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Posted at 04:05 PM ET, 10/03/2012

Pearson’s new chief on the business of education

Correction: Pearson is not working with the Gates Foundation to store data collected from Race to the Top, as an earlier version of this post said. Another company has that contract.

Pearson, the world’s largest education company, just announced that John Fallon takes over as the chief executive officer in January after working for a decade to help the company expand its international education business.

Pearson, seen as a major player in corporate-style education reform, has a large and controversial presence in U.S. public education. The company earns billions of dollars for publishing textbooks and curriculum and standardized tests, including the one given this year in New York that caused a furor when a badly worded question about a talking pineapple became news.

Pearson recently purchased an online charter school network to have a presence in that business space. Last year it joined with the American Council on Education to both redevelop the General Education Development Test, the high school diploma equivalent exam known as the GED, and to turn it from a nonprofit program to a for-profit business.

Those are just some of Pearson’s businesses.

Below is a video on which Fallon explains his strategy and priorities. Here’s some of what he says on a company video:

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What’s important is the strategies that have driven the growth of our education business are the same strategies that have driven the success of the Financial Times and Penguin. They are Pearson group strategies, not education specific, and those strageies are digital transformation, getting much more engaged in delivering high quality effective services... and they are also about increasing exposure and playing a much bigger role in those fast-growing emerging markets....
For the last 10 years I’ve been working with colleagues around the world to build our international education business. I think the financial results are probably fairly well known. We’ve quadrupled sales, profits have increased more than 15-fold in that decade, but much much more importantly, we’ve been building sizeable, scaleable businesses in some of the fastest growing economies of the world, in China, in Brazil, in India, across sub-Saharan Africa and the like .. and we’re meeting a rapidly growing and universal need for high-quality, effective, accessible and affordable education. You’ve got a rapidly growing middle class who really recognize the value of education, are ambitious for themselves and their children, and are hungry to see a better and more affordable effective education. ... We’re only just getting started.

By  |  04:05 PM ET, 10/03/2012

 
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