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School Committee Voices Concern About Conflict of Interest

The School Committee voted unanimously to ask officials to review a conflict of interest involving Mitchell D. Chester, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

School Committee member Dave McGeney has been an outspoken critic of Common Core and PARCC. Photo credit: Patch file photo.
School Committee member Dave McGeney has been an outspoken critic of Common Core and PARCC. Photo credit: Patch file photo.

The Peabody School Committee continues to be concerned about the new Common Core standards and is asking state officials to review a potential conflict of interest involving Mitchell D. Chester, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The School Committee voted unanimously to ask officials to review the conflict of interest because Chester also serves as chairman of the governing board for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a consortium that developed the new assessment system that will likely replace the MCAS tests in 2015, reported The Boston Globe.

School Committee member David McGeney, who has been a vocal opponent of Common Core and PARCC, said:

“It’s an outrageous conflict of interest and a breach of trust. It is very clear to me that there is not any two-year test drive. At a minimum, the citizens of Massachusetts deserve a fair, unbiased opinion.”

The Globe reported: “Chester, who has been commissioner for six years, said he is confident that his role with PARCC is not a conflict of interest. He said he sought advice from the State Ethics Commission in 2013 and submitted two separate disclosures detailing his role with PARCC that were signed off on by Matthew Malone, the state education secretary, and Maura Banta, chairwoman of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.”

“My interest is providing the strongest possible program for the students of Massachusetts,” Chester told The Globe. “We’ve had MCAS for 17 years and we wanted to do more with students involving writing and applying their knowledge. We wanted to implement more problem solving, online technologies for faster turnaround for teachers, and implement more use of digital tools.”

Read the full Boston Globe article.

Here is previous coverage of Common Core and the PARCC test:

March 16: Will You Allow Your Children to Take the New Standardized Test?

March 12: Should Schools Get Rid of the MCAS?

March 10: Learn More About Common Core on Tuesday

Feb. 27: Common Core ‘Completely Botched,’ Union Leader Says 

Feb. 11: Seven Peabody Schools Will Take Possible MCAS Replacement Test

Saber Walsh April 14, 2014 at 06:33 AM
This is AWESOME -- FINALLY we see politicians representing us!
jen buchanan April 14, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Topic is great. A necessary review for sure however, I cannot believe that this is an article relating to education and there is a typo, "roll" vs. role. No time for editing? What are our expectations of students?
Les Masterson April 14, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Sorry about that, Jen. It's been corrected.

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