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Local Lawmaker Expresses Concerns Over Public School Testing

8:04 PM, Jul 29, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- State Senator Tim Kennedy (D-63rd District) expressed concerns Monday about the dominance of one company in administering New York state public school examinations.

In April, the state Education Commissioner said that concerns over privatization of public education testing are valid.

Senator Kennedy voiced issues in regards to competition, saying, "The most important thing we can do with tax dollars, especially when we're talking about contracts, is ensure fair competition across the board."

State test publishing is largely dominated by Pearson, a London based publishing company that has a $32 million contract with the state that expires in 2016

Pearson is in charge of designing state assessments for public school students, including math and language arts exams for some grades.

The company has spent about $60,000 a year on lobbying since 2005 and has spent over $40,000 on lobbying in the first six months of the year.

The state Department of Education says that variety is limited to only a handful of companies that can offer the tests.

An education spokesperson tells WGRZ the state weighs the cost and quality of company proposals before selecting one through a competitive bidding process.

We reached out to Pearson for comment and the company says it gets the contracts fairly.

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