Parents Create Invoice to Showcase the True Cost of NYSED/Pearson’s “Stand-Alone” June Field Tests: $37, 991, 452

Invoice to Pearson-jpg

For Immediate Release

Parents Create Invoice to Showcase the True Cost of NYSED/Pearson’s “Stand-Alone” June Field Tests:
$37, 991, 452

“The State Education Department Should Be COLLECTING from Pearson, Not Handing Out Our Tax Dollars for Tests of Dubious Value!”

New York City – Concerned parents, who wonder why it should be assumed that their children would serve as uncompensated research subjects in a commercial R & D product development process, have drawn up a bill, payable to the people of New York State, for the creator of the stand-alone field tests, Pearson LLC.

To arrive at a “Balance Due” of $37,991,452, parents calculated the value of their children’s free labor, including the opportunity costs of lost instructional time and resources, and added these to the real costs to schools of administering the June tests. They unveiled the invoice at a press conference held in front of Tweed Courthouse on the morning of June 6th. At that time, they also announced that at least 37 New York City schools had parents opt their children out of the tests; on Long Island, more than 30 schools saw test refusals. Organizers were also aware of resistance at 4 schools in the Westchester and Hudson regions. [List of schools at end of this document.]

The design for the invoice, which originally enumerated only the services provided to Pearson by one child, emerged in the lead-up to 2012’s parent-coordinated campaign against the tests.  It encapsulated the resentment parents felt; their children were being inducted into a study without their parents’ informed consent, and without any direct benefit to the students or their schools. “If Pearson wants to use my daughter to ‘field test’ during the school day,” opined Brooklyn parent Johanna Henry, “they will have to pay us, and they need to get in touch with me in order to negotiate a fair price.  I will use the money to provide my child an enjoyable and relevant learning experience.’”

This year, as parents continue to fight the field tests, the invoice has been expanded to reflect that NYSED gives away to for-profit Pearson the services of 434,000 3rd through 8th graders (a number derived, in part, by assuming average class size). These services would be worth $32,550,000 (if child labor were legal), an amount roughly equal to the sum ($32,136,276) that New York State has contracted to pay Pearson for 5 years of test development. Moreover, the State essentially donates to Pearson the salaries of the teachers ($1,541,250) and assistant principals ($753,519) who coordinate and administer the tests.*

Former DOE analyst Fred Smith, who provided technical assistance with the invoice to parents from grassroots groups Change the Stakes and ParentVoicesNY, was alarmed. “Usually corporations and foundations make charitable contributions or donations to public institutions or to support public works,” said Smith.  “Here, SED has arranged it so that we, the client or end-users are giving away time, money and opportunity to the benefit of a private company.”

The invoice also includes a line for taxes that the state could be collecting from Pearson for its unreimbursed expenses. The tax bill alone comes in at more than $3 million, a scenario that especially rankles during a time when schools are being asked to do more with less. “Our schools are being cut to the bone, but city and state education officials always manage to find staggeringly large sums of money for all these tests and test prep materials,” claimed Sharmeela Mediratta, a Queens parent whose daughter did not take the field test.

Organizations who contributed to our list of 2013 field test opt outs include: Change the Stakes, ParentVoicesNY, Restore Education Funding – Nyack/Valley Cottage, Time Out From Testing, Long Island Opt Out (list in formation)

# # #

 Schools Where Parents are Participating in the Field Test Boycott

This list is growing, as not all schools have administered tests yet and we are not in touch with all schools where opt outs are happening. At this point there are 40 in NYC and at least 34+ outside of the city. (Long Island submitted the names of districts rather than individual schools, of which 30+ saw opt outs)

Schools in New York City

East Village Community School
Neighborhood School
Earth School
The Children’s Workshop
Institute for Collaborative Education
PS 75-Emily Dickinson
PS 87-William Sherman
PS 40-Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Ella Baker School
Central Park East I
PS 173
3 schools in District 3 who wish to remain anonymous
PS 8
PS 9 – Teunis G Bergen
PS 11 -Purvis J Behan
PS 132 – The Conselyea School
PS 257 – John F Hylan
PS 15 – Patrick F Daly
PS 29 – John M Harrigan
PS 39 – Henry Bristow
PS 58 – The Carroll School
MS 88 – Peter Rouget
PS 107 – John W Kimball
The Brooklyn New School
PS 154 – Magnet School for Science and Technology
PS 230 – Doris L Cohen
PS 261 – Philip Livingston
PS 295 – Studio School of Arts and Culture
PS 321 – William Penn
The Children’s School
New Voices Middle School
MS 447 – The Math and Science Exploratory School
MS 448 – Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies
PS 139 – Rego Park
JHS 157 – Stephen A Halsey
PS 122 – Mamie Fay
PS229-Emanuel Kaplan
PS 242- LP Stavisky Early Childhood

Outside New York City

Lenape Elementary, New Paltz, NY
New Paltz Middle School
Nyack Middle School
Upper Nyack Elementary School

Long Island Schools or Districts:

North Merrick
East Meadow
Bayport Blue Point
Middle Country
Hauppauge
Miller Place
Valley Stream Central High District 1
East Meadow
Seaford
Riverhead
Lynbrook
Northport
Bellmore Merrick
Mt. Sinai
East Islip
Sachem Samoset Brentwood UFSD
Middle Country

# # #

** Anatomy of a Giveaway

Invoice to Pearson:

Figuring that half a day will be devoted to the field tests and administrative logistics:

For half an AP’s daily salary = $753,519.  That’s 3,614 x $208.50.

For half a Teacher’s daily salary = $1,541,250.  That’s 12,330 x $125.00.