I missed this story: Pearson is now including product placement in its tests.
Here is the post from The Answer Sheet blog in the Washington Post.
Pearson argues that they are using authentic texts and the trademarks are part of the original readings. In a recent third grade reading test for New York State, third graders read passages that included references to Legos and Mug Root Beer.
We recently gave the new reading test to students in Virginia, another Pearson product. As promised, there were many more non-fiction texts than literature.
Many more. And they were pulled from current media. And there is a reference to at least two major American products.
Teachers, of course, are forbidden to speak of what is on the tests. We are threatened with the loss of teacher credentialing. Pearson is threatened with.....?
I suppose if teachers reveal the test content Pearson might have to create new items and that would cut into their profits.
So you will have to ask your local public school student what they had to read about. I have an official gag order.
We used to read Emerson, Frost, excerpts from plays, short stories. No trademarks on them.
Who's dumbing up or down?
I think Noam Chomsky had something to say about our culture creating savvy consumers and not critical thinkers. "Too much democracy" can really get in the way of the indoctrination of young people into a "life of conformity."