Archives for category: Coleman, David

Please remember that the College Board is a nonprofit.

But Mercedes Schneider reminds us that the people who work at this nonprofit make a lot of money.

If you scan the list of executive salaries, you might begin to understand why the SAT is so expensive to consumers.

And you might cheer on the FairTest list of more than 1,000 colleges and universities that have become “test-optional,” because they recognize that a student’s score on the SAT or the ACT is less valuable as a predictor of college success than the same student’s four-year grade point average.

Schneider reviewed the College Board’s most recent tax filings.

She calls it a “lucrative racket.”

Total revenue in 2016 was $916M, just shy of one billion dollars, $3.3M of which derived from government grants. The greatest revenue generator was “AP and instruction,” at $446M, followed by “assessments,” at $338M.

piggy bank cash

As for 2016 lobbying expenses: The College Board spent $2.3M (a drop in the billion-dollar bucket of its total revenue), with the following explanation:

The College Board contacts legislators and their staff to provide data and statistics on K-12 education and college admissions and to encourage them to support appropriations for education.

If your nonprofit breaks a billion in revenue, then $2M spent on lobbying becomes relatively nothing. In addition, “providing data and statistics” is probably far enough removed to be considered as not actively lobbying.

But let’s move on to the few who profit the most from nonprofit College Board.

The highest paid independent contractor by far was another testing entity, Educational Testing Services (ETS), at $359M.

Former Common Core “architect” and College Board president, David Coleman, drew $1.7M in total compensation in 2016, $512K of which is “bonus and incentive compensation.” Note that as of 2019, Coleman is no longer president and is “just CEO.” The person replacing Coleman in 2019 as president, Jeremy Singer, made $871K in total compensation in 2016 as chief operating officer.

fanning-cash-2

Former Gates Foundation policy director, Stefanie Sanford, who left Gates in December 2012 for chief of policy at College Board, pulled $597K in total compensation in 2016.

Then she has a fairly long list of other well-paid executives who do the significant work of the College Board.

See, if you teach students, you don’t earn much, but if you test them, you can drive a Porsche.

 

Can you believe this? The College Board gave the SAT IN Asia in 2017, released the questions and answers, then recycled the same test in the USA in 2018.

Mercedes Schneider has the story here.

 

Michael Hynes, Superintendent of the Patchogue-Medford School District on Long Island in New York, writes here about the tyranny of the College Board, which rules over the lives of students by supplying expensive tests of limited value. He says it is time to slay the dragon.

“For the reader who doesn’t know what The College Board is: it is the ultimate gatekeeper and judge-jury-executioner for millions of students each year who dream to enter college and it literally is a hardship for many families due to the test taking expense.

“Schools and families have no other choice because there is no other game in town, aside from a student taking the ACT exam.

“The College Board claims to be a non-profit organization, but it’s hard to take that claim seriously when its exam fees for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Advanced Placement test (AP), services for late registration, score verification services and a multitude of other related fees are costing families and schools millions of dollars each year.

“Eleven years ago this “non-profit” made a profit of $55 million and paid nineteen College Board Executives’ salaries that ranged from three hundred thousand dollars to over one million dollars a year.

“That trend continues today.

“Cost aside, it is hard to fathom and understand how the College Board has claimed a monopoly-like status over our public school system.

“Over the years it has literally convinced school administrators, school board trustees, teachers, parents and students they can’t live without what they sell. They sell classes and tests to schools like Big Pharma sells pills to consumers.

“They sell as much as they can and jack up the prices just enough where most people won’t complain. They have convinced my beloved public education system, the university system and pretty much the solar system that if students don’t take the PSAT, the SAT and now multiple Advanced Placement tests during a child’s tenure in high school, then those students won’t be competitive and have the same opportunities to be successful in life as the ones who drink the College Board Kool-Aide.

“We bought this story hook, line and sinker without many of us asking the question…why and how did we let this get so out of control?”

Time to slay the dragon.

Michael Hynes is Superintendent of the Patchogue-Medford School District on Long Island in New York State.

He writes about his contempt for the College Board.

He writes:

“Reader beware. Before you read my thoughts about the educational sacred cow and standardized testing machine known as the College Board, you should know up front that I am no fan of the College Board CEO/President David Coleman who years ago was the architect of Common Core.

“Most of us in the educational world know of the Common Core State Standards and the “test focused education reform movement” that accompanied it was a fiasco that still plagues American schools today.

“Mr. Coleman was on the English Language Arts writing team and his good friend and eventual partner at Student Achievement Partners (SAP) Jason Zimba was a leader on the Common Core Mathematics team. Student Achievement Partners is a non-profit organization that researches and develops achievement based assessment standards.

“Interesting enough, it was funded in part by Bill Gates. The final nail in the coffin for me was when I realized Mr. Coleman, his former assistant and Mr. Zimba were founding board members for Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, an organization that lobbies for standards driven educational reform.

“Do you see a pattern?

“Now Mr. Coleman leads the College Board money-making machine and this educational monolith is the church that most public schools worship several times a year.

“For the reader who doesn’t know what The College Board is: it is the ultimate gatekeeper and judge-jury-executioner for millions of students each year who dream to enter college and it literally is a hardship for many families due to the test taking expense.

“Schools and families have no other choice because there is no other game in town, aside from a student taking the ACT exam.

“The College Board claims to be a non-profit organization, but it’s hard to take that claim seriously when its exam fees for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Advanced Placement test (AP), services for late registration, score verification services and a multitude of other related fees are costing families and schools millions of dollars each year.

“Eleven years ago this “non-profit” made a profit of $55 million and paid nineteen College Board Executives’ salaries that ranged from three hundred thousand dollars to over one million dollars a year.

“That trend continues today.

“Cost aside, it is hard to fathom and understand how the College Board has claimed a monopoly-like status over our public school system.

“Over the years it has literally convinced school administrators, school board trustees, teachers, parents and students they can’t live without what they sell. They sell classes and tests to schools like Big Pharma sells pills to consumers.”

Read on.

Renee Dudley of Reuters has dug deep into a story that seldom reaches public view: the internal battle inside  the College Board–sponsor of the SAT–that followed the arrival of David Coleman.

 

Or, how the architect of the Common Core imposed his “beautiful vision” on the SAT and created massive disruption inside the organization.

 

“NEW YORK – Shortly after taking over the College Board in 2012, new CEO David Coleman circulated an internal memo laying out what he called a “beautiful vision.”

 

“It was his 7,800-word plan for transforming the organization’s signature product, the SAT college entrance exam. The path Coleman laid out was detailed, bold and idealistic – a reflection of his personality, say those who know him.

 

“Literary passages for the new SAT should be “memorable and often beautiful,” he wrote, and students should be able to take the test by computer.

 

“Finishing the redesign quickly was essential. If the overhaul were ready by March 2015, he wrote in a later email to senior employees, then the New York-based College Board could win new business and counter the most popular college entrance exam in America, the ACT.

 

“Perhaps the biggest change was the new test’s focus on the Common Core, the controversial set of learning standards that Coleman himself helped create. The new SAT, he wrote, would “show a striking alignment” to the standards, which set expectations for what American students from kindergarten through high school should learn to prepare for college or a career. The standards have been fully adopted by 42 states and the District of Columbia – and are changing how and what millions of children are taught.
“Redesigning the SAT to reflect the Common Core has solidified Coleman’s influence as one of the most powerful figures in education. He has emerged as “the arbiter of what America’s children should know and be able to do,” Diane Ravitch, former assistant secretary of education for President George H.W. Bush, wrote in her blog.

 

“But Coleman’s “beautiful vision” for remaking the exam soon met some harsh realities.

 

“”Internal documents reviewed by Reuters show pitched battles over his timeline to create the new test and whether the push to meet the deadline could backfire.

 

“The documents, which include memos, emails and presentations, reveal persistent concerns that aligning the redesigned SAT with the Common Core would disadvantage students in states that rejected the standards or were slow to absorb them. The materials also indicate that Coleman’s own decisions delayed the organization’s effort to offer a digital version of the exam.

 

“Today, less than a year after the new SAT debuted, the College Board continues to struggle with the consequences of Coleman’s crash course to remake the SAT and its companion, the PSAT, a junior version of the exam.”

 

The question now: what will happen to the Common Core-aligned SAT in the era of Trump, who claims to hate Common Core. If state’s drop Common Core, the SAT may be out on a limb.

 

Mercedes Schneider writes here about the strange events surrounding Manuel Alfaro, an ex-College Board employee who has been complaining loudly about the defects of the redesigned SAT.

His home was raided by the FBI, very likely searching to find out if he was the one who released 400 test items to the media.

The day after the raid, he wrote a long commentary about the flaws of the new SAT.

This is an astonishing post by Mercedes Schneider. She details the charges of a whistle blower at the College Board, who was hired by David Coleman but couldn’t tolerate the manipulation of test items and use of U reviewed items that were fixed after the actual testing. Manuel Alfaro has left the employ of the College Board, but he couldn’t remain silent about the abuses he witnessed.

Alfaro writes:

David Coleman and the College Board have made transparency a key selling point of the redesigned SAT. Their commitment to transparency is proclaimed proudly in public documents and in public speeches and presentations. However, public documents, such as the Test Specifications for the Redesigned SAT (https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/pdf/test-specifications-redesigned-sat-1.pdf), contain crucial statements and claims that are fabrications. Similar false claims are also included in proposals the College Board wrote in bids for state assessments—I got the proposals from states that make them public.

To corroborate my statements and allegations, I needed the College Board to administer the tests. If I had gone public before the tests were administered, the College Board could have spun this whole matter as “research” or some other nonsense. Now that the PSAT and SAT have been administered; now that the College Board has committed an insurmountable violation of trust; we the people can decide the future of the SAT.

He goes into great detail about the manipulation of data, the lack of transparency, and violations of trust at the College Board.

This is the open letter that he circulated to the staff at the College Board:

Dear Colleagues:

Over the last year, I’ve explored many different options that would allow me to provide students and their families the critical information they need to make informed decisions about the SAT. At the same time, I was always seeking the option that would have minimal impact on your lives.

I gave David Coleman several opportunities to be a decent human being. Using HR and others, he built a protective barrier around himself that I was unable to penetrate. Being unable to reach him, I was left with my current option as the best choice.

For me, knowing what I know, performing most tasks at the College Board required that I take a few steps onto a slippery slope. Where my superiors stood on that slope was influenced by the culture at the College Board, but ultimately it was their personal choice. They chose to conceal, fabricate, and deceive instead of offering students, parents, and clients honest descriptions of the development processes for item specifications, items, and tests.

I feel bad for all of us and wish that there was a better solution. Like you, I owed allegiance to the College Board, but my first allegiance was, is, and always will be to the students and families that we serve. Please understand that. Millions of students around the world depend on us to protect their best interests. When we forget that, and put the financial interests of the organization first, it is easy to justify taking a shortcut here and a shortcut there in an attempt to meet unrealistic organizational goals.

You are good people. You just need better bosses.

Best wishes,

M

Here is David Coleman, the arbiter of what America’s children should know and be able to do.

 

This is quite a lofty perch. First, he oversees the writing of what are supposed to be national standards.

 

Now, he is in charge of testing whether students are qualified to enter college.

 

What an amazing career trajectory for a guy who never taught and whose primary experience was with McKinsey and later with his own testing business, which he sold to McGraw-Hill for $14 million.

 

 

There were two big controversies over curriculum this past year. One got resolved by listening to critics and revising the original language. The other continues to churn and burn because its advocates refuse to concede any mistakes or to make any changes.

Rick Hess writes that this is the difference between the Advanced Placement U.S. history and the Common Core. The College Board listened to critics and revised offending language. The Common Core leaders, however, have insisted that it is perfect, its critics are extremists, and not one word may be changed.

The curious fact is that the same person, David Coleman, was in charge of both. He was “architect” of the Common Core standards, and now he is president of the College Board, which administers AP exams.

Why did he respond to critics in one situation and ignore them in the other? I’m guessing but it may be that his board at the College Board told him that the controversy had to end, and it would end only by listening and responding to critics.

In the case of the Common Core, the design of the whole project left no one in charge once the final draft was published. Instead if listening and revising, advocates dug in their heels and attacked the critics as misinformed, shrill, extremist, ignorant, etc. Even the Secretary of Education ridiculed critics, and advocates for the standards lined up big business to run an advertising campaign defending the standards.

Nothing could be changed in the standards, period. They were perfect!

And this arrogant attitude guarantees that the controversy swirling around the standards and tests will burn on. Because no one will listen.

Our blog poet, who signs as SomeDam Poet, contributed these words of wisdom:

 

Hail Arne
Full of Gates
The Core is with thee
Mes-sed art thou among Reformers
And mes-sed is the fruit of thy room, RTTT

 

Our Coleman
Who aren’t an educator
Hollow be they claim
Thy King-dom come,
Thy will be dumb,
In NY as it is in Washington
Spare us this Core our daily bore,
and forgive us our testpasses,
as we forgive those who testpass in charters ;
and lead us not into DAM nation,
but deliver us from Common Core.

 

Amen