The Kentucky Commissioner of Education is taking some political heat for going on trips to locations that include Brazil that were financed by NCS Pearson Inc., which has a contract with the state to develop standardized tests for Kentucky students. Critics are suggesting that it wasn't appropriate for the commissioner to take such trips on the company's dime.
In reading the story what amazed me, however, was that the state has a contract with the Pearson to pay the company a guaranteed $7.6 million thus far and the amount could reach $64.6 million to provide testing services through 2018, according to news accounts. In terms of educational policy, I just can't help but wonder if we may have reached a certain level of accountability obsession. If the state is spending this much on one set of tests, how much does the rest of the state's education budget go to accountability measures and systems? At what point do we actually get more bang for our education bucks by spending those funds elsewhere, such as towards classroom instruction?