It's teacher hunting season!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pearson's Pineapple Socked Your Kid; Tentacles into Teacher Evaluation

(Scroll to bottom for links to parents' groups against the tests.)
Media roundup on Pearson PLC [wikipedia article link], (Pearson's "Investors" page showing double digits assets growth since 2007 --a global economic slowdown, but a boom in government spending on tests and texts to support test-driven curricula), target of 400 protesting parents this week in mid-town Manhattan: (Here's Lindsey Christ's NY1 story with video yesterday "Schools Boycott Latest Round Of Standardized Testing" on high-stakes and protests over the test mania.)
Pearson mis-used children's author Daniel Pinkwater's story about a talking pineapple in standardized tests in April and it baffled many kids. Only a wide-spread public outcry got the question dumped from counting on students' test results.
When the New York Times is outraged ("When Pineapple Races Hare, Students Lose, Critics of Standardized Tests Say") people listen. Parents Across America noted Leonie Haimson's role in exposing this fiasco. She blogged on a Thursday, by the next day, April 20, 2012, the story snowballed and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Commissioner had to pull the question. (But what about other baffling, illogical questions? Don't get me started on another standardized test in New York City that same week stumping students by using the phrase "giddy-up". Hello? This is 2012, not the 50s or 60s or 70s. Western --cowboys and "Indians"-- culture references went out decades ago.)

Washington Post columnist Valerie Strauss May 7, 2012 reprinting Diane Ravitch on Pearson's expanding reach:
The closing clincher:
Many years ago, I interviewed a famous [professor] at MIT about the role of standardized tests in education. He said something I never forgot. He said, “Let me write a nation’s tests, and I care not who writes its songs or laws.”

Are we prepared to hand over our children, our teachers, and our definition of knowledge to Pearson?

Ravitch's endorsement of parents' June 7, 2012 rally against Pearson:
"Parents Vs. Goliath":

Ravitch, June 7, 2012, on "Pearsonizing Our Children":

Valerie Strauss, June 9, 2010, on Montgomery County [Maryland] Public Schools' selling out to Pearson:
"MCPS selling its reputation to Pearson"
* * *
From Strauss' May 7, 2012 column: Barack Obama / Arne Duncan's U.S. Department of Education, Pearson and testing:
With the U.S. Department of Education now pressing schools to test children in second grade, first grade, kindergarten — and possibly earlier — and with the same agency ["Ed Dept seeks to bring test-based assessment to teacher prep programs," Strauss at Post, April 23, 2012] demanding that schools of education be evaluated by the test scores of the students of their graduates (whew!), the picture grows clear. Pearson will control every aspect of our education system. [Link is to Michael Winerip's May 6, 2012 NY Times column, "Move to Outsource Teacher Licensing Process Draws Protest."]
Now we learn from Michael Winerip in the New York Times that Pearson has made a deal with Stanford University to license teachers, no matter what state they are in.
The deal is this: the school of education is supposed to send Pearson two 10-minute videos of the prospective teacher, plus the response to a written examination. Someone in the Pearson shop–possibly a retired teacher–will evaluate the prospect and decide after a brief review, whether they should get a license to teach.
From Winerip's above linked May 6, 2012 article:
Sixty-seven of the 68 students studying to be teachers at the middle and high school levels at the Amherst campus are protesting a new national licensure procedure being developed by Stanford University with the education company Pearson.
The UMass students say that their professors and the classroom teachers who observe them for six months in real school settings can do a better job judging their skills than a corporation that has never seen them.
They have refused to send Pearson two 10-minute videos of themselves teaching, as well as a 40-page take-home test, requirements of an assessment that will soon be necessary for licensure in several states.
From Madfloridian's Journal, May 2012:
Testmaker company Pearson makes deal with Stanford University to license teachers long distance.

Pearson's press release touting their teacher evaluation contract with New York State:
"Pearson Named Approved Provider of New York State Teacher Evaluation Rubrics; NYSTCE Framework for the Observation of Effective Teaching Designed to Meet Unique Needs of Local Education Agencies":
* * *
Education imperialism too? / Or Education Deform goes international
They are attempting penetrate India with their student testing wares:
"Pearson Brings America’s No.1 School Test to India" --a boosterist blurb at "digitalLearning: Learning Through ICTs":
Pearson's "Investors" page trumpets their move into several of the "BRIC" countries: " . . . a significant expansion into fast-growing developing economies including China, India, Africa and Brazil."
Links to parents' groups:
Change the Stakes
Class Size Matters Fair Test (National Center for Fair & Open Testing) Parents Across America
Time Out From Testing
United Opt Out National

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