Fox News host Bill O’Reilly asked Glenn Beck this week why Republicans like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would support Common Core, a controversial new set of educational standards, if they didn’t believe it was in the best interests of the children.
On Thursday, Beck said he believes he received the answer from Kathleen Jasper, a former assistant principal in Florida who recently quit her job in protest of what she sees as destructive changes in America’s education system. While she describes herself as liberal, Jasper said she and Beck agree on many things when it comes to education.
In the end, Jasper said on Beck’s television program, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can be persuaded to support an inferior product if there is enough of a financial incentive. In this case, Jasper said much of it can be traced back to Pearson, the company behind many of the standardized tests in Florida and nationwide.
“Pearson has a very large lobby, so they lobby our legislators to pass laws that make it so that more tests have to be generated,” Jasper explained. “The more tests that are generated, the more money they’re going to make.”
Jasper said Pearson — which also gets involved in political campaigns — makes between $15 and $30 per student, per test administered. In her district alone, there are 80,000 students required to take the standardized tests, and roughly forty percent fail the first time, and have to take them again.
It reached the point before she quit, Jasper said, that students were spending between a third and half their time at school just taking tests.
“The amount of instructional time was lost. There were no activities being done. Students were missing out on arts and electives that were really important to their development,” she said. “And the logistics behind the tests and the standards — we couldn’t keep up. Our infrastructure cannot keep up with the amount of testing that is happening.”
Jasper said students used to have to take one comprehensive test in order to graduate high school, but now lawmakers have ordered individualized subject tests.
“Where there was one, now there’s six,” she said, reiterating that a huge percentage do not pass the first time.
“And Pearson is paid for those,” Beck responded. “There’s your answer. There’s your answer. Always follow the money.”
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