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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pearson Buys New York State Education Department

Commissioner King and Chancellor Tisch wait patiently
for their turn to speak as their new Pearson overlord
announces the takeover
Albany, New York - Best described as "not your usual corporate takeover," Pearson PLC announced that it has acquired the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

The big announcement was made at a press conference attended in person by Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and Education Department Commissioner John King and via satellite by Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino who is based in London.

A proud Scardino confessed, "Pearson has been calling the shots in New York State for quite a while now. So this just makes it official." According to sources in both organizations, Pearson had been slowly and surreptitiously acquiring the NYSED for more than four years.

Both King and Tisch nodded silently but enthusiastically as Scardino laid out Pearson's plan for "fully integrating all aspects of New York State public education into the seamless mission of helping people make more of their lives through learning what is important to corporations."

How did this come to pass?
With the promise of anonymity, a corporate insider disclosed the steps Pearson took to ensure the takeover would be successful. "Getting the politicians on board was easy; it just took some juicy political contributions. But getting the teachers and parents to go along... well that took a good deal of manipulation." He cited the adoption of the common core by almost every state as a game changer. "It made the acquisition fiscally wise."

According to our source, Pearson then set out to become an indispensable resource provider: textbooks to students, professional development to teachers and standardized testing to administrators. "Pearson expects to be greeted as liberators in New York State. After all how can you say 'no' to the corporation that guides your entire educational growth from cradle to grave." Apparently you can't, unless the federal government intervenes.

One of the first steps in formalizing Pearson's
takeover: new stationary
The proposed merger still needs approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  While refusing to comment on the merits of the merger, "uncommon" is how chair of the FTC, Edith Ramirez, described it. "Generally corporations takeover governmental agencies in a more low-key manner like lobbying the legislature or placing former employees inside of them," noted Ramirez. Despite the lack of corporate finesse none of the merger experts we contacted saw any obvious reasons for the FTC to block the takeover. And very few other individuals or groups seem willing to come out against it.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is running for reelection, was unavailable for comment. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which initially voiced objections to the Pearson-NYSED deal, has backed off since accepting a sizable grant from the Gates Foundation to research successful government/private industry partnerships. Some teachers have even expressed excitement about the takeover. Justin of Pennsylvania tweeted, "Maybe now, as a shareholder, I could have a say in my own profession." Meanwhile education bloggers have been angrily spouting off about the merger using terms like "conflict of interest" and "privatization of public education" but honestly who listens to them?

When asked if Pearson would be acquiring other state education departments, Scardino gave a tight-lipped smile, though John King mumbled something about there being "no place to hide."

Reality Alert: 


4 comments:

  1. Scardino retired. John Fallon is now Pearson CEO.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The previous letter does not make sense: it is IMPOSSIBLE for any private person to exercise governmental powers. Thus, Pearson CANNOT acquire NYSED. It is against public policy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure this is meant to be satire.

      Delete
    2. You didn't really think this was a serious piece of journalism, did you?

      Delete