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January 04, 2012

More Questions Raised About Foundation Paying for Educators' Travel

An education foundation under investigation in New York over travel it subsidized for schools officials also paid for trips for administrators in several other jurisdictions with which the group's corporate parent does business, according to The New York Times.

The Pearson Foundation, the nonprofit arm of publisher Pearson Education, paid for local superintendents and state education officials in Kentucky, Illinois, and Maryland to attend conferences in Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America. Pearson had or shortly thereafter won contracts to provide curricula, testing, or other services in the relevant schools agencies.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office is investigating whether the company and the foundation engaged in improper lobbying via the subsidized travel.

Mark Nieker, president of the Pearson Foundation, would not comment about any specific probe but said, “It just is not true that the foundation’s support of conferences attended by education officials has the purpose of helping Pearson corporate to win contracts.”