Pearson Gets Bad Press for Its “Unaligned” Common Core ELA Materials
Where there is Common Core, there will be publishers marketing “Common Core aligned” materials.
And, as one might expect, there will be organizations ready to grade the alignment of those marketed, Common-Core-aligned materials.
Turns out that Pearson, a company that counted on profits generated by America’s Common Core situation, did not fare well at all when it came to an EdReports.org review of Pearson’s Reading Street Common Core materials, as EdWeek reports:
The first round of ELA ratings, released today, were generally more positive than the math ratings have been—however, they were mixed overall. Of the seven instructional series analyzed, three completely met the benchmarks for being considered aligned to the Common Core State Standards for reading and three partially met them. Just one textbook series—Pearson’s Reading Street Common Core for grades 3-6—was deemed fully unaligned. …
Pearson, which had one curriculum that met expectations and one that failed altogether, did not return requests for comment by deadline. …
There’s no precise way to determine how much of an impact EdReports.org is having on local curriculum decisions. But the website, which is free for all users, is approaching 1 million page views, according to Hirsch. And about 150 districts have reached out to the group for help using the reviews. [Emphasis added.]
Now, when it comes to EdReports.org, Common Core material reviewer, funding sources should be taken into account. As noted on the EdReports.org website:
EdReports.org is funded by Broadcom Corporation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Samueli Foundation, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, and the Stuart Foundation.
It seems that the Gates funding of EdReports comes through Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors:
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc.
Date: August 2015
Purpose: to provide operating support for EdReports to enable them to build their core priorities of publishing reviews of instructional materials, and to grow their operations and capacity to include teacher feedback of such materials
Topic: K-12, K-12 Education
Program: United States
Grantee Location: New York, New York
Grantee Website: http://www.rockpa.org
As one might expect, not all are pleased with EdReports’ reviews of so-termed “Common-Core-aligned” materials; however, what is interesting is that companies positioned to make a buck (or millions of bucks) peddling Common Core materials are themselves being subjected to the end-all grading and rating that is a cornerstone of corporate reform.
Of course, a principal irony is that Common Core itself was not even graded as being superior to all state standards it replaced, even though such grading (and shady grading it was, indeed) was accomplished by one of the principal Common Core cheerleader orgs, the Fordham Institute. Add to that irony the fact that Fordham Institute published its Common-Core-promoting grading just one month after Common Core was officially adopted (CC adopted June 2010, Fordham Institute grading published July 2010). However, the icing on the Common Core cake is that 46 state governors and those of three US territories signed their states over to Common Core by June 2009— one year before there was even an official, Common Core final product to examine.
So, aligning materials to Common Core is one issue. Whether or not such alignment should be desired, well, no one with the authority to do so bothered with that question before making the Common Core bandwagon jump.
However, no one behind Common Core need question The Core Itself; those “unaligned” materials are there to bear the brunt of any perceived lack of success, which ties in nicely with placing any Common Core fault in the category of “faulty implementation.”
As for Pearson and its terrible Common-Core-alignment press from EdReports: I can’t imagine it is happy with the negative press, given that Pearson shares are down and that it has resorted to “restructuring” (i.e., notable layoffs) to try to recover.
No statement from Pearson just yet on the matter. However, by way of some lovely elevator music in the interim, I leave you with this September 2015 Washington Post article featuring my chapter on Pearson from my book, Common Core Dilemma– Who Owns Our schools?, complete with response from Don Kilburn, president of Pearson North America, and counter-response from me.