As reported by the Dean, on Wednesday, after months of stamping his feet and refusing to negotiate or budge even an inch on the issue, Gov. Haslam had to suck it up and sign the legislation delaying PARCC testing for a year. It’s amazing what an 82-11 vote in the House (that included a solid majority of the GOP caucus) against your program will do to help you pick up that pen, grit your teeth and sign into law even a delay. But the governor’s education commissioner, Kevin “I voted for Obama” Huffman, took less than 24 hours after the signing to publicly whine about the fact, bemoaning the delay as “a terrible, terrible decision.”
Huffman, possibly the most reviled education commissioner in state history (especially among teachers) has been known to deliver millions in no-bid contracts to his cronies at his old company, Teach for America (see RTP, 3-26-2014: “Crony Capitalism at the DOE: Huffman learns from his pal Obama”).
But the whole Common Core/PARCC (Pearson) testing scam offers Huffman access to an even bigger buttload of money to dole out to favored companies. Now before everyone starts to hyperventilate, RTP is not saying Huffman is on the take. At least not now. But Huffman ain’t from Tennessee, and when he leaves/resigns/gets fired as education commissioner, no one expects him to stick around the Volunteer State and settle down on a little piece of land in Fentress County or start a river rafting business in Maynardville. No, Huffman knows which end of his bread the taxpayers have been buttering the last few years. He is likely to end up as a “consultant” for somebody like Pearson, or head up an education “think tank” funded by somebody like Pearson or even become the CEO of a Pearson subsidiary. Or change his name to Kevin Pearson.
But cut us some slack, Kevin. Sometimes “terrible, terrible things” just happen. Like the time Obama got re-elected with the help of your vote. Or the time Bill Haslam made a “terrible, terrible” decision on who to put in charge of educating our children.
But not to worry, Kev, you’ll be all right. Just ask Pearson.