Gov. Chief Ed. Adviser's Firm Major Supplier to State Ed.

Posted: 
Friday, November 6, 2015
One of the governor's chief education advisers is employed by a firm that does millions of dollars of business with the state's schools, although that has not been disclosed to the public.
 
Richard Parsons, the leader of an earlier state education commission that recommended heavy investment in technology and head of a new education task force, works for a company whose principal holdings include an education technology firm that does a substantial business with the state.
 
Parsons, the former chairman of Citigroup and former CEO and chairman of Time Warner, was recently named the head of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's task force on the Common Core.
Since 2009 he has been a senior adviser at Providence Equity Partners - whose principal holdings include numerous education technology firms. The state disclosed his position there, but did not indicate that Providence had any involvement in education technology firms.
"That definitely should have been disclosed," said one education official who asked not to be identified. "I knew him from Time Warner." The state in its brief biography of Parsons describes Providence as "a leading private equity investment firm specializing in media, communications and information companies."  It pointedly omits education, even though Providence on its website clearly lists education (in particular, high-tech education) along with those three other sweet spots.
 
Providence owns Blackboard, a high-tech education firms whose roots go back to a consulting firm founded in 1997 to work with non-profit IMS Global Learning Consortium and merged with CourseInfo the following year. Read the rest of this story in the Long Island Business News.
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