Opinion
Education Funding Commentary

An Open Letter to Pearson

By Jacob Tanenbaum — June 04, 2013 1 min read

Dear Pearson and, by extension, McGraw-Hill, and the rest of the companies that produce standardized tests for our classrooms:

Schools all over New York state just finished giving the tests you designed for us. I read that you got $32 million for those. Wow.

Recently, my colleagues and I sat in a meeting at our school learning how to score the tests using your materials. I hear these products are really helpful, and lots of teachers I know who use your grading software to track tests say it’s really easy to work with, so thanks for selling all of it to us. New York state and its districts paid a lot of money to buy those tests and the accompanying resources we need to prepare our students and process the scores. You guys made a bundle, but I have one question for you: Can I have a little of that money back for my classroom?

See, I used to have a teaching assistant, but we can’t afford her anymore. Our librarian was laid off, and we don’t know who will maintain our collection in the years to come. The prekindergarten program was eliminated last year. Class sizes have been going up everywhere I look, and we hardly go on field trips anymore. Music and art are being cut in a neighboring district, and I’m worried about what else is in store for us. School budgets are not keeping up with rising operating costs as state aid and property taxes continue to shrink. So as the cost of testing mounts, cuts are made to classrooms like mine.

I know you have everyone convinced that we, teachers, should be held more accountable for student performance, but in trying to raise standards, you’ve managed to make a lot of money on testing, all of which has come out of classrooms like mine.

Here is a simple truth which you will have to learn and memorize, because there will be a test on it later when we are depending on the next generation to take care of us in our old age: Slashing music, art, library, field trips, and support staff from classrooms so money can go to your company and its shareholders isn’t going to help educate anyone.

For the good of the students, you must reconsider. This country can’t afford what you are doing to our schools and our children.

Signed,

A Teacher

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the June 05, 2013 edition of Education Week as An Open Letter to Pearson

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Special Education Teachers
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools
Elementary Teacher - Scholars Academy
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Funding Congress Could Go Big on COVID-19 Aid for Schools After Democrats Take Control
Education leaders hoping for another round of coronavirus relief might get their wish from a new Congress.
2 min read
The U.S. Capitol Dome
Sun shines on the U.S. Capitol dome, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/AP
Education Funding How Much Each State Will Get in COVID-19 Education Aid, in Four Charts
This interactive presentation has detailed K-12 funding information about the aid deal signed by President Donald Trump in December 2020.
1 min read
Education Funding Big Picture: How the Latest COVID-19 Aid for Education Breaks Down, in Two Charts
The massive package enacted at year's end provides billions of dollars to K-12 but still falls short of what education officials wanted.
1 min read
Image shows an illustration of money providing relief against coronavirus.
DigitalVision Vectors/iStock/Getty
Education Funding Education Dept. Gets $73.5 Billion in Funding Deal That Ends Ban on Federal Aid for Busing
The fiscal 2021 deal increases K-12 aid for disadvantaged students, special education, and other federal programs.
3 min read
FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2020, file photo, the Washington skyline is seen at dawn with from left the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol.
In this Nov. 8, 2020, file photo, the Washington skyline is seen at dawn with from left the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol. (File Photo-Associated Press)<br/>
J. Scott Applewhite/AP