I want to make sure you see Randi’s email below, and ask you to demand that Pearson Education stop the gag orders on its tests and engage with stakeholders!
Friday morning, I delivered Randi’s letter to Pearson Education at its annual shareholders meeting in London.
I can tell you firsthand, Pearson executives heard all of us. Our online petition delivered thousands of emails from AFT members and activists right to the executives’ inboxes―even as the meeting was underway.
Immediately after the meeting, Pearson’s CEO and board chair offered to sit down with us and address our concerns. It’s a good step, but it’s not enough. We have to make sure we end the gag orders and give educators, students and parents a genuine voice in the testing process.
It’s going to take real work to get rid of the gag orders and fix these tests, but we can do it with your help!
We’ve pushed forward in the first round, but this is a long way from over.
Read Randi’s email below for more information about this important fight.
AFT Chief of Staff
P.S. If you already signed the petition, please share it with a friend.
Right now—7AM ET on April 25th—the AFT’s chief of staff and one of our researchers are in London working to change the culture of high-stakes standardized testing here in America.
They’re attending the annual shareholders meeting of Pearson Education, the largest for-profit education, testing and book publishing company in the world, demanding that the company remove contractual “gag orders” that prevent educators from talking about Pearson’s tests, and asking Pearson to sit down with parents, teachers, principals and students to address legitimate concerns about these tests.
In New York, teachers and principals who administered Pearson’s Common Core-related assessments have raised red flags about test content that isn’t age-appropriate and doesn’t align with student learning. But, because of a gag order written into the contract, educators are forbidden from discussing the content or quality of the tests—they can’t even tell parents what’s on the test their children are taking.
There are many other examples like this across the country.
The gag orders don’t help students learn or help schools improve—their only obvious purpose is to protect the corporation’s interests. That’s not right. Pearson’s secretive tests have huge consequences for students and their families, teachers, schools and communities. The tests need to assess what students have learned—they need to be accurate, properly aligned and fair. That’s why transparency is so important and this gag order is so wrong.
Our children are not test scores, and our teachers are not algorithms. We need to stop this testing fixation, change the culture of high-stakes testing and hold the corporations that are profiting from these tests accountable. The Pearson shareholders meeting is a perfect time to demand that Pearson be accountable to our schools and communities. Pearson’s gag order is not in the best interests of children, teachers or schools.
Educators know what our children need in the classroom. Their voices should be respected by the companies paid by public dollars to create and score tests, not silenced by gag orders.
I hope you’ll stand with us,
P.S. You can read the full letter we delivered to Pearson’s board here.