Monday, September 2, 2013

So that's why Teacher College welcomes testing; other Pearson secrets, from Huffington Post

Alan Singer wrote in "The Huffington Post" September 4, 2012 "Pearson 'Education' -- Who Are These People?" that Pearson PLC the publishing magnate that has secured breath-taking influence over testing and curricular materials in New York State and beyond, has close connections with Teachers College Columbia University.
Recall that Thompson for Mayor campaign chairwoman Merryl Tisch was honored with being asked to speak at Teacher College's 2013 invocation, which occasioned Diane Ravitch's may 6, 2013 blogpost, "Teachers College to Honor Doyenne of High-Stakes Testing." TC's press release feting Dr. Tisch follows below this post.

"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," wrote college professor Alan Singer in Huffington Post.

Pearson, powerful in the education field, American publishing, the Financial Times and the British Economist magazine.
To boot, from Wikipedia: the British corporation, "Pearson holds 47% in Penguin Random House, the world's largest consumer book publisher, and 50% stake in the Economist Group, the publishing group which specialises in international business. Pearson has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange."
Singer goes on to name the most powerful names behind the mysterious mighty Pearson:
Glen Moreno (Chairman of Pearson)
Dame Marjorie Morris Scardino (born in Arizona a mere American commoner, before moving to Britain and somehow getting the title of "Dame") -who saved Pearson at the turn of the century from being a "basket case"
She was replaced as Pearson CEO a month after Singer's Huffington Post piece.
2002 PBS Frontline story on the big four in testing back in the industry's relative 2002 infancy: The Testing Industry's Big Four: Profiles of the four companies that dominate the business of making and scoring standardized achievement tests.
(The Big Four of American Education Testing: Harcourt Educational Publishing (Market share: 40 percent of test-design market), CTB McGraw-Hill (Market share: 40 percent of test-design market), Riverside Publishing (Market share: 20 percent of test-design market), NCS Pearson (Market position: Leading scorer of standardized tests))

The Libyan Dictatorship Partially Owns the Company Scoring Your Kids' Standardized Tests (corroborated in Singer's article)

Interesting aside from Dan DiMaggio of Truth-Out: ("Anecdote: The testing industry has grown so fast and been so desperate for workers that they even re-hired my friend Todd Farley after he published a must-read book, Making the Grades: My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry, in which he denounces the entire industry based on his fourteen years scoring and designing tests.")


Diane Ravitch blogpost: Does Pearson Own American Education? UPDATE!

“TC alumna Merryl Tisch, Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents. Tisch will speak at the first master’s degree ceremony on May 21st, which starts at 9:30 a.m. As Chancellor, Tisch, a former first-grade teacher, has championed public education as “the greatest civic and civil liberties issue of our time.” She galvanized the state’s bid to receive federal Race to the Top funding, helping persuade teachers unions and other players to commit to increased charter school development and creation of a system that substantially based a teacher’s performance evaluation on students’ test scores. She has spearheaded creation of a statewide data system that ties student performance to specific teacher input – and to the school of education that prepared that teacher. On her watch, the state has provided annual $2 million grants to low-performing schools that have a demonstrated plan for turn-around. And she has expanded teacher preparation beyond the standard range of players and perspectives, leading the way in accrediting new preparation programs housed in museums and other non-traditional venues.”

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