Former Education Commissioner David Steiner received roughly 2000 dollars in travel expenses from Pearsons before accepting a 32 million dollar deal. Time for an audit
A State Education Department commissioner took a roughly $2,000 junket financed by the charity of a learning firm that later won a $32 million state contract.
Then-Commissioner David Steiner traveled to London in June 2010 for a conference held by the Council of Chief State School Officers – which reimbursed him for his expenses.
Ultimately, the foundation connected to education firm Pearson gave money to the council to foot the conference’s bill. Six months later, the state contracted with Pearson to develop new math and reading tests.
“It doesn’t take long for people to connect the dots,” said Jack Jennings of the Washington think tank Center on Education Policy.
“Someone who is making a decision like that being flown on a trip – it certainly gives the impression there’s a connection.”
But the head of Pearson Foundation, Mark Nieker, defended the group’s work with the council and the company’s contract.
“There was a transparent, thorough evaluation of competing bids by expert reviewers who identified the most qualified vendor to carry out the department’s need,” he said.
Steiner, who left his post in May, defended his travels, noting he was on the board of CCSSO and went to London as part of a “fact-finding trip.”
“My fellow commissioners and I knew that the Pearson Foundation was supporting CCSSO for this trip among others, but since it was the foundation and since no commercial aspects were involved, we saw no issue,” Steiner said, noting he had “no role” in the contract, which was handled by Education Department staff.
Taken from NY Daily News