Whatever your role in education, these days you hear one company named over and over again: Pearson. The publishing giant has its hand not only in test creation, but professional development programs, data systems, online learning, and much more.
Pearson is so omnipresent that it has become the first place many states and districts turn when looking for new resources and training — according to an article by Politico, sometimes without following competitive bidding policies. Politico has taken an in-depth look at the company’s business practices and its receipt of public funds. Politico’s investigation found that
Pearson stands to make tens of millions in taxpayer dollars and cuts in student tuition from deals arranged without competitive bids in states from Florida to Texas. The review also found Pearson’s contracts set forth specific performance targets — but don’t penalize the company when it fails to meet those standards. And in the higher ed realm, the contracts give Pearson extensive access to personal student data, with few constraints on how it is used.