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Protest at the McGraw-Hill Awards Ceremony

On January 29th, about 15 activists met at the New York Public Library to "meet and greet" the education elite as they entered in tuxedos and high heels to attend the McGraw-Hill Education Awards Banquet. Though this was a very last- minute event, our group consisted of some local students and some parents from the Parents' Consortium to Stop High Stakes Testing. Apparently, McGraw-Hill also found out about our event at the last minute, and went to the nomoretests.com site over 90 times in the two days before the event. We specifically targeted McGraw-Hill in an attempt to expose their mega-profiteering as a result of the recent increase in standardized testing. We held a 20 foot "No More Tests" banner and passed out small "Awards in Miseducation" explaining that it was not the award recipients that we were protesting, but McGraw-Hill themselves.

Students protesting the tests

Within an hour or two, we had become strangely friendly with many of the McGraw-Hill executives, one of whom took a packet of information from us and agreed to share it with the CEO. I hung around the area until the participants were leaving, distributing info to those who didn't already have it. Towards the very end, as the VP saw me approaching Harold McGraw II, he frantically offered to give him the flyer to save even further embarassment, and put a flyer through his limo window at the last minute. When one of the parents who attended was at a meeting the next day with Charlotte Frank, a McGraw-Hill executive who is also on the New York Board of Regents, she apparently could not even talk to them she was so frustrated by our last-minute action.

Why We Prostested

On January 29, over 250 business leaders, bureaucrats and education elites attended the awards ceremony to salute three of McGraw-Hill's latest pro-testing and pro-business leaders. McGraw-Hill is among the most profitable companies in the testing industry, and is intimately connected to the Regents exams and the Bush administration's education plan. These particular awards are a black-tie salute to the leaders of the testing industry, not real education - last years winners were Rod Paige (now Bush's Secretary of Education), Nancy Grasmick (Maryland State Superintendent), and Sanford Weill (CEO of Citigroup). McGraw-Hill creates and scores exams across the nation and is notorious for its inaccuracies. In New York, a scoring mistake by CTB/McGraw-Hill caused 8,600 students to be mistakenly ordered to attend summer school, at the end of which over 3,000 were told they would have to repeat a grade.

For more background info, check out:

  • The 2000 award ceremony.
  • The 2001 award ceremony.
  • The fascinating story linking Bush's education act, the McGraw-Hill companies, and high-stakes testing.
  • Download a flyer in Adobe Acrobat or MS Word format for printing.
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