NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)- Pearson Education, a printing and publishing organization with 37,000 personnel in mor than 60 countries, has been officially launched in The Gambia. Australian education has adopted US-style standardised tests along with the practice of outsourcing chosen aspects of administering these tests to for-profit businesses. Standardised tests have extended been advocated by company interests in an try to make schools much more like firms that view education as a commodity with a measurable output. Representing the private sector on GPE’s 19 individual board is Amanda Gardiner, Head of International Affairs, Pearson.
Pearson alone spends about a million dollars a year on lobbying in the US. The market for school assessment, tutoring, test preparation services and supplemental content material supplies was worth $25 billion in the US by 2006. Julia Gillard was a strong supporter of the business model of education and oversaw the introduction of the My School site which is based on NAPLAN outcomes. Julia Gillard’s reputation for advertising enterprise-friendly education ‘reforms’ no doubt helped with her appointment as chair of the International Partnership for Education when she left Australian politics. I noted that it was hardly the only time Pearson has had problems with testing.
GPE is a partnership of developing countries, wealthy donor countries, multilateral institutions, civil society organizations, private foundations and the private sector aiming to coordinate the delivery of education about the globe. The US has surprisingly only contributed US$20 million, less than the combined contribution of Microsoft and Pearson. It is clear that corporations like Pearson have a lot to acquire from the corporate involvement in education. Many hold the conviction that a college education is important to a lucrative career.
It is much less clear that education will be improved by outsourcing educational activities to profit-making corporations. ALEC writes model legislation in educational policies that lend themselves toward privatizing public education and into the pockets of for-profit corporations. At that volume, Pearson will earn a minimum of $138 million in the first year of the contract.
Aside from going toward the corporate-model charter schools in the types of vouchers, per pupil funding and other particular financial packages, a lion’s share of the monies are going straight into the coffers of big textbook and testing publishing companies which includes Pearson. Connections Academy – ALEC’s private-sector chairwoman, Mickey Revenaugh, is a co-founder and executive vice president of the Baltimore-based Connections Academy, which operates on the internet classes in numerous states – not too long ago acquired by Pearson.