Archives for category: Pearson

Contact your member of the Néw York Board of Regents and urge them not to make field testing of Oearson tests mandatory.

http://www.regents.nysed.gov/members/Membersterms0412.html

CURRENT MEMBER TERMS AND AREAS REPRESENTED

2016* Tisch, Merryl H.; B.A., M.A., Ed.D.
Chancellor; At Large
Regents Office, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 474-5889 Email: Regent.Tisch@nysed.gov

2016* Bottar, Anthony S.; B.A., J.D.
Vice Chancellor; Judicial District V — Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego
120 Madison Street, Suite 1600, AXA Tower II, Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: (315) 422-3466 Email: Regent.Bottar@nysed.gov

2015* Bennett, Robert M.; B.A., M.S.
Chancellor Emeritus; Judicial District VIII — Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming
201 Millwood Lane, Tonawanda, NY 14150
Phone: (518) 474-5889 Email: Regent.Bennett@nysed.gov

2015* Dawson, James C.; A.A, B.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Judicial District IV — Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington
166 U.S. Oval, Plattsburgh, NY 12903
Phone: (518) 324-2401 Email: Regent.Dawson@nysed.gov

Vacant
Judicial District XI — Queens

2015* Phillips 3rd, Harry; B.A., M.S.F.S.
Judicial District IX — Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester
71 Hawthorne Way, Hartsdale, NY 10530
Phone: (914) 948-2228 Email: Regent.Phillips@nysed.gov

2017* Tallon, Jr., James R. ; B.A., M.A.
Judicial District VI – Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga, Tompkins
United Hospital Fund, 1411 Broadway, 12th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018
Phone (212) 494-0777 Email: Regent.Tallon@nysed.gov

2015* Tilles, Roger; B.A., J.D.
Judicial District X – Nassau, Suffolk
100 Crossways Park West, Suite 107, Woodbury, N.Y. 11797
Phone (516) 364-2533 Email: Regent.Tilles@nysed.gov

2017* Bendit, Charles R.; B.A.
Judicial District I – New York
111 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1500, New York, N.Y. 10011
Phone (212) 220-9945 Email: Regent.Bendit@nysed.gov

2018* Rosa, Betty A.; B.A., M.S. in Ed., M.S. in Ed., M.Ed., Ed.D.
Judicial District XII – Bronx
State Education Building, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone (718) 664-8052 Email: Regent.Rosa@nysed.gov

2015* Young, Jr., Lester W.; B.S., M.S., Ed.D.
At Large
55 Hanson Place, Suite 400, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217
Phone (718) 722-2796 Email: Regent.Young@nysed.gov

2019* Cea, Christine D.; B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
Judicial District XIII – Richmond
NYS Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities
1050 Forest Hill Road, Staten Island, NY 10314
Phone (718) 494-5306 Email: Regent.Cea@nysed.gov

2019* Norwood, Wade S.; B.A.
At Large
74 Appleton Street, Rochester, NY 14611
Phone (585) 436-2944 Email: Regent.Norwood@nysed.gov

2015* Cashin, Kathleen M.; B.S., M.S., Ed.D.
Judicial District II – Kings
Regents Office, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone (518) 474-5889 Email: Regent.Cashin@nysed.gov

2019*Cottrell, James E.; B.S., M.D.
At Large
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Box 6, Brooklyn, NY 11203-2098
Phone (718) 270-2331 Email: Regent.Cottrell@nysed.gov

2017*Brown, T. Andrew; B.A., J.D.
Judicial District VII – Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Yates
925 Crossroads Building, Two State Street, Rochester, NY 14614
Phone (585) 454-3667 Email: Regent.Brown@nysed.gov

2019* Finn, Josephine Victoria; B.A., J.D.
Judicial District III – Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster
Regents Office, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone (518) 474-5889 Email: Regent.Finn@nysed.gov

* Year When Present Term Ends

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The Néw York Board of Regents is meeting today to vote on a proposal to make field testing of online Pearson tests for Common Core mandatory. Commissioner John King says it will make the tests more valid and reliable.

But it won’t make the tests useful to teachers or students. Teachers are not allowed to know which questions their students got right or wrong, so the tests have no diagnostic value. They are not allowed to discuss the tests with one another. The tests are an expensive waste of time.

In the past, Pearson tests have had numerous errors. How will the public know if their children are fairly judged?

Teachers must teach to the tests to help the children and to protect their jobs.

This is not education. It is regimentation.

Call your Regent and tell them not to make field testing mandatory. Call your legidlators. Enough is enough.

An Ohio teacher sent this YouTube video made by a student, John Prusak, who started an anti-Common Core club, with tee-shirts and this video. You will be amazed.

This may seem unthinkable, but Pearson–the mega-giant British publisher of tests and textbooks–might lose its $500 million dollar testing contract for the state of Texas. So says the British publication,
The Telegraph. The entrepreneurs and profiteers of education are worried about the future. How sad. Will they buy each other up? Will they make money or lose money? So many problems when you live or die by profit margins. So many lobbyists to hire. So many campaign contributions to make. Welcome to the new and tawdry world of the education industry.

 

 

Katherine Rushton writes:

 

Most people have, at some point in their lives, felt a bout of nerves as they awaited a crucial set of exam results. Pearson’s chief executive, John Fallon, could be forgiven for having the same feeling.
Next month, the London-listed education giant will face its own version of this peculiar kind of torture, as it learns whether Texas plans to renew its contract for Pearson to provide testing in schools. The deal is a valuable one, worth around $500m (£310m) over five years. It is also a matter of particular strategic importance.
Texas is amongst America’s biggest and most influential states when it comes to education spending – the linchpin in the North American market, which accounts for 59pc of Pearson’s revenues and 66pc of its profits. And it has a long history of doing business with the British company, whose chief executive cut his teeth in the US textbook market, and whose former boss, Dame Marjorie Scardino, is herself American.
If the educational testing business were an election, this would count as Pearson’s safe seat. Yet there are signs Pearson may be about to lose its grip on its traditional stronghold. An audit of the Texas Education Agency recently found problems with the way the Pearson contract was tendered and managed.

 

Pearson has had other setbacks, like the loss of the Apple-Pearson iPad deal in Los Angeles.

 

The e-industry is facing difficulties, says Rushton:

 

“In this transition from print to digital, we don’t have all the infrastructure, but directionally things are moving the right way,” a Pearson spokesman said.
“There are short-term headwinds and long-term opportunities. It is not going to be a clear, straight path. It’s hard work. It’s a case of trial and error as you innovate. The question is, ‘How quickly do you learn?’”….

 

Some analysts argue that Dame Marjorie carefully timed her exit at the end of 2012. Pearson expanded enormously under her tenure, using a series of acquisitions to develop digital products and expand in emerging markets, notably China.
Mr Fallon, these analysts argue, is now unfairly having to grapple with a ragtag bag of companies, shouldering the blame for a combination of changing market dynamics and decisions taken by his predecessor.
Others claim Dame Marjorie is the one being scapegoated. They argue that the FTSE 100 business she led for 16 years is wobbling because of much more recent decisions, and that Fallon has lost key staff and contracts because of a reduction of investment in digital projects.
Whichever interpretation one adopts it is clear that Pearson’s troubles are not all of its own making. Its current turbulence started at a time when the tectonic plates of the education industry were already shifting rapidly. Part of this is down to a redrawing of the battle lines between established rivals. In America, McGraw-Hill Education has lately sharpened its focus on digital products under new chief executive David Levin, the former boss of UBM.
News Corp’s education division has also upped its game, under the guidance of Joel Klein, the former New York City schools chancellor.
But there are also a number of new rivals bearing down on the sector: Some of these are start-ups. We are in the midst of an unparalleled splurge in investment in new digital education businesses. In 2008, venture capital firms ploughed just $200m into the sector. This year, that sum is on course for $1bn.
Meanwhile, established technology giants like Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung are all making inroads into the industry, in the hope that they will build loyal audiences to sell other products to down the line. “We’ve handed education to the big software and hardware providers,” says a senior industry figure. “Google is slated to have 20m teachers working on Google apps, and it’s all free. The margins are different because the motivations are different. Google can give away education because it is securing customers for the future.”
At the moment, the big technology companies tend to partner with the traditional players – Apple was supposed to provide the iPads for LA’s $1bn digital project, for example, but Pearson was responsible for the content. However, we have already seen this story play out in other industries. It is only a matter of time before these technology giants start producing their own content, and try to disintermediate the traditional publishers altogether.
“Partnering with one of these guys is like going to bed with a serial rapist,” one senior source says. “It is only a matter of time.”
He identifies Amazon as the biggest single threat. Its motivation is clear. The more educational content it provides, the more likely it is users will become dependent on its ecosystem and use it for future purchases.
Organisations that are not trying to make money arguably pose an even greater challenge, however. In 2011, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla, ring-fenced between $1.5bn and $2.5bn to fund education projects. The endowment, informally dubbed the Zuckerberg fund, is a relatively low-key operation at the moment, but industry figures speculate that he will end up tackling education, in much the same way as Microsoft founder Bill Gates established the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve world health.
Those sorts of initiatives should only ever be welcomed, but they do not make life easier for traditional education companies.
One former Pearson executive argues that “for-profit” organisations in education are “seriously under threat”, and could end up losing their footing altogether.
But the Pearson’s spokesman feels differently. “The private sector has a pivotal role to play,” they say.
Either way, Pearson has reached a crucial moment in its trajectory. Fallon has to whip the ragtag bag of businesses he inherited into a smart, digital company. Otherwise, the venture capital firms could soon start circling and pick-pick-pick it away.

 

Jason Stanford has written a jaw-dropping article about what happened to the professor who debunked standardized testing. It’s not pretty.

Walter Stroup, a professor at the University of Texas College of Education, made a remarkable discovery about standardized tests: “what the tests measured was not what students have learned but how well students take tests.”

He shared what he learned with the Texas legislature in 2012, as the testing rebellion was heating up across the state among parents. Legislators had long clung to the dogma that the way to improve test scores was to test more and make the tests harder. The state had recently signed a big contract with Pearson to deliver the tests.

“Stroup testified that for $468 million the Legislature had bought a pile of stress and wasted time from Pearson Education, the biggest player in the standardized-testing industry.”

After 15 years of high-stakes testing, the state was still waiting for the promised results. What they got instead was a huge number of students who could not graduate high school and a parent uprising against testing.

What happened to Stroup was alarming. Pearson tried to discredit his research. Pearson has some high-powered lobbyists on its payroll in Texas.

“Stroup had picked a fight with a special interest in front of politicians. The winner wouldn’t be determined by reason and science but by politics and power. Pearson’s real counterattack took place largely out of public view, where the company attempted to discredit Stroup’s research. Instead of a public debate, Pearson used its money and influence to engage in the time-honored academic tradition of trashing its rival’s work and career behind his back.”

But even more alarming, the Pearson Foundationade was already a major benefactor of Stroup’s employer, the University of Texas College of Education.

“In retrospect, Stroup might have anticipated that the UT College of Education wouldn’t celebrate his scholarship on standardized tests. In 2009, the Pearson Foundation, the test publisher’s philanthropic arm, created a $1 million endowment at the College of Education, which in turn engendered the Pearson Center for Applied Psychometric Research, an endowed professorship, and an endowed faculty fellowship.

“Tax law allows corporations to establish charitable foundations. What tax law doesn’t allow is endowing a nonprofit to supplement the parent corporation’s profit-driven mission. Last December, Pearson paid a $7.7 million fine in New York state to settle charges that the Pearson Foundation “had helped develop products for its corporate parent, including course materials and software,” reported The New York Times. There is some evidence that the same thing is going on at UT, mainly because Pearson said so in a press release posted on the College of Education’s website:

“Pearson Foundation’s donation underscores the company’s dedication to designing and delivering assessments that advance measurement best practice, help ensure greater educational equity and improve instruction and learning in today’s global world,” wrote Steve Dowling, Pearson executive vice president. “Through our endowment with The University of Texas at Austin, we are investing in technology-driven assessment research that will promote and personalize education for all.”

Six months after Stroup testified before the Legislature, he learned that his tenure was in jeopardy.

The story is not over. It is about politics and power. It is not about what’s best for children or how to improve education.

Zak Jason wrote a fascinating interview in “Boston” magazine with Barbara Madeloni, the recently elected president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the largest union in the state with 110,000 members.

I first learned of Madeloni when she was preparing teachers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and she refused to give the Pearson test to evaluate new teachers. Michael Winerip wrote a story about her defiance in the New York Times, and within a matter of days, her contract was not renewed. Now all teacher candidates across the university are required to take the Pearson exam.

I learned many things from this article. I learned that Barbara was a psychotherapist before she became a high school English teacher. I learned that when she ran for union president, she was considered a very long shot. Some people thought she had no chance at all.

I learned that the State Commissioner of Education, Mitchell Chester, is also chair of the governing board of PARCC, one of the two federally-funded Common Core tests. Some in the state say he has a conflict of interest.

Madeloni has called for a three-year moratorium on all testing and teacher evaluations:

“We’ve been trying to do scale, instead of human beings. We need to do human beings,” she says. She lambasts the Common Core, a national set of curriculum standards that the state adopted in 2010, as “corporate deform,” and described its architects to CommonWealth magazine as “rich white men who are deciding the course of public education for black and brown children.”

“The past and present heads of the state’s top education offices I talked to dismiss Madeloni’s rhetoric as naive, absurd, and, in the case of the moratorium, illegal. Mitchell Chester, the commissioner of the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), says he’s concerned that her “hyperbolic” vision may force the DESE to tune out the entire union.”

Chester may dismiss her, but teachers view her as a savior. “She’s the first MTA leader willing to listen to their agony, and to tell the truth about how teaching in the age of accountability can be, as Holyoke teacher Cheri Cluff puts it, “like waiting tables at a busy restaurant; you’re running and running and running, and you’ve lost your head.” Whereas past presidents and her opponent, MTA vice president Tim Sullivan, were willing to compromise with state administrators, Madeloni is combative, unapologetic, and, as Agustin Morales, another Holyoke teacher, says, “unafraid to make her life uncomfortable.”

Morales, the article notes, was elected president of his local in Holyoke with a 70% majority; he complained about the data walls, where students’ names and test scores are publicly posted. He was fired.

Madeloni is a fighter. She is outspoken and unafraid. Will she be marginalized by the state? Can the state alienate its largest union? Watch for the battles ahead. Madeloni was elected to stand up for teachers. Richard Stutman of the Boston Teachers Union has agreed to collaborate with her.

Zak Jason concluded:

“When I first talked to Madeloni soon after her election, she agreed to have me follow her throughout her first week. But just before her presidency began, she told me, “As a psychotherapist, I know the presence of someone else in the room can affect how the room behaves,” and said she would only be available for an interview, and her communications director James Sacks would join.

“As I’m about to leave her office, Madeloni turns to Sacks and asks, half-joking, “Is there anything I didn’t say that I was supposed to say?”

“What’s your vision?” he says.

“That we reclaim the vision of public education as a space for democracy, for joy, for hope, for a better future for all of our children. All of our children.”

Following the release of internal emails that suggested inappropriate contact between Superintendent John Deasy, other LA officials, and top officials at Apple and Oearson, Deasy canceled the contract and announced he would start the bidding again.

The LA Times wrote:

“The suspension comes days after disclosures that the superintendent and his top deputy had especially close ties to executives of Apple, maker of the iPad, and Pearson, the company that is providing the curriculum on the devices. And an internal report that examined the technology effort showed major problems with the process and the implementation.”

In a memo
to the board, Deasy presented the cancellation of an ethically-challenged contract as an opportunity:

“Not only will this decision enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances, it will also give us time to take into account concerns raised surrounding the [Common Core Technology Project] and receive new information from the California Department of Education regarding assessments,” Deasy wrote.

The remaining question is whether the LAAUSD board will hold Deasy accountable for the inappropriate meetings with the winning bidders, the use of repair funds from a bond issue, or any other aspect of the fiasco.

AFT President Randi Weingarten Calls for Full Release of Test Questions

WASHINGTON— Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten following news that a portion of the Common Core-aligned testing questions were released in New York as teachers and community members protest the overuse of testing in Albany.

“Releasing just some of the Common Core-aligned test questions in the middle of the summer doesn’t cut it. Parents and educators repeatedly have called for the full release of the questions—even taking our call to the Pearson shareholder meeting this past spring.

“We renew our call for the full release of the test questions—in a timely manner and in a way that is most useful for parents, educators and kids—not in the middle of the summer and right before the test results are announced.”

###

Fred Smith worked for many years at the New York City Board of Education as a testing analyst. For all the parent groups who are upset by the over-testing of their children and concerned about the quality of the tests, Smith has become the go-to guy, who can be counted on to give a tough review of what the testing corporations are doing and what they should be doing.

 

In this post, Smith takes the New York State Education Department to task for withholding the technical report on the 2013 state tests. Just this week, responding to public outrage about its lack of transparency, the Department released 50% of the questions on the April 2014 tests. Until 2011, the SED released the entire exam with questions and answers. But no more. Since Pearson became the state’s testing agency, the state has been parsimonious in releasing questions and also technical data needed to understand the validity of the tests and the items.

 

The technical report for the 2013 tests should have been released in December 2013, but was not made public until July 2014. This is ridiculous. The information was available in Albany but was kept under wraps.

 

Smith says it is time for transparency and truth in testing. The public cannot trust the tests without seeing it and without allowing experienced experts like Smith to review its technical quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While visiting his sister in Albuquerque, Paul Horton encountered the same corporate reform claptrap that he read regularly in the Chicago Tribune and sent the following letter to the editor:

“Dear Editor,

I read your banner article, “SBA scores in NM lower now than five years ago” with great interest. As a teacher with thirty-two years experience, I am very concerned with the obsessive focus on SBA scores in the article.

While I understand that lower test scores might be a concern, I am more concerned with the scripted response of Hannah Skandera, New Mexico Education Secretary designate.

Ms. Skandera is clearly on the bandwagon of a national education reform movement that is funded by the Walton Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the American Legislative Exchange Council that is heavily funded by the Koch brothers.

Ms. Skandera clearly serves the interests of these organizations and not the children of New Mexico. Her agenda insures that millions of hard-earned tax dollars of the citizens of New Mexico will flow to Pearson Education, an English company that has taken over the standardized testing industry in the United States.

The biggest issue facing the students in New Mexico is increasing levels of poverty exacerbated by increasing levels of income inequality. Your education reporters need to disaggregate the SBA scores to correlate them to average income levels in schools and districts.

Ms. Skandera will tell you in the coming months that scores for the new PARCC tests will decline by 30% on average. She does not tell you that Pearson Education will control the determination of “cut scores.” This is a part of the script that she will continue to read. She has no real direct knowledge of education issues, she is simply following the “toolkit” that is being used in many other states and the citizens of New Mexico are being played for suckers.

In point of fact, the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) has been measuring student achievement for over forty years and it remains the best and most accurate reflection of student achievement across the United States. The fact that scores across the country have flattened on average over the last several years is mostly the result of increasing poverty, rising income inequality, and the deteriorating living conditions and shortage of jobs in urban and rural areas all over the country.

Even more important, the current flattening and decline of scores in areas where poverty is prevalent is more the result of the failure of national policies that focus teaching on producing higher test scores. In this regard, the NCLB and Mr. Duncan’s Race to the Top (RttT) are only making these issues worse with their obsessive focus on standardized testing and the defunding of public schools.

The citizens of the great state of New Mexico need to stop paying Pearson Education and start paying for lowering class size, hiring more special education teachers, librarians, art teachers, language teachers, and clinical social workers.

Human investment, not investment in education corporations, will lead to better results for the state of New Mexico. Ms. Skandera is more concerned about pleasing Pearson Education that the parents of New Mexico. Wake up and smell the green chilies cooking! Pearson Education does not care about your kids!

Paul Horton
History teacher and former APS student
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
phorton@ucls.uchicago.edu
http://www.ucls.uchicago.edu”;

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