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Contract Dispute Could Delay Common-Core Testing, Pearson Says

Defending its win of a big contract with PARCC, the testing giant Pearson contends in new court papers that getting tangled up in a contracting dispute could cause "irreversible and irrevocable harm" to states that plan to use the common-core assessments in 2014-15.

That contention emerged in the latest round of a legal argument about whether the state of New Mexico awarded the PARCC contract to Pearson fairly. There's an urgency to such filings for Pearson and PARCC (the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), since a New Mexico judge has halted work on the contract until the dispute can be resolved.

A competitor, the American Institutes for Research, contends that the PARCC request for proposals, issued by New Mexico, was set up to favor Pearson—so much so that it didn't even bother to bid. AIR is protesting the award. In response to its claims, Pearson and New Mexico filed papers this week defending the procurement process and its outcome.

My colleague Sean Cavanagh explains it all for you over at the Marketplace K-12 blog, with lots of details and background, including links directly to the court filings. You'll want to see the politely acidic comments the New Mexico purchasing department makes in its response to AIR's protest. Suffice to say, they don't think AIR's claim has any legitimate basis. 

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