine when to send an email
- Proper tone and etiquette
- Write well-organized and professional emails
- Get their message across to the reader
- Sharpen their editing skills
Granato Counseling Services, based in Vienna, Virginia, says on its website that “people can feel better, improve their relationships, and feel more in control of their lives and health. Our counselors work with you to get to know your strengths, help you identify areas of desired change, and develop a treatment plan that supports your specific goals for better mental health, emotional well-being, and relationships.”
Migrant, non-English projects
The department’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education separately is assessing contractor proposals to finish the next phase of the Migrant Interstate Coordination Website, a potential five-year project.
The possible cost is not being publicly revealed.
Indeed, the Education Department recently made clear in response to vendor questions that it “will not be sharing this estimate.”
“Each vendor must develop their own unique technical approach which will determine the level of effort and dollar value.”
The idea for the project stems from the No Child Left Behind Act, or NCLB. According to project solicitation documents, NCLB requires the federal government to provide grants and contracts to “state education agencies, local education agencies, institutions of higher learning, and other public and private nonprofit entities – to improve the interstate and intrastate coordination of migrant education activities.”
Non-English-speakers are getting an additional boost through the department’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, which is seeking contractors to carry out the “Preparing Adult English Language Learners (ELLs) for Rigorous College and Career Readiness Standards” initiative.
The program will create and distribute standards-based education resources nationwide to “help ensure that all adult students including ELLs can obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency.”