Pearson Explores Sale of Its U.S. K-12 Curriculum Business

Associate Editor

Pearson, the largest education company in the world, announced today that it’s considering selling off its U.S. K-12 digital and print curriculum business, citing the “slow pace of digital adoption” in schools.

Besides that issue, the company cited a “challenging competitive and market environment” and the high capital needs of the digital curriculum market as reasons for its announcement of a strategic review of that portion of the business.

The U.S. Learning Services business, as Pearson refers to the division in question, sells K-12 print, digital, and blended curriculum, and includes products like enVision Math and iLit. It does not include Advanced Placement (AP), career and technical education, or online courses taken in high school, a company spokesman said.

The announcement was part of the company’s sharing of its 1st quarter 2017 results. A release accompanying that report touted the company’s “progress” in accelerating some aspects of digital delivery of the company’s content, focusing on its higher education and K-12 efforts in that vein.

For K-12, the company said its future focus will be in three areas: investing in virtual schools via Connections Education, which the company said is one of its fastest-growing businesses; building on the company’s position in U.S. school assessment, and “powering online learning,” by investing in digital courses for use in blended and virtual teaching within physical schools.

The influence and outcomes of virtual schools or cyber charters were examined in a November 2016 Education Week investigation by Ben Herold and Arianna Prothero. Connections Academy, an online school provider for grades K-12 that Pearson purchased in 2011. was covered in the series of stories.  Pearson’s Connections Education provided a  defense of cyber charters in the Education Week coverage.

No timeline of the potential sale or valuation of the business is available at this time, said a company spokesman.


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