Sunday, May 18, 2008

Conflict of Interest by Dave Orbits

Any educator, consultant or contractor that has a financial connection to a publisher or provider of educational programs or services should be required to disclose that connection. Is there a state law that requires this disclosure? This is the same problem that the medical community has been dealing with where researchers are taking consulting money from pharma companies. The peer reviewed journals are now requiring these researchers to disclose these connections because of the potential for bias / conflict of interest in both the research being performed and the outcomes.

We have a worse problem in the case of state curriculum selections since district curriculum people will be strongly biased in favor of their prior selections regardless of the fact that the standards have changed. Even if they weren’t their management will be pushing them to get their district curriculum approved as a cost saving measure.

To me this means that no one involved in prior curriculum decisions nor any person that can be pressured into a particular decision (and hence subject to harassment) can be part of the curriculum advisory committee or on the selection team. No one from the education consulting industry or the college Ed community who has provided consulting to publishers or providers of educational programs or services can participate either. They are all tainted. OSPI will of course fight this because they are selecting people aligned with their own math philosophy.

We need people who understand math and can objectively assess curriculum content against the standards. Let them develop their own rubric.

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