Pearson Is Everywhere: The ‘Turn Around’ Schools Program

Pearson: Always Earning

Pearson: Always Earning

Welcome to another installment of Pearson Is Everywhere!

Last time, we looked at the Pearson “Boss” app, which tracks your child’s engagement level in the classroom and can be purchased on Itunes.

Today, we’re looking at the ‘Turn Around’ Schools program.

In 2010 in the state of Washington, Pearson was selected to ‘turn around’ underperforming schools.  The program is called ‘Pearson’s K-12 Solutions School Turnaround Education Partnership (STEP) model’ and is funded by the federal School Improvement fund.

Snippet from the announcement from

When President Obama announced funding to help struggling schools, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire said she wanted every one of the state’s schools to be high performing, and to ensure teachers are able to expand their skills to be the best teachers they can be. The Governor said, “These federal grants will help us intensify our focus on these issues, and make sure our students are prepared for their next steps in life.” Commenting on the Governor’s statement, Drossos said, “Pearson is here to work with the Governor, the Superintendent of Education and everyone in the state of Washington to ensure the success of the next generation of Washingtonians.”

This federal funding, according to a letter to the Utah State Board of Education, appears to track back to the Center for School Turnaround run by WestEd. The opening paragraph of the letter reads:

Dear Utah State Board member,

Were you aware that the US Department of Education funds the federal Center for School Turnaround? This is a program that trains school and district leaders how to implement the federal education reforms linked to President Obama’s Race to the Top/Common Core. The goal is to “develop district and school leadership skills needed to meet the challenges of turning around low-performing schools.” The Utah State Office of Education has a 5-year contract to run district/school leaders through this federal program. The program is headed by WestEd and the 2009 Stimulus-created/funded testing consortia SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia)?

What Is Common Core has a lengthy article worth your time titled, What is WestEd and Why You Should Care.  Included in that article is that WestEd was run by US Department of Education:

How WestEd is funded:

In 1966 Congress created a network of Regional Educational Laboratories, under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, two of which became WestEd. Today WestEd is no longer officially run by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), but it is still funded largely by the federal government. With grants from the DOE and other federal and private granting agencies, WestEd laboratories work as “a public agency performing an essential government function, exempt from income taxes.” Last month, Nancy Pelosi congratulated WestEd on a $5 Million Department of Labor Award.

The question now remains, is WestEd basically a non-profit arm of the US DOE that can do the things that the US DOE is prohibited by law?

The answer to that question is arguably yes given that WestEd was given a $16.3 million dollar partner project management contract to work on the Common Core tests being created by the SBAC.

WestEd is also a partner of the CCSSO and is co-hosting a June 2015 conference with them.


North Carolina Related Links:


North Carolina to Receive $14.24 Million to Turn Around Its Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools (2011)

North Carolina to Receive $14.3 Million to Turn Around its Lowest-Performing Schools (2013)


About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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3 Responses to Pearson Is Everywhere: The ‘Turn Around’ Schools Program

  1. Pingback: Pearson Is Everywhere: Who Writes These Tests, Anyhow? | Lady Liberty 1885

  2. brackenkaren says:

    The next President MUST shut down the US Dept. of Education. This should be our top requirement for the person we put in the White House.


  3. Pingback: The Common Core Weekend Reads – 3-22-15 | Lady Liberty 1885

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