See this Daily News report and this account from NY1. Regents head Merryl Tisch now says that these mistakes are "inexcusable", and that Pearson should try to win back public trust; but how?
So far, the testing company has gained little support even after a coordinated PR campaign, including the leaking of a self-satisfied memo to Time magazine, claiming the Pineapple questions were all nationally field-tested, normed, and thus valid, accompanied by the lame defense of paid flack and Time columnist Andrew Rotherham. On the same day, they put forward this yucky "Pearson" mom:
"First and foremost, I’m a mom....The assessment results help a busy parent understand what’s happening in the classroom because we can’t be there every day."
Yes, a busy parent now knows that their child's education is being undermined by unrelenting test prep and ridiculous, unreliable and pointless exams.
Obviously, this campaign didn't get them much traction, so today they leaked another memo to NY1, admitting that they had screwed up royally and that an internal investigation is underway: "Pearson agrees that we need to work diligently to improve." Is this too little, too late? As Lindsey Christ, NY1 reporter, rightly points out:
Chancellor Tisch said she will give the company one more year. However, some parents and teachers want the state to cancel the company's five-year, $32 million contract. They say students don't get a second chance with high stakes tests, so why should the test company.Meanwhile, teachers complain that with so many days spent testing and scoring the exams, little time is left for instruction or even meaningful assessments, and NYC parent Robert Kulesz, who opted his son out of testing, writes in Schoolbook:
But it’s no wonder our kids are getting lost: our politicians starve our schools of desperately needed resources (while the Pearson corporation vacuums up $32 million in taxpayer money), ignore the voices of parents, students and concerned administrators (see the New York State Principals’ Letter), and then have the gall to blame the teachers.Below is a TV report from Channel 9 news in Central NY about how Pearson's errors have caused many cash-strapped districts to have to spend additional funds on overtime paid to teachers who are rescoring the exams for a second time. As far as I know, NYC is the only district where the cost of scoring is pushed onto schools.
Mr. Bloomberg may be a wonderful businessman, but he’s no educator. The arrogance of a powerful few in the Education Department when it comes to addressing parental concerns is insulting and condescending.
I have heard Meryl Tisch of the Board of Regents speak of the “scientific” validity of such value-added, high-stakes testing, but this is provably wrong. Her “science” as practiced on our children will one day be revealed for what it is: statistical phrenology, all in the service of a buck.