Pearson Education is a British-owned education publishing and assessment service to schools and corporations, as well as directly to students. Yet in many parts of the world, low-cost private schools are a big step up from existing public schools, where buildings may be falling down, philanthropic grants are used to line local officials’ pockets, and teachers don’t bother to show up. The father of Nobel laureate and youth education advocate Malala Yousafzai himself started a chain of low-cost private schools in Pakistan.
Pearson is part of Pearson PLC , which formerly owned the Financial Times It was created in July 1998 when Pearson PLC purchased the education division of Simon & Schuster from Viacom and merged it with its own education division, Addison-Wesley Longman , to form Pearson Education.
But the POLITICO review found that public contracts and public subsidies — including at least $98.5 million in tax credits from six states — have flowed to Pearson even when the company can’t show its products and services are producing academic gains.
Indeed, Pearson has its hand in so many education services that corporate executive Donald Kilburn confidently predicted on an earnings call last summer that the North American division would flourish even if states and school districts had to cut their budgets.
The state of Virginia recertified Pearson as an approved school turnaround” consultant in 2013 even though the company had, at best, mixed results with that line of work: Just one of the five Virginia schools that Pearson cited as references improved both its math and reading proficiency rates against the state averages.