|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.