A Very Pricey Pineapple
I normally really enjoy Gail Collins's op eds in the NYT, but she must have been smoking some really powerful stuff AND been channeling her inner Ravitch to write something as truly moronic as this:
Now — finally — we have tumbled into my central point. We have turned school testing into a huge corporate profit center, led by Pearson, for whom $32 million is actually pretty small potatoes. Pearson has a five-year testing contract with Texas that's costing the state taxpayers nearly half-a-billion dollars.
This is the part of education reform nobody told you about. You heard about accountability, and choice, and innovation. But when No Child Left Behind was passed 11 years ago, do you recall anybody mentioning that it would provide monster profits for the private business sector?
It's not just the tests. No Child Left Behind has created a system of public-funded charter schools, a growing number of which are run by for-profit companies. Some of them are completely online, with kids getting their lessons at home via computer. The academic results can be abysmal, but on the plus side — definitely no classroom crowding issues.
Pearson is just one part of the picture, albeit a part about the size of Mount Rushmore. Its lobbyists include the guy who served as the top White House liaison with Congress on drafting the No Child law. It has its own nonprofit foundation that sends state education commissioners on free trips overseas to contemplate school reform.
An American child could go to a public school run by Pearson, studying from books produced by Pearson, while his or her progress is evaluated by Pearson standardized tests. The only public participant in the show would be the taxpayer.
I don't even know where to start (and don't have time), but a few thoughts:
· "We have turned school testing into a huge corporate profit center" Hmmm, companies that make tests are for-profit. Egads! What's next?! Companies that make books, binders, paper and pencils earning a profit?!
· "But when No Child Left Behind was passed 11 years ago, do you recall anybody mentioning that it would provide monster profits for the private business sector?" I'm not aware of ANY company making "monster profits" from NCLB. What drivel…
· "No Child Left Behind has created a system of public-funded charter schools" NCLB has nothing to do with charter schools. Charter schools were expanding rapidly before NCLB passed, and have continued to do so.
· "An American child could go to a public school run by Pearson" Pearson doesn't run any schools!
April 27, 2012
A Very Pricey Pineapple
By GAIL COLLINS
Let's talk about talking pineapples.