If you've been following the education reform currently offered by the DOE, this news is troublesome in believing Common Core standards and assessment testing will streamline and improve educational knowledge and procedures:
A testing company will pay $5.1 million to compensate Wyoming for technical problems with the state's 2010 public school student assessment exam, state schools Superintendent Cindy Hill said Friday.
The state and NCS Pearson Inc., of Bloomington, Minn., reached an agreement this week after months of negotiations, Hill said. Gov. Matt Mead also approved the settlement, she said.
Why should this cause concern in the educational community? Pearson, the testing company having to pay Wyoming a settlement, states on its website:
Only Pearson offers complete and cohesive support to implement the new Common Core State Standards and provide the easiest possible transition. We combine the resources and expertise of the world’s leading assessment company with evolving and continually improving instructional materials, content experts, and professional development to help you, your teachers, and your students succeed at every step along the way.
Pearson is set to make a huge amount of money in the implementation of these standards. According to this blog:
Education Week is reporting that the Gates Foundation and Pearson (Yes, the company that makes and scores the TAKS), is now offering complete curricula and professional development for teachers that is aligned with the common core standards. So,the Gates Foundation uses its money and influence to push through Common Core Standards and testing, then within a year, partners with Pearson so that Pearson can make a profit off of the Common Core Standards.
Now, districts will not be FORCED to purchase the products. But, since many districts had to cut their central office curriculum specialists as part of the budget crises around the country, districts will essentially be forced to purchase this new curriculum since it will be cheaper than employing curriculum specialists who, you know, actually interact and collaborate with real live teachers.
Now, the Gates Foundation has enough money to provide the curricula and PD to every school in the nation for free. If they are such a strong believer in Common Core Standards, why don’t they provide it for free? Why should ANY school have to pay for curricula? (emphasis added)
Excellent points. Taxpayers still have to pay for resources mandated by a consortia via reforms funded by the Gates Foundation, and Gates will receive a financial windfall for the computers needed for the assessments. I would suggest the reason that schools have to pay for curricula is because this will make a few companies quite wealthy.