In 2009, Florida’s education commissioner went to Helsinki to meet with education officials from Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom and other countries for a 10-day summit on Finland’s lauded education system.
Commissioner Eric Smith traveled at the expense of the Pearson Foundation — the nonprofit arm of the testing company that holds a $250 million contract with state’s Department of Education. (The foundation sponsored the summit and provides a grant to another nonprofit that selects the participants.)
On Monday, state Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, called for the Florida Legislature to open an inquiry into the state’s relationship with Pearson.
“If the contract comes up again, and there is someone who can do it better and cheaper, and we put it out for a bidding process, trips to Helsinki seem to be a nice incentive to keep doing business with the company,” Bullard said. “I want to make sure Florida is getting the best bang for their tax dollars.”
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