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Pearson and TFA: Both Making Cuts; Both Spinning Similar Language

March 24, 2016

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.

desk money


Coming June 2016 from TC Press:


school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Stay tuned.



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?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.


  1. DanG permalink

    Awwww, tough s _ _ t for Pearson and TFA !

    I am glad to be witness to the initial cracks in the edifices of these racketeers, and I look forward to watching their eventual collapse. I am told that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I fear that any good intentions these organizations ever had were steamrolled by greed years ago.

  2. LibertyChick permalink

    Reminds me of Obamacare: they only way they could have made that go through was getting the insurance companies and hospitals on board expecting to get filthy rich off of it. Both are going bankrupt. Wake up and smell the lies and deceit!

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