Goodloe-Johnson Conflict of Interest in $370,000 Contract

By Josh Feit February 12, 2010

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson sits on the board of a Portland-based nonprofit that was awarded a $370,000 contract with SPS last summer. The nonprofit, Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), was hired for the 2009-2010 school year to provide a K-9 diagnostic student test known as MAP (Measurement of Academic Progress.)

Goodloe-Johnson has been on the NWEA board since 2008.

In the public documents describing the contract, including a May 2009 memorandum to all Seattle principals outlining the decision to go with NWEA's program, Goodloe-Johnson did not disclose her position with NWEA.

Extolling MAP pretty matter-of-factly, Goodloe-Johnson wrote:
Implementing MAP district-wide will promote the district’s strategic direction by providing better information about whether we are meeting our goals. ... It is my intention that as a result of MAP implementation, we will have more accurate data to measure and accelerate student growth and reduction of the education gap.  We will be successful if,  by 2010, you and your teachers have received full professional development on how to use MAP and are actively using it to make decisions that inform instruction and positively impact academic achievement.

Goodloe-Johnson's office said they would have to call us back.

Seattle School Board President Michael DeBell says Goodloe-Johnson apologized for not disclosing her seat on NWEA's board at a public meeting of the school board's executive committee in the fall of 2009, after the contract had been signed; he said she told the board that she had not developed the contract. DeBell says there was "not a big reaction ... no outrage" at Goodloe-Johnson's after-the-fact disclosure, adding that the board is "very happy" with MAP.

DeBell says the board disclosed all their potential conflicts at its first meeting this year, "partially in response" to Goodloe-Johnson's belated disclosure about her position on NWEA's board. The board governs and watchdogs itself, DeBell says, when it comes to protocol around potential conflicts.
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