A few days ago, a public school teacher quit her job after fourteen years in education. Why? The profitable testing industry forced her out. She was tired of giving test upon test, more this year than last. Tests are not about accountability or standards. They’re all about increasing corporate profits, raising share prices, and enhancing dividends–at the expense of students, teachers, parents, administrators and taxpayers. That’s why the USA has the most tested K-12 students in the world, which is a reflection of how corrupt the US federal and state governments are.
Take the case of Pearson, the world’s largest education company.
According to the Financial Times on Nov 1, 2015,
Two of the country’s biggest provinces, Limpopo and Eastern Cape, are yet to place any orders with publishers.
The fallout is being felt about 6,000 miles to the north — at Pearson, the world’s largest education company, based in London…. Next year its testing business will be badly hit by the recent loss of flagship contracts in Texas and Ohio, worth £100m. It was the first time in 30 years the company had lost the Texas business, with state legislators raising concerns about past cost overruns…. Pearson is not just big — it is hugely diverse. A company assembled by acquisition, it produces textbooks and teaching software; runs school exams and entire university courses; and owns chains of schools teaching languages and professional qualifications.” See Pearson’s strategy comes under fire after share price collapse–/Financial Times
This year, Pearson has seen its profits decline, and its share prices have been hit as well, thanks to those South African children, and legislators in Texas and Ohio. Pearson’s stock price is the red line in the graph below. This line means more investors are selling Pearson stock than are purchasing it. So they need more children to take more tests to get their profits and stock price to rise.
The Financial Times says two things are causing this profit decline. The US economy is picking up steam, and so people are working rather than going to universities to enhance job skills. Number two is the opposition to Common Core standards by Republican state legislatures.
The more testing, the more money Pearson takes in. And what is good for Pearson and its shareholders is not good for students, since the higher the educational standards, the more students fail, the more they have to retake the tests, the more profits Pearson and other educational corporations garner. So naturally, companies such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill are always pushing legislators to raise standards, and they’re going to continue to do so. This is their only way of enhancing their share prices, and that’s why the teacher alluded to above quit her job. She’d had enough.
She wrote at the end of her letter:
“My next step? Not sure yet. I do know that it is a disgrace that we are allowing companies from the testing industry to make millions of dollars (actually tens of billions) off the abuse of our public education system. Not only are we killing the spirits of students who want to learn, but we are also killing the spirits of teachers that want to make a life-long career of this. I’m not the first one to give up and I certainly won’t be the last. In 10-20 years, we are going to look back at this time in education and be very ashamed of what we have allowed to happen.
Finally, please hope and pray that my kids get a qualified teacher quickly. One that isn’t jaded by the system, that loves them in spite of their challenges, and has the strength to withstand the foolishness that educators endure. I couldn’t be that for them anymore and the grief that causes me is suffocating at times. I will miss them every day. This quote helps when the feelings become overwhelming, “Be OK with not knowing for sure what might come next, but know that whatever it is…you will be OK”.
Click here to see the complete letter of the teacher and why she quit.