Jeb Bush is in Michigan promoting his market expanding education reform package called Common Core. The Michigan legislators have defunded Common Core until after it is properly vetted. Jeb Bush gave the following comments to The Detroit News, “Why not have a dialogue to actually convince people that this is the right thing to do? Why not create a consensus around the importance of it? That’s what politics is about,” Bush told The News. “I’m confident with the proper amount of energy behind an initiative, that the Legislature will support this.”
Call me crazy, and some do, but wouldn’t this conversation have been more appropriate before the standards were forced on states with Race to the Top and NCLB waivers? It’s sad that leaders in education only explain themselves and their policies when absolutely forced. Instead, we have had to go through several years of wasting money to get to the point of an honest debate.
Maybe wasting money is the point of the Common Core boondoggle. While teachers and parents are struggling with its implementation others are enriched by it. Those who had a seat at the table in their development like Pearson. Pearson has released its unaudited financial release statements and synopsis which shows the Common Core and its related testing has been quite a boom for them. They list the highlights from 2012 and Common Core related projects top their list for their North America Education Subsidiary.
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.
We continued to produce strong growth in secure online testing, an important market for the future. We increased online testing volumes by more than 10%, delivering 6.5 million state accountability tests, 4.5 million constructed response items and 21 million spoken tests. We now assess oral proficiency in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Arabic and Chinese. We also launched the Online Assessment Readiness Tool for the PARCC and the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Common Core consortia to help 45 states prepare for the transition to online assessments.
We won new state contracts in Colorado and Missouri and a new contract with the College Board to deliver ReadiStep, a middle school assessment that measures and tracks college readiness skills. We extended our contract with the College Board to deliver the ACCUPLACER assessment, a computer-adaptive diagnostic, placement and online intervention system that supports 1,300 institutions and 7 million students annually.
We won five Race To The Top (RTTT) state deals (Kentucky, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and New York) led by Schoolnet. PowerSchool won three state/province-level contracts (North Carolina, New Brunswick and Northwest Territories). We launched our mobile PowerSchool applications and grew our 3rd party partner ecosystem to over 50 partners. PowerSchool supports more than 12 million students, up more than 20% on 2011 while Schoolnet supports 8.3 million students, up almost 160% on 2011.