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PARCC’s New Manager: Brand-Spanking New *New Meridian*

August 7, 2017

Ever since late 2016, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) has been trying to decide its direction, first by announcing in November 2016 that it would be willing to serve as an item vendor (as well as continuing to offer complete PARCC tests), quickly followed with the beginnings of a Request for Information (RFI) process regarding PARCC’s direction and ultimately resulting in a Request for Proposal (RFP) for new PARCC management (see related press releases here).

PARCC issued its RFP in April 2016; the big question concerned whether the nonprofit, PARCC, Inc., (led by Common Core development insider, Laura Slover) would continue to serve as PARCC’s management org beyond June 2017, the time that its contract would expire. (Read the PARCC, Inc.-Slover-Common Core history here.)

As it turns out, only two entities submitted RFPs to manage PARCC: PARCC, Inc.– already the PARCC manager, even as PARCC continued to embarrassingly shed its state members– or the never-before-heard-of New Meridian Corporation– which has only been in existence since September 2016 and which appears to have been created solely to be the new PARCC manager.

On April 28, 2017, EdWeek reported on New Meridian as the new PARCC manager– and on New Meridian’s being “new,” period:

The PARCC consortium has chosen a new nonprofit to manage the business of maintaining and administering its test: New Meridian Corp., a brand-new organization led by people from various strands of the assessment world. …

[The PARCC governing board] issued a request for proposals last December, but received only two responses: from Parcc Inc., the nonprofit that’s been managing the consortium since December 2013, and from New Meridian. New Meridian will begin its work in July.

As far as information on New Meridian, there isn’t much. Its website mentions a six-member “executive team” that “has more than 15 years hands-on experience in assessment and education management,” which isn’t impressive if one calculates the average (15 years / 6 people = 2.5 years average “hands-on assessment/ed mgmt. experience”). It if were much more than 15 years, the promoters surely could have used a larger number.

Indeed, most of New Meridian’s hands-on assessment experience appears to belong to a single board member, Irene Hunting, who had twelve years with the Arizona Department of Education.

New Meridian founder/CEO, Arthur Vanderveen, holds both a bachelors and a doctorate in English and a masters in divinity (educational psychology; theology). Despite holding no degrees focused upon research and assessment, Vanderveen worked as an executive director for the College Board for four and a half years (2003-2007) and as executive director of assessment for the New York Department of Education (NYSED) for just over a year and a half (2008-2009), followed by another two and a half years as NYSED chief of innovation (2009-2011).

Since 2011, Vanderveen has been VP of business strategy and development of Compass Learning. From Vanderveen’s Linkedin bio:

Vice President, Business Strategy & Development

Compass Learning
October 2011 – September 2016 (5 years)
Austin, Texas Area

Member of Executive Team reporting to CEO responsible for setting company direction, overall business strategy, and investment priorities, and building a high-performance culture with motivated and engaged employees.

Led the company’s business development and strategic partnerships, resulting in more than 40% of company bookings associated with partnership sales.

Screened and structured deals based on financial business case and alignment to corporate strategy, product portfolio requirements, and sales strategy. Negotiated terms and oversaw legal contracting.

Executive coach for strategic sales. Supported development of solutions selling through strategic deal reviews, coaching on customer engagement, solution design, and direct customer engagement.

Established company’s brand as a thought leader in formative assessment and personalized learning by delivering keynotes, presenting at conferences, and publishing.

In other words, since 2011, Vanderveen has had little to do with assessment. And yet, on its sparse home page, New Meridian advertises itself as follows:

New Meridian is a nonprofit that provides assessment design and development services to states.

Our vision is for every student to develop the critical thinking and reasoning skills necessary to succeed in college and career.

Our focused mission is to provide states with best-in-class, flexible assessment systems that measure the competencies that genuinely matter for students’ success in college and career.

The New Meridian website offers no information on any of its clients, PARCC included (though I suspect PARCC is its only client). New Meridian says it is a nonprofit but offers no physical address and does not even mention in what state it is registered. Its “contact” link is a single, generic email address.

It turns out that New Meridian is registered as a nonprofit in Texas, where Vanderveen resides. New Meridian has no business address and no other filings to date with the Texas Secretary of State other than this certificate of formation dated September 23, 2017. New Meridian calls itself a nonprofit but does not yet appear to be registered (no EIN number).

New Meridian does acknowledge two nonprofit funders: The Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation. However, New Meridian does not yet show up on grantee listings for either organization.

New Meridian is indeed new.

Who could doubt their future PARCC promotion success?



Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

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  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    l love the visual punctuation. The Common Core is still being pushed, but ESSA has really produced options for state tests. That grand experiment still has supporters. I am not among them.

  2. Linda permalink

    Thanks for the laugh. 15 years of experience for the management team, one with 12 years making the other 5 members split 3 years i.e. -about 7 mos. each.

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