Who Can We Boycott?: Who Benefits From or Invests in Pearson and Teach for America?

Who Can We Boycott?: Who Benefits from or Invests in Pearson and Teach for America?.

Common Core’s Corporate Relations with Pearson and Teach for America (TFA)

by Michelle Maher, Ph.D.

Diane Ravitch’s new book Reign of Error outlines how hedge fund managers and investment advisors have organized a corporate takeover of public education, with dismal results. This blog points to which organizations that have invested in the Common Core/Race to the Top educational reforms. In other words, it names the organizations who have a financial stake or relationship with Pearson and Teach for America, two central aspects of the high-stakes testing and the replacement of teachers.

AT&T—donor for Teach for America

Bank of America—Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

Bertelsman (and by extension Time Warner, Sony, BMG)—Pearson Board Member’s Corporate Relationship

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—Pearson Board Member’s Corporate Relationship

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona—donor for Teach for America

British Petroleum—Pearson Board Member’s Corporate Relationship

Cisco—Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

Citigroup, Citibank, CitiCorp —Pearson Board Member’s Corporate Relationship

Coca-Cola Foundation—Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

Credit Suisse Americas Foundation—Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

General Mills Foundation—donor for Teach for America

Goldman Sachs Gives—donor for Teach for America

ExxonMobil Foundation—donor for Teach for America

FedEx Corporation—donor for Teach for America

Fidelity Investments/Internation—Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

Freddie Mac Foundation—donor for Teach for America

The Hartford—donor for Teach for America

Hellman Family Foundation—donor for Teach for America

Hewlett-Packard—donor for Teach for America

Hostess Brands—Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

JPMorgan Chase—donor for Teach for America

Lowe’s—Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

Monsanto—donor for Teach for America

Morgan Stanley—donor for Teach for America

Nokia Corporation —Pearson Board Member’s Corporate Relationship

Pearson: Always Learning

Penguin Random House —Pearson Board Member’s Corporate Relationship

PGA Tour—donor for Teach for America

Power-GEn—Pearson Board Member’s Corporate Relationship

Seventh Generation—Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

SurveyMonkey—Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

Symantec Foundation—donor for Teach for America

U.S. Bank—donor for Teach for America

Wells Fargo—Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. —Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

Visa, Inc. —Corporate Partner/Sponsor/Supporter/Investor with TFA

Yale University—donor for Teach for America

For all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts on TFA click here.

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  • Monty J. Thornburg, Ph.D.

    CNN- Sunday, December 15. – Fareed Zakaria
    Secretary of Education and the “The PISA”

    It was reported by Sec. Duncan that according to the (PISA) the “Program for International Student Assessment” that we have an American “Wake up call” and we need to decide what to do about U.S. Education. According to the PISA America is ranked: 17th in Reading; 21st in Science; 26th in Math.

    Fareed Zakaria’s “distinguished panel” included: Joel Kline, former NYC Schools Chancellor; On November 30, 2010; Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post wrote: “The current wave of education reform based on “data” and “accountability” hasn’t done much to improve public schools, but it sure is helping improve the balance sheets of a lot of for-profit companies.” She was referring to an arrangement between Bloomberg, Murdoch and he as CEO.

    This is but just one more case of Neo-liberals joining Neo-conservatives like former Sec. of Education Wm. Bennett and for profit K-12.

    Joel Klein acknowledged that he now “owns” an e-tech education company, I guess as “full disclosure” during the broadcast, likely required from a legal point of view.
    Joel Klein’s first statement at the outset, however, was a SHOT ACROSS the BOW, in my opinion, to “Cloaking Inequity” and those of us concerned with inequity in education and the effects of “privatization” on public education in the 21st Century.

    Joel Klien’s statement at the outset when Fareed Zakaria asked him to “frame the conversation” -in effect- by asking the question: What is the big takeaway from these PISA accountability results? Joel Kline’s response was:
    1. “PISA Measures the skills students will need in the future” that, “the Market will demand” in the international economy.
    2. “This failure is not a problem with poor children, or, children overall who grow up in deprived environments.”

    I found his second statement stunningly insensitive and myopic given the $Billions of dollars he’s attempting to earn through his for profit, educational enterprise! His first statement, of course, argues for the “new” CC Assessments pushed by Arne Duncan that will help the “monopolies” that include, Pearson Corporation’s led, CSSS- Smarter Balance that covers 26 states, and the other monopoly, CCSS- PARCC Assessment covering the rest of the states.

    One Blog comment on a CCSS group points to danger: The contributor wrote:
    “The things that are different are that the standards are relatively untested; that they are being implemented in a great many places at once, very quickly; and that the assessments, while innovative, are untested, computer-based, and being implemented way, way too fast. (I predict that at least some state’s test rollout is going to crash and burn. I hope I’m wrong.)”

    Do these concerns sound familiar, as with the “OBAMA CARE” on-line start?

    It seems to me that the Administration and business allies can’t move quickly enough to justify the “inequity” that is being “cloaked” through their interlocked relationships and arrangements.

    The other three “power house panel” to use Fareed’s description of them included, Sal Khan, of the Khan Academy Founder. The other two panelists were: TFA’s Wendy Kopp and of course, Freed’s partner on issues with “The World is Flat” Tom Freidman.

    It was so interesting to see the photographs where Tom Freidman and Wendy Kopp had to traveled together China to visit and “investigate” what is reportedly according to them the “top” k-5 elementary school in the world. They made a comparison with the reportedly best American K-5 elementary school in Massachusetts and their final analysis was a stunning case of nepotism in my opinion. That is, their conclusions, based on a photo op visit to China was the same as co-authored and Stigler’s comparative education studies in “The Learning GAP” and “The Teacher GAP” and conclusions found in those two books as mentioned above in this Blog:

    Note: Just four days after the broadcast on CNN, on December 19th the Washington Post reported that:

    There’s, “some education news that you don’t hear every day: The Pittsburgh school board is rescinding a $750,000 contract with Teach For America, and keeping open an elementary school slated to be shuttered. The board’s four new members, taking a new reform tact, drove the decision to drop the contract by a 6-2 vote with one abstention!


  • Pingback: Get Up, Stand Up: Boycott FedEx for their Hypocrisy and Support of TFA | Cloaking Inequity

  • Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Apple, Verizon and Spring offer free 4G service to corps members. Last Fall, J.C. Penney was soliciting customers for their “Charity of the Month”… it was TFA.


  • As the holiday season approaches: Coach, Build-A-Bear, Subaru, State Farm Insurance.


  • Julian: Thanks for the reposting.

    Monty, I am working on a complete list of the network of corporate/non-profit relationships, and hope to post it in a pic that is easy to disseminate…. So we can hone in on the targets and also do what you are doing: change the culture enough to disempower the take-over. The full list is very, very long. There are so many small businesses and non-profits, for example. I worry people will over look the list itself since these organizations do not have name recognition. Further, a boycott of them would have little effect, since the public is not the primary consumers. Monty, you have given me an idea to make a separate list of educational resources/materials to boycott. inBloom would fit into that as well.. and of course, ipads and this mac I am typing on…


  • Monty J. Thornburg, Ph.D.

    Explanation: Research too, is “privatized” and made out to be something it’s not! Again, my opinion! “Best Practices” “Research based solutions” etc., be careful!

    Several years back, Pearson bought LessonLab from its founder, James W. Stigler. Pearson uses one of his books, ”The Teaching GAP” and recommends reading its first chapter. Does Pearson interpret it differently than the author/researcher?

    Stigler clearly believes that “teaching” NOT “teachers” is the problem with how to “fix” education, (see interview questions below) yet, Pearson and TFA and others in the Corporate World seem to believe differently! (From an interview on-line.)

    Question to Stigler: What are the implications of your findings with regard to improving the quality of teaching?

    There are three ways to improve the quality of teaching that students experience:

    get better teachers;

    improve the competence of existing teachers; and,

    improve the teaching methods that teachers use.

    The first way, getting better teachers or getting different people to teach, is the most common policy recommendation today, and yet I think it should be the least important. If there’s no mechanism for improving the methods of teaching, just getting better teachers in the classroom may give us a bump in achievement in the short run but it can’t possibly lead to long-term improvement of the sort you have in medicine, for example.

    Medicine has improved over the past 100 years, but it’s not because you have smarter people deciding to become doctors. What has made medical care better is the growth of the professional knowledge base in medicine. I’m not against having smarter people teaching–that would be good–but I don’t see how that gets us into a gradual improvement of teaching.

    The second way of improving teaching is to improve the competence of the teachers who are in the classroom now. The problem with that is, when we look through our videos, we see many examples of teachers very competently implementing methods of teaching that are not very effective.

    That leads to the third way, which is how do we improve the teaching methods that teachers use? That’s really what’s different between the countries in our study. It’s not the competence of the teachers, it’s the method they use–the average teaching method. If we want to improve teaching, we need to find a way to improve the average method teachers use. If we could just make it 10 percent better, that would affect millions of children.

    Question to Stigler: So rather than looking at a heroic teacher model for improvements, you’re saying, “What can we do to help all teachers use better methods, better procedures, and better techniques?”

    Right. When you go to the doctor, you don’t have to go to a celebrity doctor to get the benefits of the best practices in medicine. Why shouldn’t teaching be the same?

    Now, changing teaching methods is not like changing the maintenance procedure for a jet engine, where it is often just a matter of replacing pages in a large maintenance manual. Teaching is very different. Teaching is a cultural activity, and so changing teaching is going to follow the principles of cultural change, where you are dealing with implicit routines that just fire off automatically. That means the changes we identify have to be small ones–incremental changes–because that is the way culture changes.

    What is encouraging about this new study is that it shows you can get high achievement from different teaching systems. What that means for a teacher who’s been exposed to three different methods used by successful teachers, is that the teacher can choose the one that best fits his or her personal teaching system. That’s the one that’s going to be sustainable. If you tell teachers to do something that doesn’t fit within their cultural system, that’s not sustainable.

    Here’s a real example. After reading our book, The Teaching Gap, a teacher wrote me a letter, saying, “I found it very interesting that the Japanese teachers have students struggle with a problem before they teach them how to solve it. We never do that. We teach them how to solve it first, and then let them work on examples.”

    She said, “I’m a very traditional teacher–I just get up and lecture–but I decided to try something after reading your book. I now start my lessons by letting students try to solve it on their own, and then give my lecture.” She said this small change had worked brilliantly for her. She saw a huge change in motivation and engagement in her students.

    That’s an example of how cultural change can work. You don’t go to this teacher and say, “Stop teaching the way you’re teaching.” She can’t do that. But if you go to her with an idea, and she sees how to fit it into her cultural script, then it will be sustainable. It’s a small change but it’s the kind of change that will improve teaching over time–provided you also have a way to capture that change and share it with other teachers.


  • Monty J. Thornburg, Ph.D.

    Boycott Lessonlab! Set up by Pearson to justify all this “testing” and “privatization” from a research point of view! e.g., the bought and paid for, otherwise legitimate research! My opinion!


  • JCrew donates to Teach for America too.


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