The Peabody School Committee unanimously passed a resolution calling for an investigation of whether State Commissioner Mitchell Chester has a conflict of interest as national chairman of the PARCC governing board.
Some people in the Bay State are still angry that school officials dropped the state’s successful standards and assessments in exchange for $75 million in Race to the Top funding. Some wondered why RTTT didn’t adopt Massachusetts as the national model.
The article says:
“Committee member Dave McGeney, an outspoken critic of Common Core, believes there is a major conflict and Chester should be booted out of office. He said he’s had it with Chester, who’s been “utterly” disingenuous during the rollout of the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) trial test, and who, in fact, has a vested interest in Massachusetts jumping aboard the Common Core bandwagon. McGeney also says there’s no evidence to back up many of Chester’s statements on the benefits of PARCC.
“Chester is the national chairman of the PARCC Governing Board for the third year and was instrumental in developing the standards.
“He’s been running around the state portraying the PARCC test as a two-year trial, and there’s all kinds of literature with his name attached to it and statements that it’s a trial … but his actions belie that,” McGeney told The Salem News prior to Tuesday’s committee vote.
McGeney said what “pushed him over the edge” was when he learned Chester was due to speak to executives in Washington, D.C., on “how to handle Common Core dissenters,” according to McGeney. “That’s what we are now; we’re labeled as ‘dissenters,’” he said. “The deck is stacked, the game is rigged, and I don’t like it. We have the least to gain and the most to lose.
“When we took the Race to the Top money … the federal government said, ‘We’ll give you this money, and you have to agree to adopt the Common Core standards’” McGeney said. “The standards hadn’t been written yet. It’s the same deal as Obamacare. We signed on to the deal and didn’t even know what it was.”
“The committee unanimously agreed on Tuesday to send a letter to Gov. Deval Patrick and other officials that says that the MCAS has led to “unprecedented improvement in student achievement in Massachusetts” since 1993, and to consider abandoning it in favor of a still “unproven and theoretical” test that may hold promise is a “monumental decision” that “demands objectivity, fairness and the impartial scrutiny of empirical data to determine the outcome.
“We believe that Mitchell Chester, by virtue of his role as National Chair of the PARCC Governing Board and other actions, represents a serious breach of trust, which is at odds with his primary duties and responsibilities, and at the very least gives the impression of bias towards PARCC and compromises the decision-making process,” the letter reads.
“There are some very intelligent people who think it’s (Common Core) great, and there are some very intelligent people who think it’s going to be lousy, but there are 90 percent of the people who don’t have a clue,” McGeney said.”