More News on Critchlow/DESE/Pearson

3 Jun

Update: KMOV did a story, too.

Local media is on my report about Pearson Education hiring disgraced Fox superintendent Dianne Critchlow as a MAP testing observer as part of a contract with the state education department, DESE, like white on rice. Both the Post-Dispatch and the Oakville Call published articles about it on Tuesday. I provided the results of my research to both reporters, upon their requests, but alas, this blog received no acknowledgement in the articles. Such is blog life, I guess.

Both articles added news and reaction to the story. Here are the highlights:


The P-D provided the names of the other schools that Critchlow graced with her presence as a Pearson MAP observer. They were:

  • Parkway Southwest Middle School (Parkway District)
  • Fairway Elementary (Rockwood District)
  • Lonedell Elementary (Lonedell District, not Fox)

Then there’s this tidbit:

The summary provided to the state from Pearson showed no issues with test security or cheating. It noted “some questions regarding a particular monitor were directed to DESE and Pearson by media and other individuals. As a result, DESE and Pearson will add this topic to a post-project meeting agenda and discuss any relevance to future monitor assignment or procedures,” according to the report.

That’s you, guys. Those of you who wrote to the Commissioner of DESE and Pearson’s Missouri Manager made that happen. If you didn’t email them, I don’t think it’s too late. These articles should provoke another round of angst. If we can cause DESE and Pearson some consternation, maybe they will do their due diligence next time. Here are the people to contact:

– The Commissioner of DESE, Dr. Margie Vandeven, at

– Pearson’s DESE point of contact at

I also think it was worthwhile to contact the Mehlville superintendent, despite that district telling me they can’t do anything. I think DESE would listen more to a superintendent or school board member who calls them to complain, compared to some random Joe Schmoe. Here’s what one Mehlville board member, who also contacted DESE, had to say:

“Are you kidding me? Quality assurance?” said Mehlville School Board member Jamey Murphy. “It is of great concern to me to know that this individual, with her track record, was brought into Mehlville schools. The lack of discretion used by Pearson and the lack of oversight by DESE is troubling. We hold our district employees up to high standards and ask that others do the same.”

Oakville Call

The Call revealed that DESE should have known about Critchlow’s hire before the site visits took place:

[Mehlville Director of Communications and Public Relations John] Wolff said DESE “disavowed” Critchlow’s employment when Mehlville officials contacted the state agency. But if the contract was followed, DESE would have known Critchlow was going to Oakville Elementary since Pearson agreed to send DESE a list of the names of its quality-assurance inspectors and their qualifications at least a week before monitoring, along with a list of specific monitoring assignments for each building.

Here’s a quote from Wolff:

“Why would they send her to our school? There’s no one else but Critchlow? It’s like a joke,” Wolff said. “You hire her as a quality inspector, but she’s accused of misusing money, she’s accused of mislaying things, of slander, of libel. Seriously, that’s the lady you want to be in charge of quality? I’m speechless, I still am — it makes no sense.”

This article also revealed that “Longtime Oakville Middle School Principal Mike Salsman is Critchlow’s brother.” Since Dianne did a site visit Oakville Elementary, it’s not a total conflict of interest, but it might be considered a bit sketchy.


3 Responses to “More News on Critchlow/DESE/Pearson”

  1. Cindy June 4, 2015 at 8:32 am #

    I did contact DESE and received a call back. You are right in asking people to call and email, turn up the heat, and call your representatives, too.


    • JC Penknife June 4, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

      What did they say?


      • Cindy June 4, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

        I don’t think they realized all the issues with Critchlow. When I mentioned certain details with the son’s business and her own purchases, she responded that she wasn’t aware of that. Part of the problem they are facing right now and why they can unequivocally refuse to hire her has to do with the legal hoops involving HR and hiring. I suggested there are ways they can get around all that by making sure Pearson knows Critchlow should never be used in Missouri again.
        They are receiving a lot of complaints, so I suggest everyone take the time to contact DESE and your representatives. I believe it will make a difference.


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