Writings and observations

Education out of towners

Correspondent Laurie Boeckel, who intensively follows Idaho education matters, had a suggestion following up our recent post about out of state organizations which have a lobbying presence in Boise: How about those from out of state that have an interest in Idaho education?

There are several, and worth noting. Here’s some of what she pointed to, and some of our notes:

bullet Data Recognition Corporation (Maple Grove, Minnesota). It remarks, “We customize state testing programs to meet your requirements and exceed your expectations. DRC currently partners with state departments of education across the country to develop and administer full-service large-scale student educational assessment programs.” This is the firm that underlay some of the big headlines connected with state Board of Education budgeting problems and overspending; it had a $22 million contract with the board for managing the Idaho Standards Achievement Test. In January the board voted 5-2 to amend the contract, canceling testing in the second and ninth grades. Talking with legislative budgeters about the testing situation, Board President said that “Somewhere within the (contract) response, those things were overlooked.” Lobbyists: Lyn Darrington, McKinsey Miller.

bullet K 12 Corporation (Herndon, Virginia). You hear a good deal in the headlines about the Idaho Virtual Academy, an on-line school which has considerable support among top Idaho elected officials. The company that provides the curriculum, that is essentially the key plyer at the IDVA, is K 12. Lobbyist: Suzanne Budge.

bullet Connections Academy, LLC (Baltimore, Maryland). Another cyber-school, with programs in Idaho. Lobbyist: Jeremy Pisca.

bullet University of Phoenix (Phoenix, Arizona). A note here: The University of Phoenix home base is listed in lobbyist reports as Meridian, Idaho, where it does have operations, but the organization is based in Arizona. (Idaho is one of 39 states with UP locations.) It is owned by the Apollo Group, which has its own fascinating history. Lobbyist: Jeremy Pisca.

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