AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - Dozens of UMass students and faculty say that the interest of private corporations is influencing public education, and one educator says her fight may come at the cost of her job at the University.
Dr. Barbara Madeloni has been a lecturer at UMass Amherst for nine years. Last Spring, Dr. Madeloni and 67 of her students boycotted a Teacher Performance Assessment pilot program sponsored by Pearson; one of the country's largest textbook publishers.
Dr. Madeloni says that having the University require Pearson's involvement in evaluating students is about making money. Today, she was part of a "teach-in" at the Student Union.
"Curriculum is now being driven by testing and the outcomes that we need to get from testing. There are enormous profits in the public education sphere," Madeloni said.
Rachel Hoogstraten was one of those who resisted the teacher performance assessments.
"Students would have been required to pay $300 directly to Pearson, a private corporation, in order to submit their work for grading, essentially for licensure," Hoogstraten said. "Even though we weren't asked to pay a cost, we were looking out for the students that come after us."
Dr. Madeloni says that her resistance to the pilot program led to the University giving her a non-renewal letter, 16 months before her contract expires.
Students and educators have signed a petition hoping to get the lecturer re-instated. So far, they have collected more than 1,800 signatures.