On Tuesday, I posted a blog at Bridging Differences (Education Week) called “The Pearsonizing of the American Mind.”
The title was a reference to Allan Bloom’s bestselling book of the 1980s, The Closing of the American Mind. His book referred to the insidious ways that popular culture interferes with the goals of liberal education. My article described the ways in which one giant corporation was taking control of the education “industry,” through testing, online instruction, ownership of the GED program, online charter schools, and proprietary control of instructional materials for the Common Core. Truly, the reach of Pearson across all of American education is astonishing.
As often happens, I got many wonderful comments. This one came from a regular reader who (from the moniker) is a chemistry teacher:
Yes, our focus has to be on the “locus of control”. Pearson and Gates goal in testing isn’t to improve education outcomes; it’s to increase market control. For corporate reformers, holding districts, schools, teachers and children (yes, children!) “accountable” means having the legal power to take control of them, and run them for their own purposes. Yes, we’ve politically given actual legal authority over our children’s minds to the same monopolists who crashed our finance system. The price isn’t just the damage of the testing, though. Now that they own our public schools, the corporatists have removed many unprofitable costs. Brick and mortar buildings, breathing teachers, playgrounds and libraries, are now all hopelessly out of the reach of many children. With the advent of the common core and the “revolution” of online delivery of proprietary learning materials, our children can sit home in front of a screen, not even moving around the room, and be assessed by computer programs aligned to the one true Core. We’ll have Pearsonized their minds, their lives, and their bodies. Here is one true example of the cost we contemplate: “She’s pretty typical. She is a very sedentary child, has been for a long time, really has no experience with activity, no way to think about being active. She’s relatively socially isolated, doesn’t really have very many social opportunities. She’s homeschooled. She has a number of medical problems, in addition to her diabetes.” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/jan-june12/diabetes_06-06.html
We must worry about what we are doing to our children, our society and our future as we drift along into a world we did not make and do not want.