Statement from Scholastic Chairman, President and CEO, Richard Robinson re: Sponsored Educational Materials
At Scholastic, we recognize that teachers, parents and students have extremely high expectations for all materials we distribute in schools. We take that responsibility seriously, not only for the hundreds of millions of pages we produce through our Education division and Classroom Magazines, but also for the far smaller number of sponsored supplemental materials produced with partners through our InSchool business. Several months ago, we announced that we were reviewing our policies and procedures for sponsored materials to ensure that we only produce the very best quality supplemental educational materials that teachers can choose to use to enrich their teaching. To date, Scholastic has taken the following steps regarding the InSchool business:
- First, we are focusing on working only with a carefully selected list of non-profit, corporate and government partners, each of whom will be vetted by a newly formed Partner Review Board. This reduction primarily in the pool of corporate partners will likely result in about 40% fewer programs this year;
- Second, we are appointing a Partner Review Board consisting of a curriculum editor, a teacher, a school administrator, a child psychologist, and a parenting expert to evaluate potential partners and review the content of sponsored programs;
- Third, we are strengthening the editorial review of sponsored supplemental educational content and putting additional checks in place to ensure the accuracy and impartiality of the content, including final approval by the Partner Review Board.
These actions are being taken following the withdrawal of "Shedding Light on Energy," a supplemental program sponsored by the American Coal Foundation. We acknowledged problems with that program and conducted a thorough review of all of our recent sponsored materials. It is noteworthy that feedback from educators on an array of different programs was overwhelmingly complimentary and pointed out to us that these programs provide valuable information for teachers and students that is not otherwise available.
It is our firm belief that education today needs support from all sectors -- public and private -- and we welcome the opportunity to make curriculum-aligned, free content available to our nation’s teachers. Partner programs enable schools to receive quality, free supplemental educational materials for teachers, schools and students; tens of thousands of free books and millions of dollars in scholarship and grants. This is one small part of what Scholastic does. The overwhelming amount of our business is focused on helping students learn to read and love to read – critical parts of 21st Century literacy. Our commitment is to ensure the highest standard of excellence in all of our materials for use in the classroom and beyond – a commitment that, over the last 90 years of hard work by our committed staff, has built our reputation as "the most trusted name in learning."