Pearson, Sandy Kress Fill Their Pockets

Sep 7, 2011 by

by Donna Garner

Pearson, the largest education publishing company in the world, stands to make billions from the Obama administration’s Common Core Standards/Race to the Top which is the federal takeover of the public schools. Please read the 3.25.10 article posted at: http://dailycensored.com/2010/03/25/education-reform-is-the-best-stock-on-the-market/

Abby Rapoport (reporter for Texas Observer — 9.6.11 article posted below) failed to mention the Obama/Pearson connection in her article, but Abby did do an excellent job of covering the troubling aspects of the profit motive behind education lobbyists.

Even though Abby’s facts and solid investigative journalism could lead readers to arrive at some rather grim-but-realistic conclusions, there is a bright spot for the Texas public schools. Because of the committed work of the leaders on the Texas State Board of Education, our state has vastly improved curriculum requirements (TEKS) over those that have been in place for the last ten years.

However, the way to make sure that these new-and-improved curriculum standards (English / Language Arts / Reading, Science, and Social Studies with Math in the pipeline) are taught with fidelity by teachers and mastered by students is to create new-and-improved tests. Teachers will teach whatever is on the tests; and for many students, the best way to motivate them is to require high-stakes testing with incentives and penalties attached.

The all-important requirement, however, is that the curriculum standards (TEKS) must be superior, and the tests based upon them must be rigorous and graded correctly. Because Texas’ new curriculum standards are exceptional and the Texas State Board of Education working in conjunction with the Texas Education Agency have all held Pearson to a high standard, the new Texas tests called the STAAR/End-of-Course tests should be much improved. If they are written and graded well, everyone involved should have a much better idea of how much students have mastered and where weaknesses still exist.

With the new TEKS, students, parents, and teachers know what the goals are at each grade level and in each course; and most of the goals can be measured by a well-written test. That is a vast improvement over what has been in place in Texas over the last ten years under the TAKS regime. Those tests were based upon foggy, mushy standards with unclear goals and were scored with faulty and confusing methods. Students, parents, and teachers had a right to hate the TAKS tests because they were highly unfair to all concerned.

It is indeed troubling that Pearson is making billions as profitable education vendors with highly paid lobbyists, but it is good that Texas’ education standards are being raised so that more students will attain college-and-career readiness.

Another troubling aspect about Pearson is explained in the second and third links posted below. Pearson misgraded and delayed the results of thousands of students’ tests in Oklahoma.

With Pearson making billions on its education products, taxpayers and policymakers have the right to demand excellence on the part of Pearson and all of its employees, vendors, and lobbyists.

If Pearson is going to monopolize the education market, then the company had better accept the responsibility that comes with it and produce superior products with superior and accurate results.

Donna Garner

Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

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Three articles — High-stakes testing, Sandy Kress, virtual online courses, Pearson’s mistakes on Oklahoma’s tests:

(1) “How Private Companies Are Profiting from Texas Public Schools” — by Abby Rapoport, 9.6.11: http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/the-pearson-graduate

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(2) “Oklahoma School Testing Plagued with Errors, Delays” — by Megan Rolland, Tulsa World, 9.5.11:

http://www.tulsaworld.com/site/printerfriendlystory.aspx?articleid=20110905_16_A17_Oklaho597707

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(3) “Oklahoma Education Department Reviews Contracts in Wake of Standardized Testing Errors” — by Megan Rolland, Oklahoman, 9.5.11

http://newsok.com/oklahoma-education-department-reviews-contracts-in-wake-of-standardized-testing-errors/article/3601417

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