One would think that allegations of defamatory online comments directed at parents, misuse of district credit cards, securing overpaid, unsupervised jobs and scholarships for one’s own children, hiring cronies, misuse of district property, and more would disqualify someone from employment at most reputable businesses. However, such actions apparently do not matter to international education conglomerate Pearson, which hired disgraced former Fox C-6 superintendent Dianne Critchlow for a short-term assignment to do Quality Assurance site visits during last month’s Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) testing as part of a contract with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), according to information from DESE and the Mehlville School District.
I received a tip that Critchlow was spotted at Oakville Elementary during MAP testing in April. I was able to determine through Sunshine Law requests that Critchlow is working for Pearson, which was contracted by DESE to do MAP site visits. During these visits, assessors interview district personnel who administer the tests, document training, review documents, and visit classrooms. Here is a form that Critchlow would have filled out after her visit to Oakville Elementary. It is interesting that Critchlow, who ignored and flouted policies as Fox superintendent, is now charged with assessing schools’ adherence to testing policies.
DESE was unable to identify at what other schools Critchlow performed site visits.
In Pearson’s contract with DESE, the company states that it asks the Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA) for recommendations for retired teachers to hire to do these site visits. However, the JeffCo MSTA representative tells me that they did not recommend Critchlow.
Pearson Education is a British company known for its involvement in Common Core and standardized testing. This is from a Politico profile of the company:
A POLITICO investigation has found that Pearson stands to make tens of millions in taxpayer dollars and cuts in student tuition from deals arranged without competitive bids in states from Florida to Texas. The review also found Pearson’s contracts set forth specific performance targets — but don’t penalize the company when it fails to meet those standards. And in the higher ed realm, the contracts give Pearson extensive access to personal student data, with few constraints on how it is used.
Pearson also gained notoriety for a perplexing pineapple question on a New York standardized test.
I wondered if Critchlow inked any deals with Pearson while she was superintendent? I couldn’t find any evidence that this occurred.
Does this revelation about Critchow’s new gig bother you? If so, here are some actions you can take:
– Contact the Commissioner of DESE, Dr. Margie Vandeven, at email@example.com. Ask her if she approves of DESE contractors hiring disgraced former superintendents to work in Missouri schools performing contracted DESE duties.
– Contact Pearson’s DESE point of contact at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask if Pearson makes a habit of hiring disgraced former superintendents.
– Forward this to your friends in the Mehlville district. If you live in the Mehlville, e-mail your superintendent at email@example.com and ask him to tell DESE to stop sending Dianne Critchlow into your schools. [Update: the district tells me that they have no say in this matter.]