This Week in the War on Workers: Testing Company Used ‘Charitable’ Foundation to Profit

Laura ClawsonPearson, one of the country’s largest testing and curriculum companies, is paying $7.7 million to settle charges that it used its “charitable” foundation to get business for its for-profit arm:

Around 2010, Pearson began financing an effort through its foundation to develop courses based on the Common Core. The attorney general’s report said Pearson had hoped to use its charity to win endorsements and donations from a “prominent foundation.” That group appears to be the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.“Pearson Inc. executives believed that branding their courses by association with the prominent foundation would enhance Pearson’s reputation with policy makers and the education community,” a release accompanying the attorney general’s report said.

Indeed, in April 2011, the Pearson Foundation and the Gates Foundation announced they would work together to create 24 new online reading and math courses aligned with the Common Core.

Pearson executives believed the courses could later be sold commercially, the report said, and predicted potential profits of tens of millions of dollars. After Mr. Schneiderman’s office began its investigation, the Pearson Foundation sold the courses to Pearson for $15.1 million.

This is the company to which the corporate education policy movement wants to hand over more and more responsibility for educating kids, from the tests that determine whether their teachers will still have jobs to the test prep materials that prepare kids to take the tests, test prep materials that these days function as curriculum as tests take over more and more class time.

This article was originally printed on Daily Kos on December 14, 2013.  Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is the labor editor at Daily Kos.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.