There are so many issues with America’s education system that it’s tough to pinpoint what exactly is going wrong, but there are two interconnected factors that are clearly contributing to its decline: corporate-based education and a fixation on standardized tests. You may or may not be aware that 45 states, including Oregon, have adopted a common set of educational standards, known as Common Core. There are plenty of alarming issues surrounding Common Core, but one of the most alarming is that a lot of the tests, materials, and planning are done by corporations.
These corporations have their fingers in all the educational pies, from writing standardized tests to running online charter schools. That means that schools that use their materials are teaching whatever the corporation wants them to, and not what teachers think is best for their students. And there are plenty of examples of how these materials show clear political and ideological bias that amounts to little more than indoctrination, such as a crossword puzzle that describes conservatism as the party that “restrict[s] personal freedom” and liberalism as believing in “equality and personal freedom for everyone” .
Education corporations also design the standardized tests that are forced upon our teachers and students. These expensive tests have little benefit to students, but they bring in a lot of money to the corporations . One of the largest corporations, Pearson Education, has recently introduced product placement in the standardized exam administered to students in New York. The test plugs brand names, like LEGO and Mug Root Beer, and their trademarks in test questions . Pearson says they didn’t get any money from mentioning these brands, but it’s surely just a matter of time.
Parents owe it to their kids to stay informed about what kinds of information students are being presented at school, because the more Common Core is implemented, the more control corporations will have over education.