In early December we started writing a series of summary posts that provides background information on Pearson International – a company committed to making large profits by selling education to children.  Having taken over the public education system in the US it has been positioning itself (along with the help of our BC Liberal Government) to take over public education in British Columbia.  Their focus is to adapt public education (as outlined in the BC Ed Plan) to a privatized for profit business focused on providing education in a personalized form to children completely on-line without ever stepping into a school building.  Through this process they can track children,   control what children learn and not learn, sen and not see, and what they become in life.  Without action this is what will become of public education in BC over the next decade.  It has begun with the BC Ed Plan (stress on Personalized Learning), BC Skills for Jobs Blueprint Re-engineering of Education, the new K-9 Curriculum focused on competencies and the new Graduation Program.

Here is the series of summary posts in their entirety.

Summary #1 Pearson International on the World Stage

What significance does this information have on public education – especially in BC? Will provide a short answer at the bottom – a longer answer in later posts.

Recent news release
Pearson will soon be telling educators throughout the world how we are doing in preparing our students for “global literacy” for a global competitive economy.
They will be developing the frameworks for PISA 2018

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, today announces that it has won a competitive tender by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to develop the Frameworks for PISA 2018.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is widely recognized as the benchmark for evaluating education systems worldwide by assessing the skills and knowledge 15-year-old students will need in their further academic education or for joining the workforce.

PISA is administered every three years in around 70 participating economies world-wide. Representative national samples of 15-year-olds from these countries took the PISA 2012 test totaling about 510 000 students and representing about 28 million 15-year-olds globally. Similar, if not higher, numbers are expected for PISA 2015 and PISA 2018. From 2015 onward most students will take PISA by computer.

The frameworks define what will be measured in PISA 2018, how this will be reported and which approach will be chosen for the development of tests and questionnaires.

Why the concern?
PISA is the ranking that has been utilized to give accolades to education systems such as Finland and Canada and has indicated the serious trouble other systems are in such as the US.

Pearson is the world’s largest education company with operations on nearly every continent. The company earns the bulk of its revenue from digital texts, online learning tools, virtual schools, student and teacher testing programs and services, student information systems, instructional management systems, and much more.

It dominates the huge American education market and has made public education into a for profit corporate venture. It was instrumental in implementing the Bush era of High Stakes Testing in the No Child Left Behind program in the US and Obama’s test driven Race to the Top. In BC we have been able to fight both of these programs off based on our PISA scores as one piece of evidence. This may now all change.

The real possibility exists – instead of having systems such as the US adapt to what is being successful elsewhere in the world, what has occurred in the US can now be claimed as quality education and followed as a model throughout the world – for a profit to corporations.

In the words of Diane Ravitch, “Are we prepared to hand over our children, our teachers, and our definition of knowledge to Pearson?” The eventual question may very well be – “Will BC’s elected representatives, administrators, teachers, students and parents determine the province’s education future? Or, as education historian Diane Ravitch asks, will Pearson?

Pearson International Summary #2

The first summary post provided information on how Pearson International has been awarded the task of creating the frameworks that will guide the 2018 PISA testing. This has huge international ramifications for education.

A change is taking place. The Ministry once termed their action as Run Silent Run Deep. We are just beginning to realize and connect the dots regarding how deep this actually is intended to be.

This is the second in a series of information posts on Pearson International. Please add what you know as well as any articles / readings you have – lets educate each other.

The information on this post comes from a document titled Pearson’s Plan to Control Education by Donald Gutstein (published June 30, 2012).

You will recognize terms, concepts and plans – they are already embedded in the BC Ed Plan.

Who is Pearson International?

o Pearson plc is the world’s largest education company
o Operations on nearly every continent.
o The company earns the bulk of its revenue from digital texts, online learning tools, virtual schools, student and teacher testing programs and services, student information systems, instructional management systems, and much more.
o It dominates the huge American education market and probably now has its eye on British Columbia

What is Pearson International Doing to Public Education?

o According to investment research firm Sanford Bernstein & Co., Pearson is pursuing a variety of growth strategies, including one that will “revolutionize how education is delivered to students around the world, starting with the United States.”
o It is an ambitious attempt to further commercialize education by claiming its products and services will raise student and teacher performance while at the same time cutting spending.
o If successful, Bernstein argues, “it would make every teacher and school student in the United States a potential customer” by “personalizing education in U.S. schools through technology and best practices.”

Pearson International Summary #3
A continuing series begun two nights ago to provide background information on the growing concern about privatization and one of the main players currently conducting business in BC.

BC’s Plan to Run Silent Run Deep

Why Would We Care About Pearson International in BC Public Education?

o Since British Columbia is part of the North American Education division, it too will become a target for the new strategy.
o what B.C. Education Minister George Abbott calls twenty-first century learning using technology is what Pearson calls it too
o Pearson’s corporate strategies and how they might impact B.C.’s public education system, particularly through the B.C. Education Plan.
o In October 2011, Education Minister Abbott announced his government’s plan “to transform education so that every student can excel and thrive in a rapidly evolving world.”
o An analysis of the plan’s elements indicates the plan may be designed, not for students or teachers, but for the corporate sector, in which Pearson is a leading player.

Pearson Summary Post #4 (Part 1)

This discussion is currently happening throughout the world. This post was provided to this site this morning – and is shared by a US teacher advocate. The fight against Pearson and planned changes in public education into a corporate dominated system are not ours alone.

Thank you to the Canadian Badass Teachers Association FB site for sharing this US perspective.

What is to come from Pearson?
• Sells instructional content, tests, systems and technology for profit to states, school districts and individual schools in the United States and across the globe.
• Few of us realize the enormous influence that private corporations like Pearson now have ove public education.
• Pearson has taken over teacher certification in many states
• California’s standardized testing corporation SBAC just awarded a big contract to Pearson
• Pearson has the contracts to administer the standardized tests (PISA) that rate countries all over the world based on the results of their tests
• Pearson develops and administers the SATs

The unanswered question, given Pearson’s wide sphere of influence, is who evaluates Pearson for validity, reliability and non-bias?

Pearson Summary Post #4 (Part 2)

What education will look like in BC in the near future if Pearson and other corporate entities are allowed into our classrooms and provided the opportunity to turn our children in the next new profitable market:

In the eyes of Pearson:
o Lessons in the future will shift to online which will, by necessity, remake the teaching profession. Teachers will no longer plan lessons or grade and evaluate students, the corporations will determine the lessons and how well the students are performing.
“Teachers are largely under-qualified and trained, heavily unionized, a bureaucratically controlled semi-profession. We plan to create a true profession with a distinctive knowledge base, framework for teaching, well-defined common terms for describing and analyzing teaching at a level of specificity and strict control”

How Pearson plans to accomplish this
o At present, teachers’ contributions are characterized by Pearson as too ‘imprecise’, ‘intuitive’ (rather than analytical), and ‘idiosyncratic” for the modern age.
“Learning systems of the future will free up teacher time currently spent on preparation, marking and record-keeping and allow a greater focus on the professional roles of diagnosis, personalized instruction, scaffolding deep learning, motivation, guidance and care. The system will do all the planning and implementing, and the system will put all the necessary technology at hand. Without such a systematic, data-driven approach to instruction, teaching remains an imprecise and somewhat idiosyncratic process that is too dependent on the personal intuition and competence of individual teachers.”

• Quotes from the Pearson December 14, 2014 report “Preparing for a Renaissance in Assessment”

Pearson Summary Post #5
Now we have been exposed to who Pearson is, what they are trying to accomplish and the effect they have had – especially in the US market but progressively more so in BC – it is time to look at their plan. You will notice many of the same phrases used in the BCED plan – coincidence or on purpose – you decide.

What is the Pearson Plan?

o An analysis of the plan’s elements indicates the plan may be designed, not for students or teachers, but for the corporate sector, in which Pearson is a leading player.
o The plan consists of five elements, each of which could become a profit centre for Pearson (as well as other technology and education corporations).

Personalized learning for every student
o Pearson’s partnership with adaptive learning company Knewton is at the heart of efforts to personalize learning. Knewton builds its software into online classes that watch students’ every move: scores, speed, accuracy, delays, keystrokes, click-streams and drop-offs.

Quality teaching and learning
o Pearson is the provider of the set of rubrics used to assess teacher performance in New York and the provider of the model for teacher evaluation used in Tennessee.
o In 2006, Pearson bought National Evaluation Systems, the leading provider of customized state assessments for teacher certification in the U.S.

Flexibility and choice
o Pearson is the second-largest operator of virtual schools
o The Connections Academy division operates online charter schools in 21 states with 40,000 student-customers.

High standards
o Pearson dominates the U.S. school testing market. If B.C. moves in the direction of online testing on a large scale, Pearson will likely be first in line to win contracts.
o Pearson has another product that fits into the Education Plan’s call for high standards, the Schoolnet Instructional Management System.

Learning empowered by technology
o Pearson leads the student information systems (SIS) industry because of its purchase of Apple Computer’s PowerSchool and Burnaby, B.C.-based Chancery Software, in 2007
o In 2010, Pearson purchased The Administrative Assistants, the Ontario-based company that designed the province’s student information system, BCeSIS, giving it a dominant position for student information systems in the Canadian market.