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Pay to Play and NCLB, Pennsylvania style

Photo: http://lvramblings.com

OK, so who is it that actually does the PSSA testing in Pennsylvania – by that I mean, who designs the tests, does those reports we get back, and thinks up ever more ways to spend our money administering more tests – some of which don’t even “count” for anything?

Columnist Paul Carpenter followed the money in the testing biz and boy, it didn’t smell very good.

He reports that according to Democracy Rising Pennsylvania, officers of the Data Recognition Corp. (DRC) of Minnesota sent at least $22,000 to Harrisburg as contributions to the campaign coffers of Gov. Ed Rendell. Interesting how much a Minnesota based company cares about who gets elected in Pennsylvania. And how about that $201 million contract the Rendell administration gave DRC to develop high school exams in math, science, English and social studies?

This is above and beyond what they get for the PSSAs. And how strange that Rendell came out touting the value of a high school graduation test just 2 weeks after getting $15,000 worth of donations from DRC head honchos. Carpenter ends his column with this delicious math statistic: "If there are 10 test subjects and each test has 100 questions, that's 1,000 questions, or $201,000 per question in the DRC contract."

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Comments (5)

Submitted by HelenGym (not verified) on May 27, 2009 9:56 pm

Great post Debbie. With precious stimulus money and plenty of worthy places to use it, it's baffling that the state would waste time and money with GCAs that the majority of school districts refuse to administer. Baffling, I guess, unless you consider the sources.

Submitted by Keith Newman (not verified) on May 31, 2009 6:04 am

Does anyone read this and fear Merit Pay?
Research is amazingly clear as to how monies should be spent: Early Childhood Education.
Only politicians can explain why we spend it on developing testing instead of developing the background knowledge necessary for children to expand their horizons and become adequately prepared ro answer.

Submitted by Debbie Wei (not verified) on May 31, 2009 9:17 am

Maybe we don't have enough Early childhood Education because those toddlers just don't make enough political contributions...gives a whole new meaning to "Pay to PLay" don't you think?

Submitted by Helen Gym on June 4, 2009 5:00 pm

The Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee voted to block the contract since no agreement has even been reached on the tests.

 According to the Inquirer, Sen. Jane Orie wrote:

"At a time when the commonwealth is facing a $3.2 billion revenue shortfall  . . .  it is unconscionable to spend money on a new educational program, particularly one that has met with bipartisan criticism."

 Ed. Secty. Gerald Zahorchak responded:

"It's not me that will be the person punished by it. It's generations of kidss, and you will take the responsibility for this."

 

 

Submitted by Debbie Wei (not verified) on June 4, 2009 8:30 pm

Wow - I'd think with all the useless testing that's been going on since NCLB came along, Zahorchak would realize that the testing lobby and the politicos they've bought off have already punished the kids quite enough....

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