The attached letter was sent to T. Willard Fair, State Board of Ed Chair, by Sens. Gelber and Rich, requesting an audit and investigation into NCS Pearson’s FCAT contract failures.
T. Willard Fair
Chairman of State Board of Education
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400
Re: Request for Investigation on the NCS Pearson contract
Dear Chairman Fair:
We urge the State Board of Education to investigate fully the circumstances surrounding the failure of NCS Pearson to comply with the terms of its contract to provide testing services to the State of Florida.
We are not proponents of the FCAT and the way it is overemphasized in the State educational system, but if we ask taxpayers to pay a company $250 million and they fail to do the one thing they are obliged to do, the company must be held accountable. We believe the Board must conduct a full and complete investigation to determine why the Department failed to hire a company with the core competencies necessary to complete its task and, likewise, failed to oversee the contract adequately. Further, we would like to know why the Department seemed unaware of prior, similar mishaps.
The Florida Association of District School Superintendents has concluded that due to the delay in FCAT scores there are a significant costs that will be incurred by the school districts. Students cannot be accurately placed in class, principal and teacher effectiveness on student performance cannot be determined, and staff for the new school year cannot be hired. The delay in the release of FCAT scores will require districts to complete work typically done in June later in the summer, and the districts will subsequently incur additional personnel costs. Finally, the Pearson’s delay has distorted the picture of test results and has caused districts to repeatedly respond to pieces of data rather than addressing the total picture of the district’s FCAT results.
The Pearson debacle is inexcusable and it is our hope that the Board will take all necessary steps – including an audit and investigation – to determine how it happened, so we can assure this sad episode doesn’t repeat itself.
Senator Dan Gelber Senator Nan Rich