Thursday, February 12, 2015

The choice? Closer to the heart. | BustED Pencils

The choice? Closer to the heart. | BustED Pencils:



The choice? Closer to the heart.

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“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”
I remember listening to these lyrics for the first time when I was in middle school.  It was some time after that that I remember “hearing” the same lyrics.
For those of you that can place the lyrics with the song you know what I’m talking about.  If this is the first time you have ever seen these lyrics you need to know that the words come from a the song “Freewill” and were written and performed by the band Rush.  Here check it out.
Great song, I know.  But what about that simple line? What was Rush saying and why should educators care?  Because our system of education is under assault and I still find way too many educators that absolutely know what’s going on but “choose” to remain silent or focussed on the wrong things.
Think about it. Right here in Wisconsin our governor declared war on the idea of free inquiry and the search for truth.  He then went and also put forth a budget that cuts $300 million from the UW system.  When called on his blatant attack on the academic mission of higher education—specifically the Wisconsin Idea—his response was a simple dismissal and officially called it a “drafting error.”
According to Jonas Persson and Mary Botarri of the Center for Media and Democracy’s The choice? Closer to the heart. | BustED Pencils:

Teachers: Tell Me How You Feel About the Upcoming PARCC or SBAC - Education Under Attack

Education Under Attack | Attacks on public education system hurt America:





Teachers: Tell Me How You Feel About the Upcoming PARCC or SBAC





Dear Fellow Educator,

Since retiring I began a blog at educationunderattack.info because I am concerned about all the issues that are negatively affecting public education.  Recently I have been reading about the issue of parent (and as a result, legislator) concerns about the upcoming PARCC and SBAC assessments.  I think it's important to find out what teachers feel about these assessments so I designed an online survey just for teachers.  The survey is only 13 questions long and should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.  All responses are anonymous - there is no way to track a response back to the person who completed it.


I am asking your help in one of two ways:

1) If you are a classroom teacher, please take the survey and forward this message to your fellow teachers.

2) If you are not a classroom teacher but know some, please forward this to them and ask them to take it.  Before forwarding you can check out the survey by clicking the link below - just don't hit "Submit" at the end of the form.  It's just for current teachers.

Click below to take the survey:


If you are interested in the results, please check my blog in late March.

Thanks, 

Mike Warner

Report Faults Charter School Rules on Discipline of Students - NYTimes.com

Report Faults Charter School Rules on Discipline of Students - NYTimes.com:



Report Faults Charter School Rules on Discipline of Students



Most of New York City’s charter schools have disciplinary codes that do not meet either state or federal requirements, according to a report by a children’s advocacy organization that is to be released on Thursday.
The finding adds a new dimension to a long-running debate about the role of strict forms of discipline in the city’s public schools.
“These are public schools, and we should be expecting them to meet the requirements of the law,” said Paulina Davis, a staff attorney with the group, Advocates for Children, and the principal author of the report.
Publicly financed but privately run, charter schools often hover between the autonomy of independent schools and the accountability demanded of district public schools. With the Advocates for Children report, the question of whether they should be treated like private or public schools bubbles up again. Some in the charter community argue that a section of state education law related to discipline — one of the provisions this report says is being violated — should not apply to charter schools at all.
In preparing the report, the group surveyed the disciplinary policies of 155 charter organizations — large networks as well as smaller, independent schools — out of 183 such organizations that operated in New York City during the 2013-14 school year. (The 155 organizations had 164 disciplinary policies between them because some set different standards for different grade levels, Advocates for Children said.)
Some charter schools have drawn criticism for having high suspension rates and a strict approach to discipline that pushes children out of the classroom unnecessarily. But many charter advocates have said it is crucial to maintain order so children can learn.
The Advocates for Children report cites complaints from parents who said their children had been suspended from charter schools over minor offenses such as wearing the wrong shoes or laughing while serving detention. Ultimately, though, the group said the main issue was legal.
Half of the policies examined by Advocates for Children let charter schools suspend or expel students for being late or cutting class — punishments the group said violated state law. At three dozen schools, there were no special rules covering the suspension or expulsion of children with disabilities, which the group said violated federal law. And in 25 instances, charter schools could suspend students for long periods without a hearing, which the group said violated the United States and New York State Constitutions, as well as state law.
James D. Merriman, chief executive of the New York City Charter School Center, an advocacy group for charter schools, questioned how frequently the incidents cited by Advocates for Children occur.
“No one can disagree that those policies that do not fully meet applicable law should be amended,” he said in an email. “But it is tremendously unfair to suggest, as A.F.C. does, that a handful of one-sided anecdotes compiled over a long time are any evidence that charter schools are wholesale violating civil rights laws.”
Ms. Davis of Advocates for Children acknowledged that the organization did not have figures for such violations, but said schools were expected to follow their policies.
In addition to comparing charter school disciplinary policies to state and federal laws, the report also matched them against the city Education Department’s disciplinary code, which governs other public schools.
While the department’s rules were generally described as more appropriateReport Faults Charter School Rules on Discipline of Students - NYTimes.com:

Why School Privatization is an Irresistible Urban Development Strategy for Economic Elites - BK Nation

Why School Privatization is an Irresistible Urban Development Strategy for Economic Elites - BK Nation:



Why School Privatization is an Irresistible Urban Development Strategy for Economic Elites



By Mark Naison
In almost every urban center in the nation, a cross section of the business community seeks to dismantle urban public schools and to replace them with charter schools supported by a campaign of demonization aimed at teachers and at their unions.
The list of benefits that elites expect to realize from privatizing urban public school systems includes the following:
1. Tax credits
Federal tax codes allow a 39% tax credit for investing in a new charter school, allowing investors to recoup their initial investment in seven years and begin registering profits.
2. Real-estate speculation
Closing public schools destabilizes lower- and working-class neighborhoods and forces residents into suburbs or the outskirts of cities, allowing real-estate investors to buy up existing properties at bargain rates and to build market-level units that attract a far wealthier clientele. You can see this kind of investment in New York, Chicago and Washington neighborhoods.
3. State contracts
Consulting firms receive lucrative contracts to “turn around” failing schools and districts, or to provide professional development services to newly created charters. Major universities offer programs in “Educational Entrepreneurship” budding profiteers.
4. For-profit charter schools/on-line schools
This Florida phenomenon will take root in many other states.
5. Diminished bargaining power for private-sector employees
Destroying a key union in the public sector weakens the labor movement as a bargaining agent and as a political force.
With so much at stake for the economic elites, it becomes quite clear why they attack urban public schools with such ferocity. Only through broad-based and militant resistance can this effort be thwarted.Why School Privatization is an Irresistible Urban Development Strategy for Economic Elites - BK Nation:

Statement by Burke, Evers, Rebarber, Stotsky, and Wurman on ESEA | Jay P. Greene's Blog

Statement by Burke, Evers, Rebarber, Stotsky, and Wurman on ESEA | Jay P. Greene's Blog:



Statement by Burke, Evers, Rebarber, Stotsky, and Wurman on ESEA




Big Education Ape: Student Success Act: Corporate Education Reform on Steroids | Education & the Workforce Committee http://bit.ly/1uFiMzf

The following is a statement by Lindsey M. Burke, Williamson Evers, Theodor Rebarber, Sandra Stotsky, and Ze’ev Wurman that they asked me to post.  I have not yet had a chance to think carefully about ESEA re-authorization, but I think their views are worth consideration:

Reauthorizing ESEA: The road to effective education is paved with local control and parent power

Lindsey M. Burke, Williamson Evers, Theodor Rebarber, Sandra Stotsky, and Ze’ev Wurman

In reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 2015, Congress should restore the power of state and local governmental authorities. The law as it currently reads has centralized education and moved decision-making to a large and ever-growing federal bureaucracy — far from the schools most students attend.

The current drafts, both the Senate and the House versions, do not return authority to the states and localities or empower parents.  The ESEA has evolved from what was described at the outset in 1965 as a measure to help children from low-income families into an instrument of testing mandates and federal control of public K-12 education and, increasingly, of private education as well. The road to effective education is paved with local control and parent power.

We need to reauthorize ESEA in a way that empowers parents and moves authority back to local communities and the state laboratories of democracy where it belongs. Moreover, the reauthorization should abandon the ill-considered idea planted in the Obama administration’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Flexibility Waivers that our high schools are simply college-prep factories. Instead, the reauthorization should return to the previous widely accepted idea that high schools should prepare young people for American citizenship and to fulfill their individual potential as they see fit. Toward that end, high schools should be permitted to establish several sets of challenging academic standards rather than a single set of standards that purport to deliver self-proclaimed (but actually meaningless) “college-readiness.” Similarly, instead of federal regulations that require that the testing “tail” wag the curriculum “dog,” communities and charter schools must be able to select reliable assessments that align with their locally established curriculum.

Recent attempts to provide better educational opportunities to low-income children through one-size-fits-all requirements and increased federal testing mandates in the various versions of ESEA since its inception have met with little success.  As education researcher Helen Ladd concluded in her comments on a 2010 Brookings Institution paper by Thomas Dee and Brian Jacob:

“… First, the null findings for reading indicate to me that to the extent that higher reading scores are an important goal for the country, NCLB is clearly not the right approach. That raises the obvious follow-up question: what is?…

“[T]he suggestive evidence that I have included here on Massachusetts [indicates] that states may be in a better position to promote student achievement than the federal government.”

The 2015 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act should restore power to states and localities by allowing states, school districts, and charter schools to opt out fully and completely from the programs and regulations of ESEA, currently reauthorized as No Child Left Behind. When they opt out, states, local school districts, and charter schools would formally and publicly explain the accountability measures that they would use to assure that federal dollars improve the K-12 education of disadvantaged children. They would also provide the rationale that supports these measures.

States and local authorities would thereby be in a position to direct federal dollars to their students’ most pressing education needs. By this we mean that the 2015 reauthorization should follow the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS) approach, which has been offered in previous years.

In addition, the 2015 reauthorization should:

  1. Eliminate mandates, including, but not limited to: Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), federal prescription of annual grade-level testing for each student, the Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) mandate, and maintenance of effort (MOE) regulations. The reauthorized act should not require a single statewide set of standards or assessments in each state, nor approval or review of any state or local district or charter school standards or assessments by the U.S. Department of Education. It should instead allow states, local school districts and charters the choice of what grades and subjects to test, and the number of tests, letting them choose from among a wide range of state-approved standards and aligned valid and reliable tests. Those states that believe annual grade-level testing in specified subjects of each student Statement by Burke, Evers, Rebarber, Stotsky, and Wurman on ESEA | Jay P. Greene's Blog:

Rescinding My Invite to Governor Andrew Cuomo | The Jose Vilson

Rescinding My Invite to Governor Andrew Cuomo | The Jose Vilson:










Rescinding My Invite to Governor Andrew Cuomo

 JOSE VILSON JOSE LEAVE A COMMENT
First off, Governor Andrew Cuomo is never getting an invitation to my classroom nor would I want him anywhere near my students.
The most likely scenario is that he stops in for 10 minutes, listens to me do some math, stares at me coldly with the kids whispering “Who is this guy?” to each other, smirking with an “I told you that I’d drop by” look. Then, he’d ask me for time and I’d shake my head and his people would look at me like, “Come on …” and I’d begrudge it and say, “Make it quick,” and then he’d make a bold proclamation about the good work we (!) are doing to improve my students’ test scores and I’d snicker loud and roll my eyes and then he’d strut out of my classroom the way some guy in the suit who drops an explosive dump in the bathroom does. I’d gag shortly thereafter, wash my hands, and hope I never remember that day happening to me.
I’m not backing that.
Cuomo doesn’t seem at all swayed by the faces and names of students, educators, and parents doing hard work in arduous conditions, but will sweep whole commissions under a rug for friends with nice ties and good ties to him. He already invades our homes with his faux-ratory every morning, pretending that his solution for public schools will serve “every child” even though his calls for equity never include any tax restructuring methods or fulfilling school funding mandates. To wit, another commercial that plays alongside his education speech excerpt features his StartUpNYC program that offers an ingratiating incentive for companies to come to the state that include no business, corporate, sales, property, state, or local taxes for ten full years.
How he purposefully neglects funding in favor of his corporate friends doesn’t stun me in the least. How his finger can contort so the index faces teachers befuddles me to no end.
He’s become so predictable, too. How is it possible that he might want to walk into my classroom, listen to the discussions, take in some of the non-Common Core aligned banter, watch students produce math work, and think exactly half my job is to prepare students for a six-hour exam? If ramping up the testing accountability measure to 50% is a means of doubling the percentage of ineffective teachers (after his own bill didn’t fire enough teachers to his liking), where, pray tell, will he find educators that would want to fill the 10% – 20% of staff he’d like to fire? (Also, how does he make a political party for women without holding into account that most teachers, by a grand majority, are women?) How does testing my students more legitimize the students’ learning when you’re reducing our jobs to test preppers? How does he think driving public funds for private entities is the same as equity, as if the floundering donations of a select few combined with paltry public education funds is equivalent to a robust and reliable funding source that gives all schools equitable resources? If you’re not about improving working conditions for every child, then how do you think your corporatist ideas for school reform will make equity possible?
I doubt it.
So please, don’t visit my classroom. My door has now been open, sometimes reluctantly, to adults of many backgrounds, some well-intentioned and some not-so-well-intentioned. In the time I’ve spent harboring these visitors peering through me and my students like my classroom was a fish tank, I’ve learned that the most powerful visitors rarely came to support our efforts. Save for one or two superintendents, they came to find fault with nary a step for improvement. It might astonish Cuomo to know that teachers crave timely, informed, and powerful critique Rescinding My Invite to Governor Andrew Cuomo | The Jose Vilson:

Title I Formula Changes Included in House Republican NCLB Rewrite - Politics K-12 - Education Week

Title I Formula Changes Included in House Republican NCLB Rewrite - Politics K-12 - Education Week:



Title I Formula Changes Included in House Republican NCLB Rewrite

Lawmakers who have been trying for years to change the way Title I dollars for low-income students are disbursed to school districts scored a big win with House Republicans Wednesday morning.
When GOP members on the education committee unveiled the No Child Left Behind Act overhaul that they plan to clear later in the afternoon, it included several technical changes to the measure they originally introduced. Notably, it increased the weight given to the percentage of low-income students in a school district, which is part of how Title I aid is distributed.
The Title I formula is complicated, but generally speaking, the money is given to districts based on their size and concentration of poverty, among other factors. For years now, critics of the formula have argued that it's unfair because the formula weighs more heavily the size of a school district over the percent of students in poverty in a school district.
That means that, generally speaking, larger districts and big urban areas often come out ahead of poor, rural districts and small cities. Indeed, Fairfax County, Va., (one of the richest counties in the nation) gets a disproportionate share of Title I dollars compared with some rural districts with higher concentrations of poverty.
The change in the formula amounts to one one-hundredth of a percent, but it is still considered a big win for advocates like Rep. Glenn Thomspon, R-Penn., who's been pushing Congress on this issue since at least 2011.
During opening remarks at a markup on the NCLB overhaul, Thompson thanked Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the committee chairman, for beginning to address the issue of the Title I formula, but said Title I Formula Changes Included in House Republican NCLB Rewrite - Politics K-12 - Education Week:
Big Education Ape: Twitter Call to Action! Tweet your trouble with NCLB rewrite! The Network For Public Education | http://bit.ly/1AjngfH

Diane Ravitch takes aim at Ritz detractors on Indiana show | Chalkbeat

Diane Ravitch takes aim at Ritz detractors on Indiana show | Chalkbeat:



Diane Ravitch takes aim at Ritz detractors on Indiana show 



Education historian Diane Ravitch and Friedman Foundation CEO Robert Enlow debated at Butler University last March.


 A national critic of testing and accountability-based school reform took aim at opponents of state Superintendent Glenda Ritz on a lndiana-based Internet radio talk show tonight.

“It seems as if the governor and legislature are just determined to crush her,” said Diane Ravitch, the education historian and one-time school reform advocate who has become perhaps the nation’s most recognized spokeswoman against testing, school choice, test-based teacher evaluation and other proposals she says harm public schools.
Ravitch served as assistant U.S. Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush and was on the board of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a national pro-school choice advocacy group, but then had a change of heart and wrote two books deeply critical of her prior allies.
She appeared on the Just Let Me Teach Internet radio show on IndianaTalks.comdiscussing Indiana politics for an hour with host Justin Oakley, a former teacher who stepped aside to make way for Ritz after seeking the Democratic nomination to run against then-state Superintendent Tony Bennett in 2012.
Ravitch has frequently backed Ritz and criticized Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. She called bills that aim to remove the guarantee in state law that Ritz serve as chairwoman of the Indiana State Board of Education “pathetic” and “vindictive.”
“They’re trying to take away even her title,” she said. “This is because they are afraid of her because she is a vote getter.”
Robert Enlow, president of the Friedman Foundation, said in an interview after the program Ravitch and Ritz both “pander to the lowest common denominator.” Ravitch singled out Friedman and Enlow for criticism during the interview, saying Diane Ravitch takes aim at Ritz detractors on Indiana show | Chalkbeat:

Lehigh lecturer says reformers out to destroy public education - The Morning Call

Lehigh lecturer says reformers out to destroy public education - The Morning Call:



Lehigh lecturer says reformers out to destroy public education

'Merit pay [for teachers] is a zombie idea,' says former U.S. assistant secretary of education

Lehigh University billed Tuesday night's lecture as "School Reform: Finding Common Ground," but the speaker made sure from the get-go where she stood, saying some so-called reformers really want to destroy public education.

Diane Ravitch, an author and the nemesis of pro-school voucher/pro-charter reformers, told the crowd of about 700 at Zoellner Arts Center that she finds little common ground with them.

"If someone wants to tear your house down, can you reach a compromise and tear down half of it?" said Ravitch, an assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush.

Lehigh originally sought to have a debate between Ravitch and Michelle Rhee, the former schools chancellor for Washington, D.C., but negotiations to get them on the same stage broke down, according to Gary M. Sasso, dean of the College of Education.

"Diane's opinion was that Michelle was a scaredy cat," he said to laughter from the largely pro-Ravitch crowd who gathered for the latest in the university's 2015 Distinguished Lecture Series.

Sasso said Lehigh plans to bring in a lecturer with opposing views at a later date.


So, Ravitch debated an imaginary education reformer for the first part of the forum. She scoffed at fears that America's public schools are failing.

She said that scores for National Assessment of Educational Progress tests — which she called the "gold standard of testing" — are the highest ever, and high school graduation rates are also at a historic high.

For the schools that are doing poorly, Ravitch blamed poverty and segregation.

"Did you know that the U.S. has the highest rate of child poverty of any advanced nation in the world?" she said.

Ravitch criticized the Common Core education standards, which she said are designed to fail a high percentage of students. High-stakes standardized testing has led to school districts narrowing the curriculum, she claimed.

The United States is not an economic powerhouse because of high standardized test scores, and countries that out-perform American students on standardized tests are not Lehigh lecturer says reformers out to destroy public education - The Morning Call:

Pearson 'Education' -- Who Are These People? | Alan Singer

Pearson 'Education' -- Who Are These People? | Alan Singer:



Pearson 'Education' -- Who Are These People?



According to a recent article on Reuters, an international news service based in Great Britain, "investors of all stripes are beginning to sense big profit potential in public education. The K-12 market is tantalizingly huge: The U.S. spends more than $500 billion a year to educate kids from ages five through 18. The entire education sector, including college and mid-career training, represents nearly 9 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, more than the energy or technology sectors."
Pearson, a British multi-national conglomerate, is one of the largest private businesses maneuvering for U.S. education dollars. The company had net earnings of 956 million pounds or approximately 1.5 billion dollars in 2011.
Starting in May 2014, Pearson Education will take over teacher certification in New York State as a way of fulfilling the state's promised "reforms" in its application for federal Race to the Top money. The evaluation system known as the Teacher Performance assessment or TPA was developed at Stanford University with support from Pearson, but it will be solely administered and prospective teachers will be entirely evaluated by Pearson and its agents. Pearson is adverting for current or retired licensed teachers or administrators willing to evaluate applicants for teacher certification. It is prepared to pay $75 per assessment.
The Pearson footprint appears to be everywhere and taints academic research as well as government policy. For example, the Education Development Center (EDC), based in Waltham, Massachusetts, is a "global nonprofit organization that designs, delivers and evaluates innovative programs to address some of the world's most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic opportunity." EDC works with "public-sector and private partners" to "harness the power of people and systems to improve education, health promotion and care, workforce preparation, communications technologies, and civic engagement." In education, it is involved in curriculum and materials development, research and evaluation, publication and distribution, online learning, professional development, and public policy development. According to its website, its funders include Cisco Systems, IBM, Intel, the Gates Foundation, and of course, Pearson Education, all companies or groups that stand to benefit from its policy recommendations.
EDC sponsored a study on the effectiveness of new teacher evaluation systems, "An examination of performance-based teacher evaluation systems in five states," that Pearson is promoting but there are two VERY BIG FLAWS in the study. First, of the five states included in the study, Delaware, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Texas, four, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Texas, are notorious anti-union states where teachers have virtually no job security or union protection, and Delaware used the imposition of new teacher assessments to make it more difficult for teachers to acquire tenure. In Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia collective bargaining by teachers is illegal. Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina used the new assessments to make it easier to fire teachers and Georgia used the assessments to determine teacher pay. The second flaw is that the study draws no connection between the evaluation system and improved student learning.
According to the Financial Times of London, a Pearson owned property, in what I consider a conflict-of-interests, Susan Fuhrman, the President of Teachers College at Columbia University has been a "Non-Executive Independent Director of Pearson PLC" since 2004 and a major stockholder in the company with over 13,000 shares worth according to my estimate over two hundred thousand dollars. Fuhrman also is "president of the National Academy of Education, and was previously dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and on the board of trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching."
In official Pearson PLC reports available online, Susan Fuhrman, President of Teachers College-Columbia University is listed as a non-executive director of Pearson. As of February 29, 2012, she held 12,927 shares of Pearson stock valued at $240,000. As a non-executive director she also receives an annual fee of 65,000 or almost $100,000. Fuhrman has been a non-executive director since 2004 and has received fees and stock I estimate worth more than a million dollars, certainly a substantial sum, but not the $20 million I initially reported.
There has been some resistance to Pearson's influence over American education.
In May 2012, students and teachers in the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus School of Education launched a national campaign challenging the forced implementation of Teacher Performance Assessment. They argued that the field supervisors and cooperating teachers who guided their teaching practice and observed and evaluated them for six months in middle and high school classrooms were better equipped to judge their teaching skills and potential than people who had never seen nor spoken with them. They have refused to participate in a pilot program organized by Pearson and to submit the two 10-minute videos of themselves teaching and a take-home test. They are supported by United Opt Out National, a website that organized a campaign and petition drive to boycott Pearson evaluations of students, student teachers, and teachers. In June 2012, New York parents protested against Pearson designed reading tests that included stand reading passages and meaningless choices.
The question that must addressed is whether the British publishing giant Pearson and its Pearson Education subsidy should determine who is qualified to teach and what should be taught in New York State and the United States? I don't think so! Not only did no one elect them, but when people learn who they are, they might not want them anywhere near a school -- or a government official.
From what I can make out from its website, the three key players at Pearson andPearson Education are Glen Moreno, chairman of the Pearson Board of Directors, Dame Marjorie Morris Scardino, overall chief executive for Pearson, and William Ethridge, chief executive for North American Education. Although the largest stockholders are a British investment firm called Legal & General Group PLC which controls 32 million shares or 4% of the company and the Libyan Investment Authority with 24 million shares or 3% of the company. According to the Financial Times of London, the Libyan Investment Authority was founded by Libyan dictator Muammer Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam, his heir apparent until the regime's collapse, in January 2007.
Glen Moreno is wealthy, powerful, influential, and I believe highly suspect. According to Wikipedia, Moreno was born in California in 1943 and has a law degree from Harvard University. He worked for 18 years at Citigroup in Europe and Asia, running the investment banking and trading divisions. Moreno was a director of the politically influential Fidelity International Ltd. According to U.K. Electoral Commissionrecords, "since 1994, Fidelity Investment Management, part of Fidelity International, has donated £495,500 to the party. Mr Moreno is a former chief executive of Fidelity's international arm." He became chairman of Pearson, the publisher of the British newspaper Financial Times in October 2005.
Moreno was chairman of UK Financial Investments, the group set up by the British government to protect public funds used to bail-out banks after the 2008 global economic collapse. He was forced to resign in 2009 when it was revealed that he was a trustee of Liechtenstein Global Trust (LGT), a private bank accused of aiding tax evasion.
Moreno was also deputy chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, Great Britain's largest Pearson 'Education' -- Who Are These People? | Alan Singer:

Bad Apples: One Company's Stranglehold on the American Education System | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Bad Apples: One Company's Stranglehold on the American Education System | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community:



Bad Apples: One Company's Stranglehold on the American Education System

'The story of Pearson’s rise is very much a story about America’s obsession with education reform over the past few decades.'
"Pearson has aggressive lobbyists, top-notch marketing and a highly skilled sales team," Politico reports. (Photo: Christoffer Glosli/flickr/cc)

Pearson Education, the British-owned, for-profit education publishing and high-stakes testing service, rakes in tens of millions in profits at all levels of the American education system—"even when its results don't measure up," a Politico investigation has revealed.
The exposé published Tuesday illustrates some of the many problems with outsourcing aspects of public education to private corporations.
And, Robert Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, told Common Dreams, it provides further evidence that the for-profit testing model benefits corporations and not students.
"Testing is about politics and business—not education," he said, pointing out that the reporting merely adds to a "litany of errors" already documented against the company.
"The story of Pearson’s rise is very much a story about America’s obsession with education reform over the past few decades," writes journalist Stephanie Simon, who scoured hundreds of pages of contracts, business plans and email exchanges, as well as tax filings, lobbying reports, and marketing materials, to offer the first comprehensive look at Pearson's business practices in the United States.
The Pearson empire is wide-ranging, as Politico describes it.
The education behemoth writes textbooks, workbooks, and standardized tests "that drive instruction in public schools across the nation," says Simon. It has developed myriad educational technology products, including software that grades student essays, tracks student behavior, and diagnoses—and allegedly "treats"—attention deficit disorder. At the other end of the pipeline, the company administers teacher licensing exams and coaches teachers once they're in the classroom.
Beyond that, Pearson operates a network of three dozen online public schools and co-owns the for-profit company that now administers the GED. In addition, it sells interactive tutorials for college courses on subjects from algebra to philosophy and builds online degree programs for higher education clients including George Washington University, Arizona State University, and Texas A&M.
At ASU, for instance, Pearson is in charge of marketing and supporting online degree programs in exchange for more than half of student tuition revenue.
Plus, Simon adds, "[a] top executive boasted in 2012 that Pearson is the largest custodian of student data anywhere" thanks to its data-tracking programs.
In other words, she writes: "Pearson wields enormous influence over American education."
Michael Apple, a professor of education policy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Politico: "Pearson has been the most creative and the most aggressive at [taking over] all those things we used to take as part of the public sector's responsibility."
Abby Rapaport wrote for the Texas Observer in 2011, "Pearson is part of a larger education-reform effort that seeks to improve public education through free-market principles. Often that means non-traditional educational approaches like charter schools and online learning. The movement includes a lot of earnest folks, eager to improve public schools and do what’s best for kids. But their efforts have earned a fortune for companies like Pearson."
Indeed, Simon's reporting "found that public contracts and public subsidies—including at least $98.5 million in tax credits from six states—have flowed to Pearson even when the company can’t show its products and services are producing academic gains."
In California, for example:
Pearson sold the Los Angeles Unified School District an online curriculum that it described as revolutionary—but that had not yet been completed, much less tested across a large district, before the LAUSD agreed to spend an estimated $135 million on it. Teachers dislike the Pearson lessons and rarely use them, an independent evaluation found.
Similar debacles, all with slightly different price tags and details—unmet testing targets here, technology glitches there—have played out around the country.
And many of the multi-million dollar failures come as the result of no-bid contracts. According to Simon, the company has numerous competitors for nearly all the products it Bad Apples: One Company's Stranglehold on the American Education System | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community:

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