Pearson and TFA: Both Making Cuts; Both Spinning Similar Language
In January 2016, Pearson announced that it would be cutting 4,000 jobs (roughly ten percent of its workforce) in a the second “restructuring” (a euphemistic term that never means a company is doing well) under its current CEO, John Fallon. Pearson profits have taken a hit for three of the past four years.
In February 2016, Teach for America (TFA) announced that it, too, would be laying off employees– in its case, approximately 15 percent of their workforce– including national and regional positions. However, some of the 250 expected jobs lost would be countered by creation of 100 new positions, for a net job loss of 150. (Yes, this, too, is “restructuring.”)
In Pearson’s case, it did not bring in the cash it thought it would due to issues such as lower US college enrollment and lost testing contracts.
In TFA’s case, it did not reach its recruitment goals for a second year. (TFA’s basic commodity is recent college grads willing to volunteer for two years of crash-course teaching.)
In describing their two separate situations, both Pearson and TFA are using almost exactly the same business lingo.
TFA, on March 21, 2016:
As CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard shared on February 29 with our network, this strategic shift is pointing us toward a leaner, more agile central structure…. [Emphasis added.]
And Pearson from its annual report, published on March 22, 2016:
The focus of restructuring is not only to reduce costs but also to make the company faster, leaner and more agile. [Emphasis added.]
Pearson also added that upper management would not be receiving potential millions in bonuses. (CEO John Fallon could have earned as much as $8 million in 2015 but had to settle for only $1.8 million. Terrible.)
So, that’s how it goes in the business, including the business of education. Bottom line: In their various ways, both TFA and Pearson needed to make more money. Neither met the mark. Both are cutting jobs and framing it not as failure but as training for a marathon.
A marathon (largely) of corporate education reform profit survival.
For the children, or course. Always for the children.
Coming June 2016 from TC Press:
Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.
She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.
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