PARCC, Pearson, Tony Bennett and Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change

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July 3, 2013

Florida Public Employees

Scathing Purple Musings

Scathing Purple Musings

By Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

In Melissa Ross’s interview with Florida board of education chairman Gary Chartrand onWJTC radio this morning, Floridians were reminded of education commissioner’s Tony Bennett’s many conflicts of interests.

Explaining the difference between the two assessment consortiums which will create standardized tests for Common Core – SMARTER Balanced and PARCC – Chartrand mentioned as an aside that Bennett is the chairman of PARCC. Florida will be using PARCC. To be precise, PARCC classifies Florida as “a Governing State in and the Fiscal Agent for the PARCC Consortium.” As “fiscal agent,” Florida is designated as the state that makes the financial decisions on behalf of the other PARCC states – 2o and the District of Columbia. (UPDATE: Oklahoma drops out of PARCC)

On paper, the fiscal agent is Florida. In reality it’s Bennett.  Indiana’s was designated as fiscal agent while Bennett was the state’s top educator. He brought the title with him to Florida.

There’s more associations.  Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education has designated 8 current state education bosses  as Chiefs for Change. Of the 22 states in PARCC, six are run by one of Bush’s Chiefs. The number of states  is actually 7 as Indiana is still part of PARCC. Of Bush’s 8 Chief’s states, only Maine is not part of PARCC. Past Florida commissioners, Eric Smith and Gerard Robinson have Chiefs emeritus status. Smith is on PARCC’s governing board

Pearson has been a corporate sponsor of Bush’s foundation for some time. The testing giant  bragged to potential investors in February this year that they had been awarded the contract for PARCC.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a consortium of 23 states, awarded Pearson and Educational Testing Service (ETS) the contract to develop test items that will be part of the new English and mathematics assessments to be administered from the 2014-2015 school year. The assessments will be based on what students need to be ready for college and careers, and will measure and track their progress along the way

There was likely considerable PARCC-Pearson panic when Bennett was defeated last November in Indiana. As it turns out, there was no need for panic. Bennett’s role as PARCC’s fiscal agent never left him. He was appointed state education commissioner  by Florida’s Board of Education in December 2012 and didn’t leave his Indiana post until the next month.

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