A $2 Billion Annual Testing Business
On April 11, noted educational historian Diane Ravitch wrote on her blog: “In the late 1990s, when I was often in D.C., I noticed that the big testing companies had ever-present lobbyists to represent their interests. Why? Wasn’t the adoption of tests a state and local matter? NCLB changed all that, Race to the Top made testing even more consequential, and the new ESSA keeps up the mandate to test every child every year from grades 3-8. No other country does this? Why do we?” At least part of the answer to these questions may be found in an analysis showing that the four corporations which dominate the U.S. standardized testing market spend millions of dollars lobbying state and federal officials to fuel a nearly $2 billion annual testing business. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit watchdog agency that tracks corporate influence on public policy, Pearson Education, ETS (Educational Testing Service), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and McGraw-Hill spent more than $20 million lobbying in states and on Capitol Hill from 2009 to 2014.