NYS: Cancel Pearson's Contracts With the Schools
To New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman: The April 2013 testing season has brought the incompetence of Pearson Foundation once again into the public eye. It is time for New York State to sever ties with the Pearson Foundation. Among other things: - Pearson completely botched scoring of the NYC Gifted and Talented test, leading thousands of children and families to be told that they had not qualified for the program when in fact, they had. Pearson has publicly admitted its incompetence. - The State ELA test given to our children and written by Pearson was full of product placements, including NIKE, Mug Root Beer, Lego, IBM,the TV show "Teem Titans" and FIFA. This is taxpayer- paid advertising making its way into our childrens' exams -- exams which the schools are required to administer. Our children should not be a captive audience for commercials. - The State ELA exams included passages from other Pearson materials, such that students in districts which bought other Pearson materials had an unfair advantage over students in other districts. - The State ELA tests were also so long that, according to reports, a significant number of students could not finish them. This was in part due to the fact that Pearson embedded dozens of "field questions" in the exam, essentially using our children for market research. These problems, among others come on the heels of last year's ELA exams -- also written by Pearson -- in which several questions, concerning a talking pineapple, were so absurd that State Commissioner of Education John King had to ultimately remove them from the scored tests. Pearson has a history of such problems elsewhere as well. These problems not only waste our money by sharply increasing test costs while decreasing their usefulness. Problems like this waste our childrens' time and energy, and frustrate any educational purpose of such tests. It's time for New York State to end its relationship with this incompetent, costly, and completely irresponsible company.