So far this semester we have discussed how companies such as Nike, Apple and Enron have been able to define public opinion through hiring and manipulating their own regulators. What were to happen if these companies became the regulators? This is what Pearson is attempting to do.
Pearson, Inc. has devised a standardized test to determine whether college students perusing a degree in Education are prepared to start their mandatory semester of student teaching. This means the for-profit textbook publisher is attempting to become the regulator of a public domain, which is elementary and secondary public education.
What would happen if Ford were the group to issue driver’s licenses? Would it be ethical for a large corporation to approve lawyers? How would society change if corporations were in charge of approving public servants?
In issuing the test, the textbook company can define what public school teachers are required to know. This could seriously alter the face of public education, as teachers later choose which textbooks are used in their classrooms.
In the case of Barbara Madeloni, of the University of Massachusetts’ School of Education, a job was lost. Ms. Madeloni questioned the mandatory field test of the Teachers Performance Assessment and was fired from her position. It is not clear whether UMass stood to profit from issuing the test on Pearson’s behalf, but what is clear is that the test is gaining popularity due to a marketing campaign from Pearson.