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What Teachers Want to Know: When Will Testing Company Employees Get Laid Off?

Everyone has to feel the pain of budget cuts—except the companies being paid millions to make standardized tests.


This spring, school districts across the nation sent record numbers of layoff notices to teachers, all in the name of balancing education budgets. But, there's one area that most states and districts aren't cutting—the cost of standardized tests. States and local school districts pay testing companies millions of dollars annually, and with calls to evaluate teachers according to tests results and expand the number of subjects tested coming from the White House and Department of Education, the amount of cash being shelled out to testing companies is sure to skyrocket.

Here's how it works: In order to be compliant with the federal No Child Left Behind Act—which requires student testing—states first pay consultants and testing companies to write multiple choice tests aligned with individual state standards. Once kids take the tests, the states then pay those same companies to score them. The federal government does kicks in some cash to help cover the costs, but thanks to cutbacks, that money doesn't defray the whole expense or pay for the people districts and states hire to manage the entire process.

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People Are Awesome: Fifth Grader Donates $300 Life Savings to Stop Teacher Layoffs

Elementary school student Jocelyn Lam emptied her piggy bank to save pink slipped teachers. Now she's inspired an entire community to do the same.


Thanks to draconian budget cuts, thousands of layoff notices have been delivered to teacher mailboxes nationwide over the past few weeks. But, after notices went home about pink slips handed out in the Arcadia Unified School District, Jocelyn Lam, a fifth grade student at Camino Grove Elementary decided there was something she could do to save her school's teachers: she emptied her piggy bank.

Last Friday, Lam gave her teacher an envelope full of $1, $5, and $10 bills totaling $300—money she'd earned over several years for doing chores and getting good grades. She also included a handwritten letter addressed to the Arcadia Unified school board and superintendent, saying, "I really hope this $300 will help save the teachers that are about to be laid off. I also hope this is enough to save more than one teacher." Her donation was completely unsolicited and took the school staff by surprise.

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