Archives for category: Pearson

North Carolina officials are trying to get a refund from Pearson because of flaws in the data system that Pearson is running for the state.

Pearson is charging the state $7.1 million for its information system but it doesn’t work.

Here are some of the problems with Pearson’s PowerSchool:


At the Observer’s request, CMS produced a summary of ongoing problems with PowerSchool.

• Transcripts: Cannot produce transcripts for mid-year graduates. System maintenance has wiped out some data for other students.

• Athletic eligibility: PowerSchool cannot generate eligibility reports. CMS created a local system.

• Driver’s license eligibility: Can’t create reports that verify students’ eligibility.

• Graduates and dropouts: Reporting systems on retention, promotion and graduation don’t work; there is no dropout reporting system.

• School activity reports: CMS has created work-around systems because of flaws in reports that track teacher qualifications and student-teacher ratios.

• Enrollment: Monthly reports that tally enrollment at each school have had glitches. The September report is used as the official snapshot of statewide enrollment. The state reported that this function was fixed in February.

Read more here:

A reader forwarded the following story.

Microsoft and Pearson will join forces to build “the first curriculum…for a digital personalized learning environment that is 100 percent aligned to the new standards for college and career readiness.”

Now we see the pattern on the rug.

It begins like this:

New York, NY (PRWEB) February 20, 2014

Today Pearson announced a collaboration with Microsoft Corp. that brings together the world’s leading learning company and the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions to create new applications and advance a digital education model that prepares students to thrive in an increasingly personalized learning environment. The first collaboration between the two global companies will combine Pearson’s Common Core System of Courses with the groundbreaking capabilities of the Windows 8 touchscreen environment. The Common Core System of Courses is the first curriculum built for a digital personalized learning environment that is 100 percent aligned to the new standards for college and career readiness.

“Pearson has accelerated the development of personalized digital learning environments to improve educational outcomes as well as increase student engagement,” said Larry Singer, Managing Director for Pearson’s North American School group. “Through this collaboration with Microsoft, the global leader in infrastructure and productivity tools for schools, we are creating a powerful force for helping schools leverage this educational model to accelerate student achievement and, ultimately, ensure that U.S. students are more competitive on the global stage.”

“Personalized learning for every student is a worthy and aspirational goal. By combining the power of touch, type, digital inking, multitasking and split-screen capabilities that Windows 8 with Office 365 provides with these new Pearson applications, we’re one step closer to enabling an interactive and personalized learning environment,” said Margo Day, vice president, U.S. Education, Microsoft Corp. “We’re in the middle of an exciting transformation in education, with technology fueling the movement and allowing schools to achieve this goal of personalized learning for each student.”

In addition, iLit, Pearson’s core reading program aimed at closing the adolescent literacy gap, will be optimized for the Windows 8 platform. Designed based on the proven instructional model found in the Ramp Up Literacy program, which demonstrated students gaining two years of growth in a single year, iLit offers students personalized learning support based on their own instructional needs, engaging interactivities, and built-in reward systems that motivate students and track their progress.

Read more:

The voice of a new blogger! At least, new to me. Glad to make his/her acquaintance.

This post was written by a veteran teacher who knows how to get students to love literature.

But it is a brave new world, and now the teacher must be trained to say the right words and terms by a “perky” Pearson trainer.

She tried! She really, really tried.

She traded jargon with the trainer, blow for blow.

But in the end, she couldn’t do it.

She knew the verbiage was empty nonsense, even if the trainer didn’t know it.

And she concluded:

Fifth graders fall in love with great books when teachers read them out loud with passion, and then talk about them with interest and knowledge. They learn to write when they are inspired to say something. Truth? They don’t need to be told what their reading level is: they need to be surrounded by books and they need to play around with them. Truth? They don’t need a rubric to learn how to craft a story where “the dialogue moves the story forward on the story arc” (Seriously? Whoever wrote this crap never read Vonnegut). They know that a story is good when their friends tell them, “This was great!”

Imagine that! No rubric! No text-to-text comparisons! Just reading for meaning and the joy of language and story. That will never do!

Another great column from Myra Blackmon in the Athens (Georgia) Banner-Herald, explains the education industry and its obsession with data.

She writes:

“Some folks believe that if you can’t quantify something, it isn’t worth bothering with. People in power are often so obsessed with the data, the numbers, and the profits they often lose sight of the people behind the information.

Such is the case with the massive educational “evaluation” being pushed by so-called reformers. Many of these high-level reformers — Bill Gates, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others — know little or nothing about teaching and learning in our public schools. Bill Gates’ children attended Lakeside Academy in Seattle, where tuition approaches $30,000 a year. One of Michael Bloomberg’s daughters was featured in a documentary “Born Rich” about growing up with tremendous wealth.”

PS: the editors should note that Bill Gates put $200 million into the Common Core standards, not $200,000 (which would be chicken feed for Gates).

Peter Greene, a high school English teacher in Pennsylvania, has concocted a press release by Pearson, issued soon after it purchased the U.S. Department of Education in 2015.

In this press release, Pearson announces the release of the Common Core 2.0.

Here is a sample:

“*We’re pretty sure that Kindergarten simply isn’t early enough to start the reading process, so we are proud to announce a program that starts this important educational experience as soon after conception as possible. Our problem with backwards scaffolding has been that we stopped too soon. How can we hope to compete internationally when our newborns have not yet been exposed to a dynamic and robust reading curriculum. Phonics for Fetuses closes that gap.

*DIBELS broke new ground with its program of having small children read gibberish. But why stop there. The new SHMIBELS program will require students to write gibberish. Students must produce ten pages of lettering without creating a single recognizable word (yet all completely pronounceable). The writing will be timed and matched against the Pearson master SHMIBELS list to see if students have produced the correct gibberish and not just any random gibberish. (Note: this program is expected to help target many future USDOE employees).”

It gets better as Greene goes on. These are my favorite changes to CCSS:

“*In response to continued complaints that focus on testing has squeezed out many valuable phys ed and arts programs, we are proud to introduce the Physical Arts program. For this program, offered during one day of the 9th grade year, students will draw a picture of a pony on a tuba and then throw the tuba as far as possible.

*By pushing subject matter further down the sequence, we expect to free up the entire 10th grade year for testing. Nothing but testing, every single day, all day. With that much testing, our students are certain to become the kinds of geniuses who can trounce our historic enemies, the South Koreans and the Estonians. We anticipate this becoming a rite of passage and popular cultural milestone as families look forward with joy and anticipation to the Year of the Tests. To those critics who claim that we have not offered support in the literature for this testing, we want to note that we have closely followed the writings of Suzanne Collins and Franz Kafka.”

An AP teacher sent me the following letter. I don’t know the answer. Can anyone answer her question? Maybe not, maybe we are all in the dark. It does not seem beyond belief that Pearson and the College Board are closely collaborating. Is there more afoot than collaboration? Shouldn’t they be competitors?

Here is the communication I received:

“Hi Diane,

Just wanted to bring this to your attention. As a member of the AP English listserv, er, college board-monitored discussion board, I received this message yesterday. When I logged in to follow the discussion thread, it had been removed. If true, it is important information that AP teachers have not yet been informed about. Several AP teachers, from AP Biology to AP Language, noted that their students reported “weird” questions on the exams, which are similar to the comments that have been made about the Pearson 3-8 exams in New York.

“I can’t find any proof written anywhere except that when I registered this year for the AP National Conference in Las Vegas, I called AP central about a question I had because Pearson was communicating with me about needing a code or something to complete my application and the young man on the phone said “Oh Pearson is handling AP now and GED so you’ll have to call this number. He said the website etc. would remain on College Board but that it was really “a separate entity” now. I am anxious to hear what they have to say at the National Conference. I fear we are going to see a major change in philosophy and more alignment with Common Core. It’s hard to pin them down. They are sneaky about things. Almost Everything our school does now is governed by Pearson. We are mostly government funded–Navajo school but it is a trickle down process. What happens with us will eventually worm its way into every school. We are the guinea pigs. They are updating our internet connections this summer so that we have more room for all these tests that will be taught online. 3rd graders will be taught to type on the computer all their work so they can do the tests, as well as everyone else. They are practicing because eventually the tests will become the determiner for passing the kid on. They say in 2 years but they keep moving it up.

“The above is from a recent conversation on a literary-minded thread on LinkedIn. Can anyone speak to this matter of Pearson and the CollegeBoard as bedfellows to the extent that things may be changing, and not for the better? Heck, I wonder if I am wrong for even posting this thread here…”

Jason Stanford, a Texas journalist, is appalled that President Obama and Arne Duncan met with Pearson to get advice about how to prepare low-income students for college. The White House refers to Pearson as “the world’s leading learning company,” instead of the world’s largest testing company.

What advice do you think Pearson offered? Stanford bets: more testing, better testing.

He notes that Texas has a contract with Pearson for nearly $500 million. Thanks to high-stakes testing, 76,000 students will not graduate. Testing did not make them smarter. Instead they have been effectively consigned to lifetime struggle and poverty.

The mind meld between Duncan and Pearson is alarming.

Even more alarming is Duncan’s contempt for America’s students, parents, and teachers.

Who owns American public education? Until a decade ago, we might have answered: the public. Or the states. Or the local school boards.

Now, the likely answer is: the U.S. Department of Education.

Or the Gates Foundation, which seems to own the U.S. Department of Education.

But there may be another answer (this is not a multiple-choice test, and there is more than one right answer): Pearson, the megalith corporation that produces curriculum, textbooks, tests, owns the company that accredits teachers (EdTPA), owns an online charter corporation (Connections Academy), and owns the GED.

Here is an interesting and very long discussion of Pearson’s plans for the future. It involves us all.

Rebecca Mead has written a brilliant blog post for “The New Yorker” explaining why parents plan to opt their children out of NewYork’s Common Core testing in 2014.

It Is as succinct an explanation as I have read, and it is vivid because the writer is a parent in a progressive public school that teaches students to think for themselves. The principal of the Brooklyn New School has spoken out against the cruel and unusual demands of the tests but she must comply, by law.

The parents, however, have a special interest: their children.

Mead begins:

“Anna Allanbrook, the principal of the Brooklyn New School, a public elementary school in Carroll Gardens, has long considered the period of standardized testing that arrives every spring to be a necessary, if unwelcome, phase of the school year. Teachers and kids would spend limited time preparing for the tests. Children would gain familiarity with “bubbling in,” a skill not stressed in the school’s progressive, project-based curriculum. They would become accustomed to sitting quietly and working alone—a practice quite distinct from the collaboration that is typically encouraged in the school’s classrooms, where learners of differing abilities and strengths work side by side. (My son is a third grader at the school.) Come the test days, kids and teachers would get through them, and then, once the tests were over, they would get on with the real work of education.

“Last spring’s state tests were an entirely different experience, for children and for teachers. Teachers invigilating the exams were shocked by ambiguous test questions, based, as they saw it, on false premises and wrongheaded educational principles. (One B.N.S. teacher, Katherine Sorel, eloquently details her objections on WNYC’s SchoolBook blog.) Others were dismayed to see that children were demoralized by the relentlessness of the testing process, which took seventy minutes a day for six days, with more time allowed for children with learning disabilities. One teacher remarked that, if a tester needs three days to tell if a child can read “you are either incompetent or cruel. I feel angry and compromised for going along with this.” Another teacher said that during each day of testing, at least one of her children was reduced to tears. A paraprofessional—a classroom aide who works with children with special needs—called the process “state-sanctioned child abuse.” One child with a learning disability, after the second hour of the third day, had had enough. “He only had two questions left, but he couldn’t keep going,” a teacher reported. “He banged his head on the desk so hard that everyone in the room jumped.”

Mead gets it. Read the whole article. Testing has spun out of control. It is consuming time and resources needed for teaching and learning.

This can’t continue. When little children are tested more than those who take the bar, you must know something is terribly wrong.

The school asks its fifth-grade students: “What are we willing to stand up for?”

The parents will answer this spring, not only at the Brooklyn New School, but in many schools and districts and states.

EduShyster, move over! Here comes someone writing in the same vein, though to be accurate, nobody tops EduShyster.

Here is Steve Nelson with a hilarious account of the events that are in store for corporate reform.

No one is spared!

It is a month-by-month account.

Here is his prediction for July:

“In an otherwise slow month for school-related news, Pearson Education announces the acquisition of the United States Department of Education. John Fallon, Pearson’s Chief Executive, appoints Arne Duncan as Chief Operating Officer for the new division. “Arne richly deserves this new appointment, as he has been working on our behalf for many years.” Doug Peterson, CEO of the McGraw-Hill Companies, asks the SEC to investigate, claiming, “I was pretty sure we had Duncan in our pocket. This is ridiculous.”


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