PEARSON!!!! Why the title? Two days ago, my school received its first boxes containing the New York State ELA assessment. Previously, these tests would arrive in plain unmarked boxes from the New York State Department of Education. But this year, something was very different. All the boxes were printed with the PEARSON logo in large block letters. Inside, was a packing list, not from the State Education Department as was always the case, but from Pearson. Today, our school received notice from the state that several grades were chosen for field tests. When we looked at the letterhead, one side showed the insignia of the New York State Department of Education but on the right was Pearson’s logo. Now my question is: Who is really running the New York State Department of Education?
I am completely tired of this idea of public/private partnerships as President Obama described in his inaugural address. When it comes to this educational reform crowd, there is no such thing as a partnership. What we have here is a private entity calling the shots for only one purpose—to use public funds for private profit. Here is a corporation who last year published assessments containing so many mistakes. And this is the consequence. Instead of being run out of town, they are now nominally in charge of the our state’s assessment process. In previously years, when schools were short tests because of packing errors, the school called the state. Now it is a toll free number direct to Pearson.
I completely resent that our public money are lining the pockets of a few corporate executives. Instead of our money being used by schools to buy books, upgrade classrooms, repair crumbling schools or lower class size, it is going into the pockets of people who do not care one iota about the real educational needs of children. A half century ago, Dwight Eisenhower made a speech saying that we must beware of the military industrial complex whose only interest was to profit from war. Now we have a corporate educational complex whose only purpose is to profit from testing. Not testing to help students learn, but to punish teachers and close schools. The real purpose of these assessments is ultimately to redistribute public wealth from students and teachers into the hands of that one percent who feel that they know what is best for the rest of us. What we have here is the beginning of a corporate state, in which all the resources of a society are being directed toward the support of corporate profits in the name of national and economic development. This is, by the way, one of the definitions of “fascism.”