As covered in the Maryland Reporter, the Board of Public Works recently agreed to administration of $96 million in federal grants for developing tests to assess students based on Common Core curriculum standards.
The article describes concerns over the speed of Common Core implementation in Maryland, the use of PARCC, the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career Inc. in Washington to oversee the development of the tests, and the paucity of minority contractors in the development process. As described,
Because the PARCC Inc. organization is already doing the work, the contract was awarded to it as “a sole source,” with no competitive bidding. There are also no minority business enterprises involved in the current contract, which stirred the anger of Arnold Jolivet, president of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association.
Maryland is taking a leadership role in developing the assessment tests that will be used in Maryland and 17 other states, according to WBALTV. WBAL reported on Maryland Superintendent Lillian Lowery’s description of Maryland’s high level involvement,
“I believe the reason we were asked to take on this fiscal agency is because we have been involved since day one and we are committed to this work,” Maryland State Superintendent Lillian Lowery said.