Tag Archives: Pearson

A Request from Dana R. Casey for Material for Her New Book

DanaRCaseyI am a veteran high school English teacher with more than two decades in an east coast urban school system. I’ve taught in some of the best schools and some of the worst, and I can tell you unequivocally that education in America is in a terrible state. It is worse than most realize, especially in our urban systems in which regulations stifle the efforts of teachers to teach, where Political Correctness stifles content being taught, and where bad behavior too often impedes the process of learning for students, especially for the many sincere ones who genuinely want to learn. If we do not fix these problems, and fix them fast, maintaining the republic will become almost impossible, because, as Madison said, “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.

Many believe that they have the solutions for fixing our schools. But, Democrats have it wrong; Republicans have it wrong; Pearson Education has it wrong; the average American has it wrong. Education has become a battleground and teachers are in the trenches with no cavalry on the horizon. Teachers have become so vilified in today’s environment that few Americans have thought of reaching out to those on the front line to discover the real problems and the real solutions.  Combat Diaries attempts to expose the realities as seen by one teacher, but experienced by many on the front lines of urban education in America.

I will be using many of my articles published on conservativeteachersofamerica.com, dcclothesline.com and freedomoutpost.com as a starting point. These will be expanded through research. From that point, I plan to expand into other areas of fundamental concern. For instance, I want to address the concept of “Keeping It Real or Making It Real” which challenges how narratives like those found in Walter Dean Myer’s popular books teach students as young as 6th grade that drug addiction, sexual activity, and suicide are societal norms, a dangerous lesson. I also intend to include historical data to examine the process of how public education is rapidly becoming a system of ideological indoctrination replacing of the free exchange and examination of ideas in the search for true learning.

As intelligent teachers you know that evidence from only one source (in this case me) is not strong, so I need evidence from others to strengthen the arguments. I need anecdotes that can be added to the topics listed below. Additionally, though it is tempting to only provide negative examples, examples of when things work are needed too. For instance, there are many tragic stories of the failure of special education inclusion (see The Tyranny of the Minority), but there are also times when it works. Anecdotes of both instances will make a stronger argument.

I know that teachers are often afraid to speak up and, in spite of the myth that we have an iron shield of tenure around us, administration can easily punish us by making our work lives so miserable that we will be driven out of our professions. There is also a fear of violating privacy policies. I promise complete anonymity to those who want it. I will never mention a school or a school district, but will only mention whether the school is in an urban, suburban, or rural area. I will also maintain privacy by asking teachers to NEVER provide a student’s name. I will create names for anecdotes, so only “Girl 1” or “Boy 2” as example should be used in anecdotes sent to me.

In advance I want to extend my gratitude to anyone willing to share their stories. I will gladly acknowledge any contribution as little or as much as each contributor desires. Hang tough my fellow teachers; life in the trenches can be hard and lonely.

Topic Suggestions (in no particular order):

  1. Where is the “money” for education really going? Money does not go to the classrooms or for students.
  2. The Intentional mis-education of students. Revisionist history, removing literature from the English classroom, yearly lowering of standards. Common Core Math
  3. Special Education Inclusion: Fear of lawsuits has made “special” students rule the classroom. Special education students are not getting the services that they need. The other students in the class suffer. Lowest common denominator becomes the norm.
  4. No more honors classes. Students with advanced or superior abilities are being under-served or completely ignored. Bored, unmotivated students.
  5. Rules matter, but too many times students are not expected to follow rules or even basic civil behavior
  6. How fear is the guiding factor of school policy. Fear of parents and students makes teachers unable to teach and classrooms unmanageable
  7. Administrators are more concerned with data than students
  8. The Race Card: Fear of seeming racist has destroyed education for blacks and destroyed most major American cities
  9. Social justice is misplaced and at times insidious “Compassion” destroying students’ ability to advance
  10. Learned helplessness
  11. Fear locked up wood shop, as well as eliminating much of the valuable “vocational training” of the past, that worked so well. NOT EVERYONE IS COLLEGE BOUND. IT ISN’T EVEN A GOOD IDEA!
  12. Throwing out the baby and other proven paradigms lost educational theory proposed by those with no classroom experience (see Arne Duncan) has gutted educators.
  13. Hiring consultants while firing teachers
  14. Teachers get a bad rap from media, but the biggest problem is with unions. Although true representation is not bad — needed sometimes — the unions charged with the responsibility to represent teachers are interested in their own existence and benefits, not in those they supposedly represent. They actually usually fail to support any individual teachers unless that teacher can be used to forward their own agenda. The unions do not care about student learning either.

Dana R. Casey is a veteran high school English teacher of more than two decades in an East-coast urban system.  She is a life-long student of theology, philosophy, and politics, dedicated to the true Liberalism of the Enlightenment, as defined by our Founders and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. You can find out more about Dana over at http://www.candiddiscourse.com/.

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JUST HOW BIG IS PEARSON? WELL…PRETTY BIG

pearsonI don’t believe in big government, and I especially don’t believe in big government and big business colluding. Many on the political left often blindly attack big businesses. In the context of education, I think they are rightly justified to criticize big business. Big corporations can be a big problem when they have cornered the market. Sadly, many leftists don’t quite realize the thing they rightly disagree with often funds the party and politicians they tend to vote for. To be fair, the same can be said about many Republican voters. They blindly vote for a party that doesn’t represent a true separation between government and business.

Someone recently shared a Google Doc with me that shows just how stunningly Gigantic London based Pearson really is. The title of the document is What Pearson Owns (Or Has a Significant Interest In). When you really think about how much these guys control, and how much of education they have their fingers on, it should concern you a little bit.

I think maybe the most stunning thing about this document is how little contrast there is in education around the world. This much interest cobbled up in one company borders on dangerous.

Anyway, interesting document, curious what thoughts you may have. Just so you know, I’m not saying the document is 100% accurate. I have not fact checked it, but many of the random searches I performed as I went through it showed that the products/services are Pearson’s:

So, here’s the idea:

 

I want to start with a list of companies, products and resources that Pearson owns (or has a significant interest in). I’d like to crowd-source this list. If you’re interested, just add to the list and post a link where you found it. At some point, I want to create a web-based search that will allow people to type it in with a simple “Is this owned by Pearson?” question.

Companies, startups, websites, etc.

http://www.place.nesinc.com/

Publishing Imprints

Pearson has a number of publishing imprints:

In Brazil

(Links below lead to sites in Portuguese)

http://www.pearson.com.br/apearson.asp?pag_id=13&area_pai=12&id_p=0Wall Brazilian

  • Branch of the Wall Street Institute School of English
  • Part owner of Companhia das Letras (Publisher)
  • Casa do Psicólogo (Psychology and Education)
  • Grupo MULTI (ELT)
  • PTE (Tests for learners of English as a foreign language):
  •      Young Learners – ages 7 -13
  •      General – ages 14 and up

Public Ed:

  • NAME system

Private Ed:

  • COC system
  • Dom Bosco system
  • Pueri Domus system

http://www.objetiva.com.br/noticia_detalhe.php?id=256

  • Editora Objetiva: Alfaguara, Suma, Fontanar, Foglio, Ponto de Leitura (Publisher)

In Canada

Properties of Pearson Canada

Publishing

  • Penguin,
  • Viking,
  • Prentice Hall,
  • Addison Wesley,
  • Allyn & Bacon
  • Longman

Textbooks

  • Pearson Achievement Solutions,
  • Allyn and Bacon, Merrill,
  • Pearson Australia, Heinemann,
  • STEPS PD,
  • Marilyn Burns Education Associates/Math Solutions,
  • ETA/Cuisenaire,
  • Teacher Ideas Press.

Testing/Assessement

Under Pearson Technology Group

  • FT Press publishes high quality books in the areas of General Business, Finance and Investing, Sales and Marketing, Leadership, Management and Strategy, Human Resources, and Global Business.
  • Peachpit Press publishes the books that educate professionals and innovators in graphic design, desktop publishing, multimedia, Web publishing, and general computing, A to Z.
  • Que Publishing works to produce superior books designed to make people’s lives easier, more dynamic, and more enriched. With over 20 years experience dispensing practical advice on computers and technology, Que takes pride in their ability to provide tools needed to enhance personal and professional lives.
  • SAMS Publishing is focused on teaching working programmers, developers, and systems administrators the skills they need to build and maintain leading-edge technology. From introductory tutorials to comprehensive reference books covering operating systems, networking, databases, web development and design/programming.
  • Addison-Wesley Professional publishes high-quality and timely information for programmers, developers, engineers, and system administrators.
  • Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference has been a leader in engineering and technical publishing for more than 70 years. With networking, wireless, e-commerce database, and Unix lists, PHPTR is the official publisher of Sun Microsystems, IBM, Financial Times Business Books, Hewlett Packard, and others.
  • Cisco Press is the only Cisco Systems-authorized book publisher of Cisco networking technology and Cisco certification self-study materials designed to help networking students and professionals prepare for Cisco certifications and master a diverse range of technologies.
  • InformIT is a leading information technology portal that publishes technical articles, tutorials, and sample chapters in key technology areas. The InformIT Safari Bookshelf delivers the full text of over 1500 fully searchable books online. InformIT’s Exam Cram 2 offers guidance for those seeking professional certification, including free practice exams. The InformIT bookstore offers competitive discounts and free domestic shipping on all orders.

Press, Links, Information about Pearson

  • Great article on Pearson’s role (and start) in Texas  http://www.texasobserver.org/the-pearson-graduate/
  • MicroDocumentary about Pearson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz3OdGrC-UI&feature=youtube_gdata

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WASTED FUNDS AND FAILING SCHOOLS

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Guest post by Dana R. Casey.

As reported on TownHall.com “The public schools in Washington, D.C., spent $29,349 per pupil in the 2010-2011 school year, according to the latest data from National Center for Education Statistics, but in 2013 fully 83 percent of the eighth graders in these schools were not “proficient” in reading and 81 percent were not “proficient” in math.”

Those outside of education must find this shocking. No doubt it will raise renewed cries attacking all of those incompetent teachers who are solely responsible for our failing schools. Doug Gansler, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Maryland, is currently running ads taking direct aim at teachers, discrediting seniority, and demanding more “skilled” teachers replace those in seniority. Obama made this comment about the firing of the entire faculty and administration of Central Falls High School in Rhode Island:

So if a school is struggling, we have to work with the principal and the teachers to find a solution. We’ve got to give them a chance to make meaningful improvements. But if a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn’t show signs of improvement, then there’s got to be a sense of accountability.”

In other words, if a school is failing, it must be the teachers’ fault. The public has been led to believe that if we only had better teachers and more money, our school systems would be bastions of education filled with loving teachers stuffed full of the latest educational paradigms and joyously leading our youth into a golden future.

Those of us in the classroom are not shocked at all. We know where the money goes and it is not to the students, the classrooms, or the teachers. The following is a breakdown of the unbelievable $29K per student spent in D.C. public schools from National Center for Education Statistics along with an analysis from a teacher’s perspective of where all that money actually goes.

$10,584 per pupil on instruction, which “encompasses all activities dealing directly with the interaction between teachers and students

I assure you that most of this money NEVER makes it to students, teachers, or classrooms. It is spent on consultants, studies, and testing. One colleague of mine who worked at my school district’s central office told me of a $200,000 consultation commissioned by the district to make suggestions for improving schools. The end result of that consultation was, “The schools should be kept clean.” I could have told them that for a mere $50,000. I could not make this up. Who would buy such a story, yet this is an actual study.

The new Pearson tests called the PARCC tests (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), which will soon be imposed on most students in America, costs $30 per test, per student. If a student must retake a given test, it is still $30 a pop. Pearson will be making money on students in grade 1, grade 3, grade 5, grade 8, and likely 4 subject tests in high school. But Pearson does not plan to stop at testing and will soon be sucking up an increasingly larger share of educational funds through online programs; textbooks aligned to Common Core, and packaged lessons, while surreptitiously taking complete control of our children’s education.

Who is Pearson? In a revealing report by Donald Gutstein, a British Colombia professor who is currently researching corporate propaganda, he has this to say about Pearson.

Pearson plc is the world’s largest education company, with operations on nearly every continent…. It became large by buying up its competitors. It dominates the huge American education market…” 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.’ 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. 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 is not only focused on squeezing every drop of education money it can out of the American taxpayer, Pearson is also determined to decide what your child will learn, what your child will read, and ultimately what your child will think. In the meantime, teachers purchase paper, books, paint, science lab materials, and other necessary supplies for their classrooms out of their own pockets.

$5,487 on “capital outlays,” which includes “the acquisition of land and buildings; building construction, remodeling,” etc.”

Building construction, remodeling, and land acquisitions go to administrative buildings, principal office remodels, and interior decorators for superintendents while teachers still shell money out of their own pockets to buy posters and bulletin board paper for their rooms. If $5,487 per student, per year were actually spent at the school level, we would have gleaming state-of-the-art buildings full of up to date computer and science labs, libraries overflowing with books, art rooms full of materials, and wonderful gyms with fully equipped workout rooms and fresh locker rooms. Instead we have empty libraries, computer labs with few functioning computers, and locker rooms too disgusting to use.

“$2,321 on “operation and maintenance,” which includes ‘salary, benefits, supplies, and contractual fees for supervision of operations and maintenance,’ etc.”

Once again, if this much money is being spent in the schools, why are so many of our bathrooms dirty, rooms and hallways unpainted for years, toilets broken, elevators not functioning, and school grounds like abandoned city lots?

$2,124 on “interest on school debt

If the money that schools had were being spent wisely, there would be no need to carry such a heavy interest burden and this money could be spent on updated textbooks, new computers, and engaging field trip experiences.

$1,613 on “instructional staff,” $1,546 on “school administration,” $1,404 on “student transportation,” $1,208 on “student support,” $866 on “general administration,” $761 on “food services,” $450 on “other support services.

I cannot see where in this budget are the C.E.O.’s salary, central office staff and supervisors, curriculum specialist (who have usually spent little time in a classroom), field supervisors, district heads, library specialist, and every other over paid idiot in district central.

In my own school district the supposed budget is $15,000 per student, but having been on the budgeting team at the school level I can attest to the fact that the budget per student is approximately $5,000 at the school level. That $5,000 must cover all salaries in the building, all supplies, all computers, all teacher training, anything required in the school building. That $5,000 is also based on the student enrollment on one specific day in September. If the school gets a 100 more students the following day, it will receive no more funds. The school must make do with the budget per student that was pressed in concrete the previous day.

Where is the other $10,000 per student going? It is not going into our schools. The central office does cover operating costs including building maintenance and renovations, electricity, and heating. Out of that $10,000 also comes transportation and other system wide supports, but not $10,000 per student worth. That money goes, as I said before, to useless consultations, to pay for programs never fully implemented or just plain dysfunctional like the mathematics computer learning program Aspire, which actually lowered the scores at my district’s top math school. It goes to cover the cost of the CEO’s personal driver who made more than twice the average salary of a teacher with 20 years of service and a master’s degree. It goes to pay Pearson for testing our students over and over again. Let us not forget the spa days for certain central office employees or luxurious luncheons. It goes to hotels and conventions and per-diems of central office employees who never enter a classroom. It does not go to students, to teachers, to supplies, or to really improve learning for our students at all.

Too many people are sucking off of the teat of education growing fat while the students and teachers struggle on with the watery drops left behind. The public should not be surprised by the money being spent in education, but they should be outraged by where the money is going. We do not need more money to improve education; it will take much more than a budget change to fix the systemic problems of public education in America, but we can start by making sure that the money is actually getting to the students instead of fattening the already fat cats who have discovered the fatted calf of education.

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Dana R. Casey is a veteran high school English teacher of more than two decades in an East-coast urban system.  She is a life-long student of theology, philosophy, and politics, dedicated to the true Liberalism of the Enlightenment, as defined by our Founders and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.

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