911 Operator: “This is 911. How can I help you?”
TDOE: “Emergency!!! Someone, please, HELP!!!”
911: “Calm down. Tell me what is your emergency?”
TDOE: “It is just awful! Horrible! O my gosh! (muffled sobbing)”
911: “Take a deep breath. Where is the emergency?”
TDOE: “The address is XXXX Warehouse Row, North Carolina”
911: “Wait, did you say ‘North Carolina’?”
TDOE: “Yes, it is in a warehouse in North Carolina.”
911: “North Carolina is outside of our jurisdiction. Let me transfer you to North Carolina…”
TDOE: “NO! North Carolina won’t help at all. They won’t let us use their tax dollars to save our tests.”
911: “Save your tests?”
TDOE: “YES! Our tests are sitting in a warehouse in North Carolina!”
911: “Ma’am, is there a fire in the warehouse?”
TDOE: “No, don’t be silly! The tests are sitting in cardboard boxes under state-of-the-art fire sprinklers that would extinguish any fires that happened. There are even security cameras and guards posted to protect the tests from tampering or vandals.”
911: “Maam, I don’t understand the emergency.”
TDOE: “These tests aren’t graded!”
911: “(silence) (more silence)”
TDOE: “Did you hear me? These TNReady tests aren’t graded, you idiot! Thisisadireemergency! WE HAVE NO CLUE
HOW STUDENTS IN OUR STATE ARE DOING WITHOUT THESE TESTS!!!”
911: “Slow down, ma’am, and please stop yelling. I am trying to understand your problem so that I can help you. Okay, you just said that the TNReady tests aren’t graded, right?”
TDOE: “YES! Thank you for finally speaking English.”
911: “I’ve heard of those TNReady tests. There were non-stop commercials on TV and the radio about them.”
TDOE: “YES, so you see my problem, now?”
911: “Not quite. I understand that the TNReady tests are in a warehouse in North Carolina. Were they stolen? If so, I can dispatch a detective to take a report.”
TDOE: “OH, HELL NO! NO investigations, please!!!!! No need to get the police involved here. We sent the tests to North Carolina because that is where the scumbag of a testing company is based… for now, at least until we put that company out of business for making us look bad.”
911: “So, you are concerned about the safety of the TNReady tests?”
TDOE: “Yes!!! Phew! Finally got it through your thick skull.”
911: “I remember my nephew was worried sick over those TNReady tests. He didn’t want to go to school, poor little guy. Over 10 hours of testing, took a few weeks, if I remember correctly? So, his parents opted him out, kept him home on test days. They said they knew what their child had learned from seeing his daily work and teacher-generated tests over what he’d been taught. They didn’t want his teachers evaluated on his test score on a test they couldn’t see. And they said the tests scores wouldn’t even be returned to schools or parents until the fall.”
TDOE: “They’re wrong! Clueless parents, they were lied to by the teacher’s union. We need those tests graded ASAP or… or… or… well, the data is important to national security and stuff.”
911: “I’m still not clear on this, ma’am. What exactly do you want me to do?”
TDOE: “I need a cash flow of at least 18.5 million dollars. Pronto! I need to make a No-bid contract with my buddy, Pearson. Just put it on Governor Bill Haslam’s tab.”
911: “Ma’am, I do not have the authority to do that.”
TDOE: “This is an EMERGENCY! Make an exception!”
911: “Hold on, let me talk to my supervisor.”
TDOE: “Okay, but don’t make me wait all day. My time is precious. (waiting) Ugh!!! This waiting is such an inconvenience. Time is money, people!!! WHY is he taking so freaking long? This is frustrating. Maybe this is how those innocent students felt waiting for TNReady to eventually be ready? Hahaha. I crack myself up. Of course students wouldn’t feel that way. Students don’t have feelings…. OMYGOSH Why is he taking so long???”
911: “Thank you for waiting, ma’am. I’ve spoken with my boss’ boss’ boss’ boss’ boss and they have granted a waiver to take whatever means is necessary to save those precious tests. Where would you like the millions of dollars transferred? or should we just write a blank check?”
The above was a fictional story. Characters may or may not resemble real-life people.
Truth: TN contracted with Pearson, the Godfather of the testing industry, to grade the paper TNReady tests that are currently stored in a warehouse in North Carolina. Because it is an "emergency" situation (created by the TDOE by firing the old company), the TDOE has the authority to contract with Pearson without the proper legal bidding process for vendors. How convenient.
Truth: Pearson has a history of no-bid contracts and failures. There is a long long list of Pearson's history of problems at Fairtest.org.
Truth: Pearson is not an American company. They have offices on U.S. soil for business purposes, but they an corporation from the United Kingdom. The second-largest stockholder in the Pearson corporation is "The Soverign Fund of Libya." Pearson's tentacles stretch to more than just standardized testing.
Truth: The TN Legislature specifically rejected Pearson's Common Core aligned test called the PARCC test. It was a surprise vote that caught the Governor off-guard. How ironic that here we are, once again, getting comfy with Pearson, giving them access to our children's personal data, and giving them our tax dollars.
Truth: Pearson has a history of bribing officials with lavish trips to exotic locations.
RUMOR: We've heard that the TDOE waited to announce the news of Pearson grading the tests until this specific time. Releasing the info now, during the busy last weeks of school, was intentional, with the hope that parents are too busy to notice, pay attention, or have time to blog. (HA! But only because sleep and folding laundry can wait.)
The REAL Emergency is the mismanagement of tax dollars and our children's time in the classroom. What we need is an emergency hearing to understand why grading these tests and working with Pearson is necessary! We need an emergency overhaul of the TDOE!