Pearson, the multi-billion British publisher, plans to launch a new PR offensive to push back against the anti-testing and anti-Common Core groundswell. Pearson has been steadily buying up every aspect of American education: it recently won the contract to adminster the Common Core test called PARCC, which is worth at least $1 billion; states using Pearson tests buy Pearson textbooks; Pearson bought the GED; Pearson owns the online EdTPA, to evaluate teachers as they finish their training; Pearson owns virtual charter schools called Connections Academy; Pearson owns a curriculum aligned with Common Core.

This interview appeared on

PEARSON TO PUMP UP THE P.R.: Pearson CEO John Fallon came by the POLITICO office to talk about a whole range of issues – and to make a pledge: His team is going to be more active, he said, in fighting back against the anti-testing, anti-Common Core movement that has swept through a number of states. Rather than see the opposition “as threats to our traditional business,” Fallon said, the company is trying to forge common ground.”We’re all in the business of trying to improve educational outcomes,” he said.

– Fallon said Pearson will step up its social media presence and will also make more of an effort to engage with teachers unions, talk to parents and generally “be very transparent about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it … We’re willing to be held accountable.”

– Asked how he would grade Pearson’s public outreach so far, Fallon demurred. “You probably wouldn’t grade us very highly at the moment – which is probably fair,” he said. “We’re going to try to be more proactive.”

– Don Kilburn, President of Pearson North America, also weighed in. He said he expected Pearson’s sales to pick up after a couple of rough years crimped by tight state budgets for both K-12 and higher education. The company has reorganized and now has a “much cleaner mission and structure” which is expected to propel faster growth, he said.