Pearson to become the gate-keeper for student teachers in Illinois.


Sandra Deines (center).

-By Sandra Deines. Sandra is a member of the Skokie Organization of Retired Educators IEA Retired and a retired Park Ridge high school teacher.

Starting this fall Pearson will be in the business of deciding who becomes a teacher in the state of Illinois. 

The Illinois State Board of Education has adopted a rule that designates Pearson’s “edTPA” as the means by which student teachers will be evaluated and granted certification. 

As the fall semester begins, all student teachers in the state will be required to pay an extra $300 (on top of the tuition they are already paying) and arrange for videotaping so that they can submit a lengthy narrative that covers the planning, execution and evaluation of a series of lessons with one of their classes as well as a ten-minute video of themselves carrying out their lesson with a class.

Student teachers are required to get parent permission for their children to be video-taped.

Pearson owns the video.

Once submitted to Pearson, an “evaluator” will apply rubrics and 2-3 hours of their time to decide whether or not the student teacher “passes” and can be licensed to teach by the State of Illinois.

That’s right—no longer will the evaluations of cooperating teachers, university field instructors and education professors determine the success of a student teacher. 

Sounds like a nightmare?

It’s not – it’s really happening! How can it be changed? The ISBE can be required to make a rule change that makes other means by which to evaluate student teachers available.

A coalition of teacher educators have formed the Coalition for edTPA Rule Change ( , which is working on all fronts- state legislators, parent activist groups, educators – to get a hearing on this matter before the Committee.

You can help the Coalition by contacting your state senators and representatives about edTPA and share with the parents (and grandparents) of school children that they can refuse to have them video-taped.

And as IEA-Retired members, we should demand that the IEA take a stand against edTPA.

Check out the Coalition website for more information and talking points.

59 thoughts on “Pearson to become the gate-keeper for student teachers in Illinois.

      1. “Pearson” is not a “she”; they’re a textbook publisher. That’s right folks. Your prospective educators in the state of Illinois are being selected by the company that sells textbooks to your local schools. Step #1 toward privatizing education in the state of Illinois. Just wait, soon the Republicans will have you paying to send your kids to school….all the education you can afford, people.

      2. Alicia Sutfin – Republicans?! This is clearly a direct result of the Common Core standards. Pearson is one of the largest supporters of Common Core aligned textbooks. These “auditions” are obviously a way of vetting the most Common Core aligned educators.

  1. Reblogged this on Reclaim Reform and commented:
    A foreign owned corporation (Pearson) that takes our education tax money overseas and does not pay American taxes will decide who teaches what in Illinois. Our Republican and Democrat politicians have gone mad as they dismantle public education and America.

    1. Ken you are right on about this..
      It’s a National disgrace that a very corrupt overseas billion dollar Pearson Corporation is controlling our curriculum, testing, teachers, students, professors, entrance exams, doctorate exams etc..They are largely owned by Libyan Investment Authority ..The son of Mohammad Khadafe.
      And our Politicians from both parties are in bed with them promoting this travesty on our country.

  2. New York State now uses edTPA. It’s a ridiculous nightmare. Years ago, New York rescinded its videotape requirement for licensure because of the many problems with this — video can be gamed; watching the videos took too long. And, Pearson pays the evaluator’s only $75 for their time. What professionals would want to do that much work for such a low hourly wage. What a boondoggle.

  3. This is terrible! Who decided this, slipping this by with most of us not even aware this was happening. No one should have to send a tape that is kept by Pearson or anyone else. What about teachers who are licensed in other states and move to Illinois? Will they have to go through this to teach here? What makes Pearson qualified to do this? Is this a law or is this an arbitrary decision by a bureaucrat?

      1. This was not the Republican governor’s doing. It has been planned for the past couple years to start this fall before Rauner took office.

    1. My son has a California certificate and is trying to get a job in Illinois. He was born in Il and graduated from an Il high school. He was told he would have to student teach again because they would not take his PACT from CA and HAD to do the edTAP. We should be paying people to move to Illinois! Crazy!

  4. Just what is it that makes Pearson more capable of evaluating a student teacher than the professionals who have worked with the student? It sounds like a scam to turn out clones based on Pearson’s rubric of pedagogy. Now all teacher ed programs will have to make sure they are based on Pearson produced or approved resources.

    1. Interesting extension of the need to “teach to the test.” When did we decide someone ranking above the ed world could manipulate in this manner? All I can do…having already spent over 60 years as pupil, student, teacher….is sadly shake my head….

    2. I’m curious about that too. Is the Pearson evaluator a certified administrator with evaluation training? What are the credentials of the evaluators?

      1. While I know that leaving this comment will get me crucified, I wanted to respond to the question about “who are the edTPA evaluators?”. To qualify to be an edTPA scorer, one must either be a teacher in that content who has worked with student teachers, a university faculty or staff member who works in teacher preparation in that content area, or a nationally certified board member in that content area. You must then undergo and pass a rigorous 20+ hour training process. The training process and protocol are designed and controlled by Stanford University, specifically the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE). In fact, the edTPA in its entirety is authored and controlled by SCALE. Pearson is the operational partner. To address another issue, Pearson does not own the videos; they belong to the teacher candidates who submit them and there is a very strict protocol surrounding their use. I am all for discussion about this issue but let’s make sure we know all the facts and are discussing them accurately. I would encourage those reading to explore more about the content of the assessment itself and separate that from the discussion of high stakes assessments in teacher preparation. They are two different issues and should be treated as such.

      2. Elisa,
        Nobody gets crucified on this site.
        Most of those who have commented fall into two categories: student teachers who have gone through the experience of being evaluated by edTPA or college and university faculty who work with student teachers.
        Out of over 30,000 people who have visited the post about edTPA almost none have commented that it was a positive experience.
        That is data also. Their experiences are part of the facts people should know as well as what you have contributed.

      3. Elisa, I am sorry, but I know enough about Pearson and it’s testing (I’ve been a proctor for their nationalized testing for certification in other areas as well as taught using their texts and other materials and as a student) to know that:
        1) they show NO attention to detail (simple grammatical and spelling errors are the norm rather than the exception in undergrad and graduate level texts)
        2) their only concern is their bottom line and
        3) I do not want them in possession of anything with my image in it, regardless of who ‘owns’ it.

  5. This is so problematic for new professionals…like the infamous “stress interview” on steroids. And I agree it makes the whole system connect to Pearson for the “test-prep” and materials as well. An expensive and foolhardy move that needs to be undone.

  6. I just keep wondering how long before we are all wearing Pearson booty shorts as part of our required teaching attire.

  7. So experienced educators aren’t qualified to evaluate?
    By the way they probably do pay taxes here if they make $. Much harder for service type companies (they are not manufacturing anything, little physical plant etc) to play the tax games international corps play. They do play them, much smaller scale. Good point though, why does a foreign owned company have so much sway in the education system? Who’s watching them?

  8. We have all been taught that students should be evaluated using a number of measures rather than one high stakes snapshot in order to obtain a well rounded assessment. This certainly flies in the face of that theory, as does most ed reform practice. The economic loss to the state and its schools is just plain stupid.

  9. Make sure you know the whole story before indicting the whole thing. The edTPA was created at Stanford by people like Linda Darling-Hammond and has been used in several states for 10 years. Pearson is simply administering the portfolio assessment. It was the State of Illinois legislature that decided to make it consequential to licensure instead of letting university teacher educators making the final decision on licensure. I don’t oppose the assessment necessarily but rather the high stakes nature of it. Illinois and NY are the only two states out of over 30 who are using the edTPA in this way.

    1. I don’ see what you have added to the story other than this bad practice comes from Stanford by “people like Linda Darling-Hammond.” Does that mean that the people are like her? Or that she helped develop it? Either way. Who cares? I don’t determine best practice by endorsements.

    2. Oy–are you the same Tim (& who are you, Tim? People on Ravitch have asked, but you never reply. Bet you’re not an educator & one who knows very little about public ed.) who is constantly making contradictory comments on Diane Ravitch’s Blog? Please spare us, Tim. In addition to being harmful & useless–right, “Pearson is simply administering the portfolio assessment”–the very bottom line hers is–well, PEAR$ON’$ “bottom line.” You know, more ka-CHING for Pear$on?! Most everyone I know has absolutely had it w/all the education $$$$$… absolutely WA$TED on the unregulated, held-accountable-for-nothing, monopolizing Pear$on Corporation, which is, contrary to its slogan, ALWAY$ Earning, & NEVER Learning. No–it is NOT just the aspects of “the high stakes nature of it.” It is the blatant disregard for all public education (& now, higher education)–students, parents, teachers & everyone–and the absolute greed of Pear$on. In the meantime, to combat this latest BS, since parents have to sign a release form to have their children videotaped, I would recommend that parents go the route of opting out, same as state tests–REFUSE to sign releases to have your children videotaped!
      Again, time to organize/have hugomongous marches on all the Pear$on campuses (as Class Size Matters did in Manhattan in 2011) to point the finger at the real perps, here. Last but not least, who wants to make a bet that Arne gets some cu$$hy job here at the Glenview campu$ when his term is up? (While his children at U. of C. Lab School are exempt from their rotten te$t$ & videotaping!!)

    3. And Eugenics came from Harvard : “The American eugenics movement came into being primarily through the efforts of Charles Benedict Davenport, a biologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard University. While at Harvard as an instructor in the 1890s, Davenport became familiar with the early eugenicist writings of two Englishmen, the independently wealthy Francis Galton and his protégé Karl Pearson.” Same Pearson family? I wonder.

      1. Oh, good grief! That would be interesting…. I love a good conspiracy theory. Seriously, I am not belittling your comment… but it could be the same social engineering issues, just a century later….

      2. Point being because it came from Stanford doesn’t make it a good idea. If it’s the same Pearson family doesn’t make it a conspiracy theory.

    1. Yep, anon, & also to turn all our kids “career ready,” meaning WalMart career ready. (& this new situation would include our student teachers, as well–much as Pear$on bought the G.E.D. publishers–& now more are failing the G.E.D.s than ever–bet this will cause greater failure rates, as well, giving prospective teachers an opportunity to NOT teach, but become…WalMart workers, as well). Nice collusion, Pear$on, Waltons, Broads, Gates, Kochs & ALEC.

  10. I am glad Tim told everyone about Linda Hammond Darling’s complicity with Pearson. Hopefully someday someone will write an expose of how much $$$$ LDH and Stanford got from Pearson. EdTPA is one reason I retired. Why should any professor use their specialized knowledge to develop curriculum? You have to follow the Pearson curriculum, and even though you may be in the school mentoring the student teacher (oops corporate speak is teacher candidate), not only do you not get a chance to make the final assessment, you have no idea who is? Where they live and work? Do they have knowledge and expertise in urban underfunded schools? Disgraceful.

  11. So troubling, yet with the ISBE behind it completely unsurprising. Students should avoid a path in education at all costs. Local BOEs live for micromanagement of and contempt for teachers. Crazy assessments now link evaluation to often impossible scores on tests. Unfunded mandates from the ISBE populate curriculum. Education is one industry where EVERYONE portends to be an expert: the attorney on the BOE, the Secretary of Ed who never taught, the governor whose contempt for educators is papable.

  12. I think the portfolio is one measurement of the proficiency of a student teacher along with ongoing conversations with a field instructor and classroom teachers. multple forms of measurement will bring about the best teacher practices. janet ronk, retired michigan state university college of education

    1. Nope. If the evaluator doesn’t pass the “edtpa” no certificate.
      “Cooperating teacher who gets to have no say in final grade even if student teacher was excellent and Pearson based curricula and theory do not work in special Ed situations! ” already happening!

  13. Okay, I would like to know who Pearson is in bed with. I am so tired of everything that they have control of including push PARCC in Illinois and the other states that are using this assessment. They appear to be controlling everything we do in education.

    What ISBE needs to do is start listening to the educators and not the companies. At least we still know it is about the students success and not the money.

    We need a state committee that is comprised of all levels of educators, state personnel, and law makers to make informed decisions and not a dinner or golf game to decide the direction we move in.

    ISBE needs to be ran be someone that has worked in education and has a working knowledge of the works of school districts.

  14. Homeless with a 3rd grade education? YOU can become an evaluator for Pearson classroom tests and student teacher evaluations. Speed is of an essence we don’t give a sh@t how well they are prepared just how many can you grade per/ minute. A&% hole corps. are taking over everything.

  15. Is there an expensive, excruciatingly difficult battery of tests, portfolios, plus a lengthy video audition that some prestigious university, independent research organization, or maybe Pearson have devised for candidates who aspire to become the State’s educational leaders? Bulls#*t “news” interviews, campaign ads, frequent appearances on Chicago Tonight, NPR, or pure propaganda dung from corporate media outlets can’t be added to their curriculum vitae. It’s high time that Illinois’ educational leaders on the ISBE get a dose of their own medicine in the hopes that they may sober from the more frequently occurring drunken stupors that produce such sublime stupidities as this “edtpa.” There’s no other way to explain rationally the destruction that these wannabe Attila, the Huns are wreaking on public education, hence American civilization. A modest proposal: Require these intoxicated idiots to take a version of “running the gauntlet” that they’re forcing student teachers to undergo; and for good measure, require them to pay handsomely for the privilege. Damn, what the hell is the matter with the wasted blobs of DNA that comprise the ISBE???

  16. So what will be done to stop this from happening? Is there something we can do? Complaining is easy but actually doing something is the answer. Please post where and how we can stop this from happening!

    1. There is a link in the post to the Coalition that is organizing against this and, as you say, doing more than complaining. They provide a petition to sign and you should contact your state legislator and the Illinois State Board of Education. But since most of this has been going on under the radar, complaining loudly and in public is not a bad thing either.

  17. In Wisconsin, many many teachers taking the reading test are flunking getting a score that is just under the “pass” grade. It’s $155 in Pearsons pocket everytime the teacher has to retake the test and they don’t give much feedback at all. I know a teacher who is working full time, taking 9 masters degree credits at the same time and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He is an excellent teacher and writer, yet he has “flunked” the Pearson test by 2-4 points twice now, as had many of his fellow teachers. This doesn’t pass the smell test in my opinion and seems like a Pearson money grab. Has anyone else had this experience?

    1. Yes. Part of the problem is that the content test for reading is based on the 1998 standards from the ILA. There have been two iterations of the standards since 1998 (2003 and 2010), but the content test remains the same.

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