Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pearson's Product Placement: States Pay For Tests And Advertising?

The following comes from a New York Post exclusive, and some of their exclusives haven't been accurate lately, so there might be a bit more to this story. If true, it's yet another example of the Common Core's corporate nature:
At lest a half-dozen companies got an unexpected boost in marketing their brands to New York’s children this week — with free product placement on the state’s English exams.
Teachers and students said yesterday’s multiple-choice section of the eighth-grade tests name-dropped at least a handful of companies or products — including Mug Root Beer, LEGO and that company’s smart robots, Mindstorms.
IBM, the comic book and TV show “Teen Titans” and FIFA — the international soccer federation — were also mentioned in the test booklets, some of them with what educators referred to as out-of-place trademark symbols.

“I’ve been giving this test for eight years and have never seen the test drop trademarked names in passages — let alone note the trademark at the bottom of the page,” said one teacher who administered the exam.
I'm not too concerned that the tests mention Legos or the Teen Titans. I'm not sure there is a generic term for Legos; I'm not sure kids would understand the term "interlocking bricks." Superheroes are part of the public consciousness. Mentioning Robin or one of the other Teen Titans is no different than mentioning Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, or Bill Gates.

I have a larger  problem with logos being placed at the bottom of the page. The tests are paid for by tax dollars. States give corporations tax breaks; the corporations don't need free advertisements that are shown to a captive audience.

I wonder if the tests Pearson will write for South Dakota will mention Hy-Vee, Wall Drug, Sandford, or Citibank. We know they won't mention Chromebooks.

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