NM (PARCC) sends AIR away

I received a press release this afternoon from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a multi-state testing consortium of which Illinois and Maryland are members, stating that the procurement office in New Mexico has ruled that a protest filed by the American Institutes for Research against Pearson and its newly won contract for PARCC testing is without merit.

The bottom line: Pearson won. AIR lost. Now we can get back to work, provided there are no lengthy appeals. Here’s the press release:

PARCC States Can Move Forward

The New Mexico State Procurement Office on [July 2] denied a protest by the American Institutes for Research, which had delayed contract work to develop the assessment for next year. The work can now proceed.

Mitchell Chester, the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education for Massachusetts and Chair of the PARCC states Governing Board issued the following statement:

“This is great news for New Mexico and all of the PARCC states. We have been confident from the start that New Mexico conducted a fair and open request-for-proposals process, and this decision confirms that. It also allows us to get back to the work started by states and strengthened by thousands of teachers: developing a new generation of high-quality assessments designed to better measure whether students are on track for college and careers. PARCC is not a product that states have chosen to buy; it’s an assessment system they have worked to build together. Our states and schools are moving forward in their decision and implementation processes.”

Hanna Skandera, New Mexico’s Secretary of Education, issued the following statement:

“We’re grateful to see a resolution that prioritizes New Mexico’s students as well as those in other states. As we’ve said from the start, this has been an open and fair process with the singular goal of improving student achievement in New Mexico.

“The State Purchasing Agent saw this protest for exactly what it is when he said: ‘No vendor, including AIR, has any right to substitute its own views and business policy decisions for any state agency.'”