Stan Lybarger, president and CEO of BOK Financial Corp., has an important editorial ('Inflated scores') in today's Tulsa World. He writes:
As CEO of a public company, I would never ask our chief financial officer to also serve as the bank's auditor. Proper checks and balances are required of public companies and are prudent for all business and government activities. It does not represent a lack of trust in the people involved; it is simply good governance to separate functions to protect the interests of all the stakeholders.
Oklahoma's K-12 education system, however, lacks appropriate checks and balances in its testing systems. The state Department of Education controls all functions of the state system, including developing the tests and interpreting the results.
Now, I hate to say I told you so — oh, who am I kidding? I don't mind it one bit — but I've been writing about this for 10 years. In one article (Reading Between the Lines), I pointed out that
The chief problem is simply that government is the main source of information about student achievement. No man should be a judge in his own case, but this is precisely what happens in education. The government owns and operates the schools, administers the tests, gathers the data on student performance, prepares the official reports announcing the results, and (perhaps most importantly) writes the attendant news releases.