"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pearson's Anti-Social Use of Social Media

District of ColumbiaDistrict of ColumbiaUnited States of America (Free-Press-Release.com) June 9, 2012 -- Educators, parents, and education activists from around the country cried foul as Pearson, the largest private provider of education-related products and services, blocked educators from voicing their opinion on Pearson’s new website, Parents, Kids, and Testing. The site was part of a campaign created by Pearson to offset its growing wave of negative publicity. It featured links to articles that praised the new focus on testing-centered -curriculum and evaluation, and invited public comment. 
However, educators quickly complained that comments that failed to fully endorse Pearson were immediately removed from the site, with many posters being barred completely.

Within hours, social media sites buzzed with the battle that was taking place. One website stated, “Pearson advertises itself as the ‘world’s leading learning company’. However, this week the publishing giant became known by far less flattering names: censor, bully, propagandist, child laborer, enemy of education, and corporate profiteer.” Educators from other groups labeled the site and the linked articles as tools of propaganda, designed to fool parents and silence objectors.
Pearson had recently been under-fire for its high stakes tests, test prep materials, and other ed -reform activities and was the subject of a national boycott lead by United Opt Out. 

Peggy Robertson, President of United Opt Out National, explains, “Over the past few years, Pearson has used its political and financial influence to push through legislation that has specifically benefited Pearson. Because of this, schools were forced to adopt curriculum that Pearson helped to develop, purchase text books published by Pearson, and use test and test-prep materials designed and sold by Pearson. We find this to be a gross conflict of interest that would not be tolerated in any other industry.”
According to the 2011 Pearson annual report, last year the corporation had sales of £5.9 billion with profits rising a record 12 % and the market share price reached a new ten-year high. Meanwhile, schools were forced to slash budgets, lay off teachers, close facilities, and cut programs.

“Not only is this a waste of critical resources,“ states Robertson, “it is also harmful. Student advancement, teacher continuation, and even the existence of schools are being based on the results of tests that are neither valid nor appropriate for this use. The questions on the test do not provide a true picture of student learning or teacher proficiency. But they do produce numbers, and the public likes easy to understand numbers, even if they are meaningless.
“Pearson’s actions are, unfortunately, part of a larger education reform agenda which erases analytical learning and replaces it with rote memorization,” stated Robertson. “Test-based rating systems such as these undermine student learning, teaching excellence, and support for a quality public educational system. This week, the American public clearly showed that they oppose Pearson’s tactics and these so-called reforms. And they also made it clear that their voice, and their opposition, will be heard.” 

1 comment:

  1. Not to be picky, but it's a Facebook page, not a website. :)