Mississippi Exits PARCC; Louisiana Still Fakes Legitimate Participation
Yep. One more state is exiting the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
On January 16, 2015, the Mississippi State Board oef Education voted to drop PARCC beginning 2015-16. For only 2014-15, Mississippi has contracted with Pearson for the PARCC assessments. However, the board will open up the Request for Proposals (RFP) process in order to have a testing company develop assessments unique to Mississippi.
Chairman of the Mississippi education board John Kelly said that exiting PARCC “will help ensure that the [RFP] process is transparent.”
In Louisiana, the connection with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) and the PARCC assessments has been anything but “transparent.” Louisiana State Superintendent John White insists that Louisiana is taking PARCC assessments; however, Louisiana has no contract with Pearson for the 2014-15 PARCC tests. Instead, in shoddy, dark-alley fashion, official PARCC vendor Pearson has concocted some mystery arrangement to “hand over” PARCC items to Data Recognition Corp (DRC) so that DRC can “deliver” PARCC tests to Louisiana.
LDOE still has a testing contract with DRC for 2014-15, but DRC is not the PARCC-consortium-chosen vendor of the PARCC assessments.
LDOE has never initiated a legitimate RFP process for PARCC assessments. A legitimate RFP process would have required LDOE to open bidding to testing companies other than Pearson– a fact that Mississippi Board Chair John Kelly recognizes.
For LDOE to have followed proper procedure regarding Pearson-PARCC, LDOE would have had to open bidding and then determine that Pearson-PARCC was the best bid. LDOE failed to follow procedure. Instead, John White’s plan all along was to sidestep proper RFP prcedure and illegally graft PARCC assessments in using a DRC contract.
Since Louisiana is now dependent on White’s RFP-dodging, DRC-for-PARCC plan, this means that it is DRC that has a contract with Pearson for Louisiana’s PARCC assessments, and not even the full Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is privy to the details. The public is also in the dark on this one.
LDOE has a contract with DRC; DRC has a contract with Pearson; Pearson has a contract with the PARCC consortium for 2014-18 PARCC tests.
What White wants the public to do is just forget that middle component above and settle into the idea that LDOE “has” PARCC assessments.
There is no telling what Louisiana has “agreed” to for this special, laundered PARCC “opportunity.”
“Transparent” John White will offer no DRC-Pearson contract details and is apparently fine with handing off responsibility for the assessment of almost 400,000 Louisiana third-through-eighth-graders to some closet arrangement.
Though the terms of this DRC-Pearson arrangement are intentionally not being made public even in BESE meetings, both LDOE and BESE are liable for the outcomes.
The public’s best recourse is to submit public records requests to LDOE for emails between LDOE and DRC, and between LDOE and Pearson, and between LDOE and the PARCC consortium, regarding Louisiana’s 2014-15 PARCC tests, particularly from May 2014 to present.