Caught with Common Core conflict-of-interest, Brewer and Huppenthal scramble
In support of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to double down on her commitment to the Common Core, Superintendent of Instruction, John Huppenthal, condemned those who opposed the Common Core as “barbarians at the gate.” The two stood side-by-side to defend against the taxpaying hoards.
Yet, the “barbarians” of truth have scaled the Common Core Castle’s wall here in Arizona, shining their light on Brewer and Huppenthal, who are seemingly in full retreat. On Friday, the Governor’s Office, and the Department of Education issued a joint press release announcing that Arizona will be withdrawing from the Common Core/PARCC testing group.
The duo assert that they have done so in order to avoid any “conflict of interest”, since the same PARCC testing group is also bidding for the state’s Common Core assessment which will be decided this summer.
Too little, too late, me thinks. That conflict of interest bell was rung a long time ago. As I wrote in an article recently, Huppenthal and Brewer are currently perpetrating the charade of accepting potential bids from six testing companies vying for the contract to create and implement Arizona’s Common Core test next year.
The list of bidders includes Pearson Testing and the Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC) group. Arizona’s Common Core test will be selected by the Arizona Board of Education, on which Huppenthal sits.
Until today, Huppenthal sat on the Governing Board of the PARCC group, where each member state had already agreed “to participate exclusively in PARCC and will administer the assessment system statewide during the 2014–15 school year.” That very same Governing Board just awarded Pearson Testing a lucrative contract to develop the PARCC/Common Core Assessment.
Besides PARCC and Pearson Testing, what other testing company bidding on our state assessment contract was given the opportunity to fine tune their assessment in Arizona by using field tests? None.
Besides PARCC and Pearson Testing, what other testing company bidding on our state assessment contract has “state leads” on the Arizona Department of Education payroll that routinely meet to strategize for the benefit of PARCC and Pearson? None.
Besides PARCC Testing, what other testing company bidding on our state assessment contract had our Superintendent of Instruction, John Huppenthal, sitting on their Governing Board? None.
Besides Pearson Testing, what other testing company bidding on our state assessment contract financed an all-expense paid trip for our Superintendent of Instruction, John Huppenthal, to travel to China and Brazil? None.
Due to these multiple conflicts of interest, Pearson and PARCC should immediately be disqualified from bidding on Arizona’s Common Core assessment contract. Governor Brewer and Superintendent Huppenthal are either ignorant of these many conflicts of interest or they are willfully participating in this charade of “objectively” looking for the best testing company to administer our state test. Either possibility is unacceptable.
This seeming culture of ineptitude at best, and culture of corruption at worst must stop. At long last, Arizona’s kids and citizens deserve better. It is up to the barbarian to see that they get it.
Brad McQueen is a former Common Core insider and current public school teacher in Tucson, Arizona and is the author of the anti-Common Core book “The Cult of Common Core”. Connect with Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org