Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Pearson" the corporate veil

The practice of the Pearson Foundation paying for Education Commissioners trips to China, Singapore, and Finland to meet their counterparts was reported in the New York Times. Included in that list was former Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith, who went to Finland. Questioned about that trip, Smith says he checked with the Florida Department of Education's General Counsel to make sure accepting the paid trip was okay. The Counsel said it was and so he went. While Pearson refutes any notion of this being an unethical practice, Florida does have a $250 million contract with the company.

The Miami Herald reports that on Monday, Florida Representative Dwight Bullard called for an "inquiry" to be undertaken by the legislature into "state’s relationship with Pearson." Bullard says an inquiry is necessary:

“If the contract comes up again, and there is someone who can do it better and cheaper, and we put it out for a bidding process, trips to Helsinki seem to be a nice incentive to keep doing business with the company,” Bullard said. “I want to make sure Florida is getting the best bang for their tax dollars.”

Bob Schaeffer, a spokesman for FairTest, an organization which opposes standardized testing had this to say about Pearson's growth over the last decade:
“But in the course of this extremely rapid growth, the company has developed a track record that is the worst in the industry,” he said.

Having effectively driven out most of the competition, leaving too few to compare with, Pearson is likely to remain the worst.

Who pays? Who benefits?

Read more: Lawmaker calls for inquiry into testing company

Pearson fattens in the global learning sector

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