Latest News and Comment from Education

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Video: Jeopardy Names a Category “Common Core Math” | deutsch29

Video: Jeopardy Names a Category “Common Core Math” | deutsch29:

 Video: Jeopardy Names a Category “Common Core Math”

December 16, 2014

In its kids version, the game show Jeopardy makes fun of Common Core math via its category name of mental math problems as captured in this one-minute video clip:

Too straightforward for the nonsense that is now widely recognized as “Common Core math.” Now, if the answer involved Alex Trebecq moving sticky notes and engaging in philosophical discussions of The Meaning of Math–and if the prepackaged math materials were riddled with errors– that would be “Common Core math.” Video: Jeopardy Names a Category “Common Core Math” | deutsch29:

Geaux Teacher!: Open Letter to Louisiana Legislature Joint Education Committee Members

Geaux Teacher!: Open Letter to Louisiana Legislature Joint Education Committee Members:

Open Letter to Louisiana Legislature Joint Education Committee Members

Ladies and Gentlemen:
The controversy is raging as to the procurement of our Common Assessment.  John White submits that the test will be the PARCC test although there is no contract with Pearson who has been awarded the PARCC contract signed by Sec. Hannah Skandera of the New Mexico Department of Education on behalf of all PARCC states.  States must individually enter into this  contract with Pearson to acquire their own test.
Supt. White has created an untenable situation by misrepresenting our state assessment as the PARCC test.  Teachers and students are preparing for the PARCC test using materials provided by PARCC online and the Department of Education.   Our state participated in the PARCC field test last spring (which was free).  Under the circumstances, there is no way that Louisiana can administer a faux PARCC test and consider the results to be reliable or valid.  
I am providing you with some information regarding the special interests and conflicts that Supt. White and others appear to have regarding the procurement of this test through Pearson, Inc.  First I offer the latest information regarding the latest legal problems facing Pearson that should factor into any decision to do business with that corporation and should prompt you to question the propriety and legality of Louisiana's proposed procurement of the PARCC test through another provider, Data Recognition Corporation.  Please open the links provided for supporting evidence. 


Bad news for Pearson Education may be good news for the rest of us. The testing and publishing mega-giant is on the run, but it looks like it will not be able to hide. Pearson Education is closing its foundation; it is under investigation by the FBI for possible insider dealings in the Los Angeles iPad fiasco; the company is being sued by former employees for wrongful termination; and its PARCC exams are losing customers.

(A) Pearson's Foundation Closing

 Pearson has tried to give it a positive spin, but the reality is that Pearson the for-profit company is closing down its partner not-for-profit Pearson Foundation after having trouble with the law in both New York and California. In 2013, the Pearson Charitable Foundation paid $7.7 million in fines in New York State to reach an out-of-court settlement after the Office of the State Attorney General found the Foundation had broken state laws by generating business for the for-profit company.

According to the settlement agreement, "The Foundation's staff has consisted of Pearson employees; the Foundation's board was comprised entirely of Pearson executives until 2012; select Foundation programs have been conducted with the advice and participation of senior Pearson executives; and the Foundation continues to rely heavily upon Pearson Inc. for administrative support." While the Pearson Foundation neither admitted to nor denied the charges, it agreed to pay the fines.

In September 2014, Annie Gilbertson, education reporter for 88.3 KPCC, Southern California Public Radio, uncovered emails that appear to show complicity between officials in LAUSD, Pearson, the Pearson Foundation, representatives of Apple, and America Choice, a Pearson affiliate, to influence a LAUSD contract decision and circumvent the bidding process.

This was followed on November 18, 2014 by an announcement by the Pearson Charitable Foundation's Board of Directors of their "intent to cease Foundation operations and close the Pearson Foundation at the end of the year." They claimed that Pearson Education no longer needed "the Foundation as the primary vehicle for its philanthropic and community activities."

In an internal memo to Foundation employees that was passed along to me, Pearson promised to place many of them with other groups working on its projects and denied it was closing the Foundation "because it was unable to comply with the New York Attorney General settlement." It claimed that, "Over the last two years, Pearson has undertaken a review of all its business activities and investments, including its corporate responsibility activity. We feel strongly that there is significant potential to scale Pearson's social impact efforts by leveraging the full resources of our global operations, networks, and expertise." Maybe it is true; I just do not believe them, especially given the FBI investigation in Los Angeles.

(B) FBI Raid in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had seized twenty boxes of records about the LAUSD's $1.3 billion plan to provide iPads to every student and a federal grand jury is examining the matter. A Geaux Teacher!: Open Letter to Louisiana Legislature Joint Education Committee Members: