Teachers group leads protest outside Common Core-linked publisher's conference

A national group that calls itself the "Badass Teachers Association" took to the streets of Portland, Ore., Tuesday to protest Common Core as textbook giant Pearson was sponsoring a major conference on student testing.

“Hey hey, ho ho, standardized testing's got to go,” members of the Northwest-based group chanted outside the Portland Hilton. The group, made up of teachers and parents, believes there is too much emphasis on standardized testing in schools, and blames in part corporations such as Pearson, the British curriculum giant they say lobbies for tests based on its lessons.

“This is about the unreal amount of testing these days,” David Richardson, a teacher at Prairie High School in Battle Ground, Wash., told The Oregonian. “At our high school, we had 1 1/2 months of testing and that disrupted school. All that test taking takes time away from students' learning.”

Pearson, however, only played a small role in the creation of Smarter Balanced tests, the new Common Core-aligned reading, math and writing tests given in Oregon and Washington. While the company does not administer or grade those tests, it does play a major role administering and grading the second-biggest Common Core test known as PARCC, given in 11 states.

Rick Stiggins, a testing expert who launched the annual conference 25 years ago, said  the group is misinformed in linking the conference to standardized testing. However, according to The Oregonian, the reason Badass Teachers protested the conference was that because Pearson bought rights to hold it it from Stiggins three years ago.

Pearson dominates the global education market in sales, but Stiggins says the publishing division is separate from the Pearson unit that now conducts the conference.

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