" High stakes testing is one of the most divisive issues in education just now, and it is becoming increasingly clear that for many parents it is not just their children’s scores that are at stake, but their privacy.
At the center of the row is the world’s biggest education company. Ranged against them is a coalition of teacher unions, non-profits and – perhaps most crucially – parents.
Parental grievances over testing have been mounting for some time, but bubbled over last week at the annual meeting of the multinational education and publishing company Pearson.
The FTSE and NYSE listed company, headquartered in London, administers many of the tests used in U.S. high schools and U.K. state schools, as well as publishing widely-used textbooks.
A key accusation levelled by objectors lobbying the meeting was that Pearson is at the vanguard of attempts to commercialize and privatize education.
According to campaign group Global Justice Now, Pearson’s promotion of private schools in the global south, supported by taxpayer-funded aid money is at odds with every child’s right to a free education.
“There is significant evidence to show that private education, even when ‘low cost’, ultimately increases segregation and marginalization in society because access and quality depend on ability to pay,” said Nick Dearden, the group’s director. But the company has also come under fire for monitoring the social media accounts of students taking part in high stakes tests."...
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