Education Week, which did a great job here of presenting all the of the 2014 midterm races that could affect education policy, is co-hosting a Nov. 12 post-election event with Gallup Education in which the results will be analyzed by reporters for the publication as well as outside analysts and politicians. It is all being sponsored by Pearson, the largest education company in the world and the most controversial of standardized test creators, which has a major interest in the voting could affect education policy.
Why would Pearson want to pick up the tab for an election analysis?
Brandon Pinette, Pearson’s senior public affairs manager, replied to that question with this:
“We are pleased to support Ed Week and Gallup in convening a forum for the education community to discuss and debate the election results.”
Why would Education Week co-host an election analysis with Gallup that is being sponsored by Pearson?
Education Week’s Christopher Swanson, vice president for research and development, said in an e-mail:
… Pearson is sponsoring the event. (They are the only sponsor.) What that means, more specifically, is that they are providing financial support that we will use to defray the costs associated with organizing and producing the event. Pearson did not have a role in developing the program or selecting the speakers. That was all strictly in Education Week’s purview. A Pearson representative will have an opportunity to offer a short welcome during the opening of the program or provide a brief introduction to another session. We don’t know which yet. Pearson will also be acknowledged as the sponsor in event materials (e.g., invitation, program). That’s about it. This is typical of our event sponsorships, although I imagine other organizations work with sponsors in different ways.
It’s not really my place to speculate on “why” Pearson would be interested in sponsoring. But I can share that some folks from Pearson had attended a similar election event we organized four years ago. They enjoyed that event and appreciated the balanced approach Education Week brought to a complex set of political/policy issues. I think Pearson appreciated the chance to support that kind of work and to associate themselves with a forum for thoughtfully examining the implications of the election for education policy.
Why would Gallup co-host an election analysis with Education Week that is being sponsored by Pearson?
Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education, said in an e-mail:
It’s actually an ED Week event. Gallup offered our space.
At the Nov. 12 event, retiring U.S. Rep. George Miller of California — a Democratic powerhouse on education issues in Congress for several decades — will be delivering the keynote address. Miller has hired super-lawyer Bob Barnett to help him field, evaluate and negotiate offers for employment after he leaves Congress early next year. I recently asked Miller’s office about the possibility that he would go work for Pearson, as sources have suggested. A Miller spokesman referred all inquiries to Barnett, who said in an e-mail:
Many individuals and entities have reached out to Congressman Miller about post-governmental opportunities. He is gratified by their interest and grateful for these approaches. No negotiations have taken place with anyone, and there is nothing to announce at this time. Right now, the Congressman is fully occupied with his duties as a member of the House. Thanks for checking.
Among those appearing at the event are several Education Week reporters and:
• David Cleary, Chief of Staff, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and Republican Staff Director, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
• Jamie Fasteau, Director of Education Policy, House Education and the Workforce Committee—Democratic Staff
• Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President, Policy, Center for American Progress
• Neal McCluskey, Associate Director, Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute
• Roberto Rodriguez, Deputy Assistant to the President for Education, The White House