The Economist (Pearson Owns 50% Stake) Comes Swinging Out Against Common Core
We’ve been reading how the pro-CCSS forces are doubling down on their PR campaign to inform parents and taxpayers how wonderful the transformation of education is that they crafted with “experts” who never taught a day of K-12, neglected to tell us about in 2009, is an experiment (flying the airplane while it’s being built) and left with unfunded mandates that voters and legislators never approved.
The largely owned Pearson The Economist (based in London) came out swinging against anti-Common Core articles. The Economist Nuclear core ridiculed outlets reporting on children’s responses to the inappropriate developmental standards, the increase of standardized testing for young children, and the concern literature is taking a back seat to informational text:
THIS year anyone with any interest in education will find it hard to ignore the growing, and often nonsensical, row over the common-core standards, due to be fully introduced in the 2014-15 school year. As anxiety has grown over the introduction of these new performance measures, critics from both the left and right have piled in to attack them. These complaints range from fair critiques over some botched implementations, hysterical nonsense and downright lies. And as the year progresses, parts of the right will continue to wage a campaign against the common core, hoping to gain influence and even to move forward a more radical agenda.
A bit of background is useful to fully appreciate this particular row in all its glory, and in particular how it is possible for a fairly innocuous bit of bipartisan policymaking to become such a punchbag for some on both the left and the right.
…In the hands of bloggers on the left and right, routine school issues are being turned into monstrous nightmares. “Chicago School Rations Bathroom Visits to Help Prepare for Common Core Tests“, “Common Core again threatens to make little kids pee their pants“. The tests make “little kids vomit, pee their pants“. It will also “kill literature“, and is a “leftist indoctrination plot“. Many more horror stories will unfold about the common core this year. And you never know, one or two of them may even be true. None of them will mean that the standards should be scrapped or that anyone should rush to hit the pause button on assessments. Forewarned is forearmed.
The reasons Common Core is flailing according to The Economist is because:
- of botched implementation (not because of the imposition of the standards themselves)
- the misinterpretation of teaching methods utilizing close reading (referred to as “hysterical nonsense”)
- facts presented on youtube by are labeled “downright lies” even as the writer doesn’t identify if all or just some of Glenn Beck’s contentions are fallacious
The article makes its claims that America needs Common Core because the country is falling behind other countries in comparison (excerpts from a book written by an education reformer lock step with teacher reform and charter schools), suggests parents are “up in arms” (which they are) because of Arne Duncan’s incredibly stupid comment about “white suburban moms” (hint to The Economist: parents are NOT concerned because of their children aren’t “as brilliant as first thought”), the standards will make kids college and career ready even as the Get to the Core article doesn’t mention Jason Zimba’s remark that the standards will NOT make students college ready for a 4 year college (they will, however, theoretically make students ready for community college).
The writer is identified by the initials “N.L.” (due to company policy) so we don’t know who wrote this article heralding the unresearched, data-less standards. For all we know, NL might be a conglomeration of Pearson executives desperate to hold on to the CCSS cash cow. As one reader commented regarding the anonymity policy of writers:
“The first few issues of The Economist were, in fact, written almost entirely by James Wilson, the founding editor, though he wrote in the first-person plural.”
I heard that calling oneself in first-person plural is the prerogative of the Queen.
In any case, signing one’s writing in plural ‘leaders’ is pompous, why not be honest and signing ‘propaganda chiefs’?
NL gives no background on how the standards adoption process circumvented legislators and taxpayers, yet the citizens are expected to pay for this unfunded mandate. NL somehow forgets to clue the reader into the fact that the education reformers (funded by the Federal Government via stimulus funding) who crafted the standards consider themselves to be “composed of that collection of unqualified people who were involved in developing the common standards”.
This is a pitiful PR puff piece on behalf of Pearson and the CCSSI. If this is the best Common Core proponents can offer to continue the push for CCSS implementation, it might be safe to predict this Common Core “plane they are building while they are flying it” is about to crash. The Economist would hope that you would use its article as a CCSS close reading assignment. If you only read this article and its links about how crazy parents are and how illogical their arguments are based on research that is funded by CCSS special interest groups and no other sources, you too will be in favor of these reforms. If, however, you do your own research and look at the timeline and players of CCSS adoption and implementation, you might have some misgivings on these educational theories not based in best educational practice and which circumvented state legislatures and voters.
Forewarned is forearmed. Pearson is about to lose enormous amounts of money if these CCSS assessments, teacher training and technology aligned to CCSS are scrapped by states. Perhaps this is why you are seeing a British news outlet with a Pearson 50% stakeholder interest supporting the standards and a PR campaign designed to sell the standards. It’s not for your children’s benefit. The Economist can’t produce any facts the standards will benefit students educationally or become “college or career ready”. It has no data to prove this statement. Throw the facts at these “reformers” and eventually they will crash from this fantasy flight sold to taxpayers as a trip to success for school children.
Here are several links you can follow to the money trail of Pearson. One link includes information on the collaboration of Pearson and David Coleman, one of the “least qualified to write the standards”, now head of the College Board:
Pearson currently provides large-scale assessment services to help states deliver innovative, new systems. Learn more about integrating new technology …
Pearson offers complete support for implementing the new Common Core State Standards. Teacher training, assessments, school improvement planning …
Our Pre K-12 education instructional resources, curriculum materials, digital learning tools and assessments help to educate children across North America.
Thoughts on an Assessment of Common Core Standards 2. Preface. ETS, Pearson, and the College Board have formed a collaboration to explore how …
Jon S. Twing, Executive Vice President, Assessment & Information, Pearson … There are many reasons for developing new assessments of common core …
Feb 28, 2012 – Cuomo, Common Core and Pearson-for-Profit … the high stakes standardized tests for students and teacher assessments they are also selling.