Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Monday, January 2, 2012

How Pearson wins their testing contracts

Steven Paine and Patricia Wright, superintendents in West Virginia and Virginia, with Mark Nieker, right, of the Pearson Foundation, in London in June 2010.

Michael Winerip, writing in the Jan. 1 New York Times ( "New Questions About Trips Sponsored by Education Publisher") reveals the secrets behind Pearson's success in cornering the market on standardized testing.

Here's how they do it in Kentucky:
In April, Kentucky’s Education Department approved a $57 million contract with Pearson. And then, over the next six months, the commissioner who oversees that department, Terry Holliday, traveled to both China and Brazil on trips underwritten by — that’s right — the Pearson Foundation.
And in Illinois:
Christopher Koch, state superintendent of education in Illinois — which has $138 million in contracts with Pearson — went to China, Brazil and Finland with the foundation. The only Pearson compensation he listed on state ethics forms was the cost of the flight to China, $4,271 for business class. Asked why hotels, meals and the other flights were not documented, a spokesman for Dr. Koch, Matt Vanover, said, “What we’re looking at is a litmus test; they just want to make sure he’s not traveling first class.”
And so it goes.

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