Brief reference to appeal in Publicola

Publicola on Monday, August 9 ran a piece at the top of the Morning Fizz about the appeal of the contract with NWEA for the MAP assessments:Challenging the Board’s Decision | PubliCola - Seattle's News Elixir


Eric M said…
This is where the Superintendent's NWEA/MAP test conflict of interest was brought to light.

The Seattle Times, of course, has never acknowledged the existence of this problem.

The Times has its own conflict of interest. The Superintendent is able to post news about pro-Superintendent articles before the Times post the articles.

It's like they're all sleeping together. Oh, to be a fly on that wall.
Anonymous said…
Oooooo, Yuck!
gavroche said…
Actually, Eric, the Goodloe-Johnson/MAP/NWEA conflict of interest was first discussed here.

As I told Josh Feit at Publicola:

Hey Josh,
Thanks for following this story. It does raise a number of questions and red flags.

Yes some of us have discussed the Superintendent's conflict of interest with regard to NWEA (and Broad, and possibly NTN and the new STEM plan at Cleveland) on the Save Seattle Schools blog, beginning last fall.

For ex.

gavroche said...

And yes, Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson is indeed on the board of directors of Northwest Evaluation Association which makes and sells their trademarked MAP tests. (

She joined this board in Sept. 2008. ( How long after that did the school district under her leadership purchase MAP tests from NWEA? Or was she given this honor AFTER she committed to purchasing their product?

Clearly this is a conflict of interest.
11/16/09 11:56 PM

gavroche said...
Thanks, Melissa.
ZB -- here's a brief description from

[MAP are] the new computerized, standardized tests the district is administering this year to all students, from as young as kindergarten to grade 9.

MAP stands for "Measures of Academic Progress™" (yes, it is a trademarked product) and will be administered to the kids three times during the schoolyear. The test can take as much as two hours each session, according to the district's official announcement letter (see:

Here are all my questions on the subject:

I'd like to know who decided to buy the MAP(tm) test for SPS, when and why. Was there any public input on this district choice and expenditure? How much did it cost? Was this the best use of district money when there are so many other more immediate needs? Are standardized, computerized tests appropriate for kids as young as 5 in kindergarten who aren't even reading yet? Have some kids indeed figured out how to outsmart the adjustable mechanism of the tests, thus skewing the results? Do we really want precious class time spent on even more testing? What are the tests really going to be used for -- to evaluate kids or to evaluate teachers? What have the first round of tests shown so far? I heard from one teacher that no one seems to know how to make sense of the results. Is that true district-wide? I and others would also like to know, why in Sept. 2008 did Supt. Goodloe-Johnson join the board of directors of the Northwest Evaluation Association which manufactures and sells the MAP(tm) test? Was this before or after the district decided to buy NWEA's product? Were any other companies or products considered? Did the Superintendent's position on the NWEA board influence the school district's decision to purchase that company's product? Does Supt. Goodloe-Johnson stand to profit financially from this association? Isn't this a conflict of interest?

11/9/09 11:40 AM

gavroche said…

gavroche said...

(...)"So I read all this, and it sounds like maybe there's either nepotism or kickbacks involved."(...)

You're not naive, you're a quick study!

Yes, there are number of questionable interconnections in SPS, many entangling the Superintendent.

Here's another fishy liaison:

Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson is a member of the board of directors of Northwest Evaluation Association (, the enterprise that manufactures and sells the MAP(tm) tests which the Seattle School District has bought.

(These standardized computerized tests are being administered to SPS kids, including kindergartenders, three times a year starting in 2009/10.)

Furthermore, as Melissa points out in her recent BTA levy post (, the Superintendent and District are requesting $4.3 million more for MAP student assessment testing from the taxpayers in the latest levy.

Isn’t Goodloe-Johnson effectively directing millions of taxpayer dollars to her associates at NWEA?

She may claim she does not benefit financially from all this (at the moment -- what about in the future?), but how can Supt. Goodloe-Johnson be objective in her assessment of this product (MAP tests) and how can her efforts to funnel millions of dollars to NWEA while she is on their board, not be tainted by bias?

(more info here:

Here's the complete NWEA press release about Goodloe-Johnson joining their board in Sept. 2008 (

Media Contact: JulieAnna Little, R/West PR
503.223.5443 x114/

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Joins Northwest Evaluation Association Board
Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson Lends Education Expertise and Leadership to Help Further NWEA’s Mission to Help All Kids Learn

September 16, 2008 – Portland, Ore. – Northwest Evaluation Association is proud to welcome Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, to its board of directors.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson will lend her experience and guidance to help NWEA fulfill its mission of “partnering to help all kids learn” by using assessment data to help make education more child-centric.

"I look forward to working closely with NWEA to support development of effective assessment and evaluation tools," said Dr. Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. "To reach our goal of excellence for all students, we must provide teachers, principals and school systems with data that lets us know what is working well and where instruction, services or programs need to be adjusted. It is very powerful to collaborate across all member districts and to share best practices."

“We are extremely excited to have Dr. Goodloe-Johnson join NWEA. Her experience leading large, urban school districts strengthens a critical perspective on our board, which truly reflects the diversity of our schools and our mission,” said NWEA president and CEO Matt Chapman.

“Our board represents schools throughout the United States, as well as disciplines ranging from administration to research, from reading programs to special education. What unites us is our shared vision to make the educational system child-centric, relying on comprehensive and accurate data to enable every child to achieve his or her aspirational academic goals.”

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has been Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools since July of 2007 and is responsible for the learning, teaching and operational activities of more than 45,000 students and 7,900 staff members throughout the Seattle Public School District. Previously, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was the Superintendent of Charleston County School District in South Carolina, where she oversaw 43,000 students and 5,500 employees.

gavroche said…

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has been extraordinarily involved in advancing public education and supporting families and children throughout her more than 20-year career as an educator, administrator and leader. In addition to NWEA, she currently serves on the Broad Advisory Board and was selected to participate as a 2008 Fellow in the Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education program. She has also been involved on the boards of the National High School Alliance, National Board of Middle Grades Reform, National Conference for Community and Justice and the American Heart Association.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has been awarded for her work in education by the American Association of University Women, the Mt. Pleasant District AME Hall of Fame, the Morris Street Baptist Church, the Charleston Branch of the NAACP and the University of Nebraska – her Alma matter.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson joins six other directors of the Northwest Evaluation Association, including: Board Chair Dr. Mike Flicek of Wyoming, Dr. Jim Angermeyr of Minnesota, Dr. Barbara Smith of California, Dr. Brenda Tanner of Virginia, Lynn Fielding of Washington, and Dr. Joseph Wise of New York.

“We share a common belief with all of our advisors that the educational system should understand and address the academic growth of each individual learner, as reflected in our vision of child-centric education,” said Chapman. “Our assessments are central to that belief, as is our research.”

About Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA)
The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is a national non-profit educational services organization that provides research-based educational growth measures, professional training, and consulting services to improve teaching and learning. Partnering with school districts, states, and other education organizations, NWEA delivers computerized assessment services to more than 3,100 education agencies and four million students. Additionally, its Growth Research Database, the most extensive collection of student growth data in the country, provides a rich source for the study of academic achievement. Contact and other information is available at"

Goodloe-Johnson is also on the Board of Directors of the Broad Foundation (, the "venture philanthropy" enterprise of AIG billionaire Eli Broad, whose agenda is the privatization of public education via charter schools, and the imposition of the ineffective, and potentially union-busting "merit pay."

These are clearly conflicts of interest for the Superintendent.

Whose interests is she serving? Our kids' or her own -- or someone else's? It isn't at all clear.

The School Board needs to address this. The Board should demand that Goodloe-Johnson resign from the Broad Foundation and from the NWEA immediately.

Her potential ties to NTN also need to be clarified and addressed, especially if she is attempting to direct $800,000+ to them.

At the very least, Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson's numerous relationships with these other enterprises that do business with Seattle Public Schools creates the appearance of impropriety, which in turn taints the entire management of SPS.
2/1/10 1:43 AM

gavroche said…

gavroche said...
More on MGJ's conflict of interest....

Feit claims SPS paid NWEA* only $370,000.

*(Northwest Evaluation Association: the enterprise that makes and sells MAP tests, and whose board Supt. Goodloe-Johnson joined in Sept. 2008:

If so, then why did the Superintendent and District earmark $4.3 million more for MAP testing in the latest levy that just passed?

Where's THAT money going? To NWEA? Or does it cost that much to administer the tests?

(See Melissa's BTA levy post:

Incidentally -- the above press release about MGJ joining NWEA is posted on the Seattle School District Web site. So why didn't DeBell et al know that MGJ was on the NWEA board? Doesn't the Board read SPS's own site? Or wasn't that info posted on SPS's site until MGJ fessed up?

Curiouser and curiouser.

2/12/10 6:11 PM

gavroche said...
A few more questions about MAP:

Has anyone evaluated the value and accuracy of the MAP tests?

Is that the best use of $4.3 million taxpayer dollars during an economic crisis?

(Raise your hand if you would rather see the money spent on more teachers and decreasing class sizes.)

Is this the best use of our kids' time? (They are being tested three times a year, even in kindergarten.)

Despite DeBell's ethical nonchalance, here's where the conflict of interest really matters: How likely is it that SPS will ever objectively and fairly evaluate this expenditure as long as its superintendent is connected to the company that sells the district the test?

Sorry that was so long! It's from the archives and gives a bit of MAP/NWEA/MGJ history. Feit didn't seem to realize that we were ahead of him on this particular story.
dan dempsey said…
Gavroche said:

"How likely is it that SPS will ever objectively and fairly evaluate this expenditure as long as its superintendent is connected to the company that sells the district the test?"

How likely?
Not likely as the only question asked by any Board member on July 7 was:

Have you filled out the "Sole Source Justification" form?

Then the Board failed to examine the form, which hardly justified anything.

It seems that no test can do what the District claims NWEA/MAP can do.... including NWEA/MAP.

When the Auditor stated: the Board did not supervise the Superintendent, wow was that spot on.

Now the Board continues to demonstrate how right the Auditor was in the July 6, 2010 issued audit statement.
Eric M said…
I stand corrected. Publicola did not get the conflict of interest story first. I think the Seattle Times is still last, though, as they won't publish news of this little ought-to-be-a-crime until the sun fizzles out.

This blog is, in my humble opinion, the best spot for news that's well-researched, and therefore devastating-by-speaking-the-truth.

On another cheerful note, SEA FINALLY seems to be producing some messaging about the Superintendent's desire for a strike. See their facebook page...
mirmac1 said…
Word has it that she actually joined the board months before the press release, more like April 2008.
zb said…
What is "Stand for Children"? as linked to at Publicola?
Sahila said…
Stand for Children is a pro-privatisation education reform group based in Portland, with offshoots in quite a few states... its upper management is Broad-connected... and its funded by Broad-Gates etc...

its an astro-turf organisation... its very busy in Olympia lobbying for RTTT, charter and merit pay...
mirmac1 said…
Stand is pushing its candidates HARD. It's holding little candidate get-togethers and getting people to sign up for phonebanks etc. I've already received two glossy mailers for their hand-picked milktoast candidate who's a newby and seems anxious to hook up with lobbyists and the whole ed reform crowd. Stand is spending $$$$$ this election.
Sahila said…
As is the LEV.... they've been having little soirees here in the north end over the past few weeks...
kprugman said…
Do you see the possibilities of a franchise working here?

Fight for Children (Washington DC)

Stand for Children (Portland)
kprugman said…
Portland has a big publisher spinoff called Cambium Learning Group - one of their consultants is a prof at SPU designing a web-based elementary math curriculum. He was also on the WASL-standards alignmnent committee. Cambium publishes Voyager (piloted in Tacoma in partnership with the UW). If there was a political string-puller, Cambium (McGraw + Houghton) would both be my Wizard of Oz.
kprugman said…
I compare this to gun running. School reform sells more textbooks, more computers, and more software.
seattle citizen said…
Good point. I've alwyas had in the back of my mind that reform benefits curriculum packagers (and testers, etc) but you give me pause to think maybe it's a bigger chunk o' cash than I suspected...
Anonymous said…
Also, check out:


"Now We Know Why Banks Have Taken So Much Interest in Charter Schools"

There are more articles at:

Scroll down to the category "Cashing in on Ed Reform"
kprugman said…
This is part of cambium learning group -

Here's part of what I learned aside from having 3 ceos in the past six years and $131 million in debt vs $100 million in sales
revenue (June, 2008).

Former employee: "I worked for that company for almost 6 years until last year. i still have friends there that tell me they owe just the garbage company over $ 40,000 and cant get the trash and card board hauled off."

Much has happenned since then.

Earnings remain negative, not positive as the blog reported in 2008.

Windle the Swindler was diverting funds from Sopris West to his personal checking account. SW was orginally located in Portland then moved to Colorado. Windle's embezzlement was about $14 million and including taking money from a church.

That's a short caricature of the industry. It couldn't be that bad? Or could it.

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