Committed To Fighting For Equity and Access in Public Education

Featuring interviews, testimony and analysis on issues facing public education in the U.S. through voices of teachers, parents, students, community members, education activists and education scholars. Education Radio is committed to exposing the profit driven interests fueling current education policies while addressing issues of true equity and access in public education.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Standing Up to Pearson: Speaking Out, Sharing Stories, Growing Resistance

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Some of the 67 UMass students who said no to Pearson with Barbara Madeloni.
Education Radio has been following the developments of the University of Massachusetts student teacher resistance to the Pearson supported Teacher Performance Assessment. The attempt to impose a corporate sponsored standard assessment on pre-service teachers is one more example of the corporatization of public education and the surveillance, silencing and demands for obedience that accompany it. Following our report of March 24, Mike Winerip ran an article that brought the students’ resistance to readers of the New York Times. As we have shared on our blog, the response has been nothing short of astonishing as teachers, teacher educators, parents, students and community members from across the country contacted education radio producer Barbara Madeloni and the students to speak their support and share their own stories of the destructiveness of Pearson and problems with the Teacher Performance Assessment.
Rachel Hoogstraten, Alex Hoyo, Katie Smith, Danielle Nelson

Steven Cohen
In this week’s program, we speak with some of those supporters about why they felt compelled to contact Barbara, how Pearson and/or the TPA are impacting their lives, and how we might further this resistance. Judith Kocik, director of an adult education program and Kip Fonsh, school committee member and director of education for a county jail, explain the devastating impact of Pearson's purchase of the GED.  Parent and community member Alex Pirie talks about his delight that University students are taking a stand against corporatization of the University and teacher educator Steven Cohen, from Tufts University, helps us understand how contrary is the TPA to the needs of developing teachers. We also hear from Ginette Delandshire, from Indiana University Bloomington, who was involved in the first iteration of the teacher performance assessment, her critiques of it, and how these critiques have been ignored.  As well, we speak with some of the UMass students who engaged in the resistance about how they felt about the article, about the response to it, and about how this action will impact their work as teachers.
Alex Pirie

Ginette Delandshere
In developing this program, we discovered more detail about the menacing and destructive reach of the testing giant Pearson and its profiteering on the most marginalized and vulnerable of our community.  And we discovered a broad range of people who are articulate and angry about the neoliberal assault on public education.


  1. What a great start! It is refreshing to see the next generation of our country becoming involved. For teachers' perspectives, in harmony with your concerns, you can visit us at
    May our voices be heard.

  2. E-Readers Are Better for Standardized, A+ Mankind Writing: An Huge and Perfect Five Paragraph Essay

    By Dr. S. R. Grauer, Famous Researcher

    Pearson Education, soon to be followed by other nationwide testing companies, announced plans to replace human readers with automatic, computerized readers for its standardized essay test program. Yeah! Standardized Kids! These “E-Readers,” also called “Robo-Readers,” are far better than human readers, for three reasons. First, they are reliable, which is something that is always good in standardized thesis writing. Second, they are efficient, which might be even better than reliability according to a one-person poll taken last night by our famous researcher. Third, they focus on the well-needed meaninglessness of the former art of essay writing. All three of these lead to well-fabricated and normal five-paragraph essays.
    Reliability is something we of course need to ensure our long-held dream of formulaic essay writing. There is too much human error in the reading and writing of essays. Automated testing services have little of this inaccuracy and do not even have to be concerned with the discoveries our young human writers are trying to make. Human readers are involved in developing opinions, which are, of course, a distraction. Also, humans have emotions that obfuscate the implications of what they read. Therefore, we should use unfailing automatic readers, which are always good and eternally reliable.
    Efficiency is the second area we will cover in this standardized essay for impoverished reasons. Programmed, computerized readers are faster than human readers. Society has many essays it needs to process and computer algorithms enable the automated readers to grade those essays far faster than time-wasting hominids can. According to the researcher Dr. S. R. Grauer, “We cannot wait for ordinary humans, who are gentle to amend their words with a thesaurus.” Also, humans cannot be relied upon to be consistent in their efforts to write perfect five-paragraph, standardized essays. It stands to reason that computers will read with greater efficiency than even the most standardized people.
    Meaninglessness is the third of three reasons we must switch to automatic, computerized readers when we grade standardized writing on standardized tests. Man’s search for meaning has caused nothing but heartache and confusion through history. If we remove all meaning from our essays and replace it with meaninglessness, we can eliminate confusion. What is the difference if we teach what matters anyway, so long as our children can fill in the basic parts of the standard essay format?
    In conclusion, automatic, computerized readers are a good wager and will succor education for all of mankind. These essays will bring three major advantages to us all as we abandon our efforts to write things that are true. Let us dedicate ourselves to helping our youths score perfect fives on homogeneous essay assessments; moreover, let us covet scores of “five” for our children, not just the growing legions with Asperger’s syndrome, but the geniuses among them. Let us all celebrate that, at last, education can become the inbred, tautological in-game we’re always known it could be if only we acknowledge the inevitability of circular logic as our ultimate truth.

  3. poor ee cummings

    writing with voice using odd conventions,grammar and spelling

    where is the program that considers the emotionalism of a middle school girl or boy...this does not compute!