A question has arisen about whether Dr. Goodloe-Johnson encouraged other education folks, in this case the Council of Great City Schools, to use the MAP test as a measure of academic achievement in a study they were commissioned to do by the Gates Foundation. Did she try to sell MAP to CGCS on behalf of NWEA? There's no problem with that in general, but she shouldn't use her Seattle Public Schools email account to do it. More deeply concerning, some folks think her email contained a hint of quid pro quo in which CGCS would use NWEA's MAP for their study and Seattle Public Schools would, reciprocally, use CGCS to do the Alternative Education Review.
There is also a lot of reason to dismiss those concerns. Nothing is spelled out that clearly. In fact, the pitch that she made to Mike Casserly at CGCS wasn't much of a pitch at all. But she participated in an email conversation with NWEA people about how to get the CGCS to use MAP for their study and in that conversation she said that she contacted him, implying that she made a pitch to him - although not explicitly claiming to have done so. She represented it as a pitch to them, so it appears that she thought it was a pitch.
This is not exactly a smoking gun, but the barrel is warm.
The concern, the place where she might have stepped over the line, was in her email to Mike Casserly at the CGCS. The questions are:
Was it a pitch for NWEA's MAP?
Was there a suggestion of a quid pro quo implicit in her message?
Here is the text of the message, from December 14, 2008:
Hi Mike, I hope all is well. I am curious about the grant from GATES to study the achievement gap. It sounds very exciting. I am curious to know if you have considered using MAP as an assessment tool or if it is even appropriate considering the work you will be doing. Keep up the good work, let me know Seattle can help. Also want to confirm that we need to have an alternative schools audit in the spring. Happy Holidays. See you in January!I'm in sales, and this is NOT a sales pitch. Nor is it conclusively an offer of quid pro quo.
For me, this is just a reminder that they were going to do the alternative school audit in the spring of 2009, then in the fall of 2009, then in the fall of 2010, and now they aren't going to do it at all and they have never communicated with the public about any part of this changing timetable and they haven't slowed any decisions about alternative schools in the absence of the review.