Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gates and Pearson Lay Their Cards on the Table


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropy, and the foundation associated with Pearson, the giant textbook and school technology company, announced a partnership on Wednesday to create online reading and math courses aligned with the new academic standards that some 40 states have adopted in recent months.

The courses will then be marketed by Pearson.

Hopefully people will now start to understand what has been going on here, what Gates' plan has been all along.

For example, when you read something like this:

All standards are not created equal. We believe it is far more critical for teachers to help students to analyze, evaluate, and support their conclusions with evidence than it is for them to spend precious time on puzzling standards like these:

“Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style”; or

“Analyze different points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) creating such effects as suspense or humor.”

We have tested these and similar standards on many teachers. They, like us, have no idea what these mean or how they would teach them.

You know who knows how they'd teach those standards? Pearson.

You know the best way to teach those standards? Lots of incremental practice, ideally drawn from a large pool of short, engaging texts which are customized to the reader's exact interests and reading level with immediate feedback from a computer.

There will be no further revision of these standards. No addendum. No official curriculum. They're done, so if you don't like them as they are right now, you'd better start opposing them.

1 comment:

Graham Wegner said...

And you can bet when Pearson start eyeing off the money to be made in the Australasian marketplace, they won't be adapting their product to fit in with the local curriculum. This is an important issue, not just for US education as the globalization of education is the next logical step for people and corporations of this ilk.