LONDON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on Pearson’s rejection of an AFT-led shareholder resolution. Pearson is the largest education company in the world.
“When you raise questions that go right to the heart of a company’s business model, as we did with our shareholder resolution today, you expect to lose the first time. What was unexpected, though, was that 14 million shares voted with us, asking Pearson’s board to conduct a review of its business model. This model has led to a 40 percent loss of shareholder value, and we believe it is because of its fixation on high-stakes testing and promotion of education privatization.
“Ironically, Pearson told us repeatedly they were in ‘violent agreement’ with us on the overuse of testing and the need to educate the whole child, yet it refused to hold itself accountable. It actually printed on the ballot itself that shareholders should reject the resolution. So while Pearson won’t hold itself accountable, educators—who are held accountable for the job they do—will work with parents and other allies of children worldwide to hold Pearson accountable.”
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The American Federation of Teachers was part of a coalition of supporters backing Shareholder Resolution 19, including the National Union of Teachers (UK), the National Education Association, Unison (UK), the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (UK), the University and College Union (UK), the Irish National Teachers’ Organization, the South African Democratic Teachers Union, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, the Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators (BUPL), Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW), and the New Zealand Educational Institute. Supporting global nongovernmental organizations were SupprAction Aid, Global Justice Now and the Right to Education Initiative.