Education Industry News

Published August 1, 2002

A sampling of education industry news from The Education Economy, a weekly publication of the market research firm Eduventures, Inc., which conducts research on the pre-K-12, post-secondary, corporate training, and consumer markets worldwide. This copyrighted material is used by permission of Eduventures, Inc.

Apple Struggles to Stay on Top

While PC-maker Dell‘s share of new sales to the school market rose from 36.8 percent to 39 percent in the third quarter of 2001, Apple‘s share fell to 14.7 percent from 20 percent.

Apple traditionally has dominated computer sales to U.S. schools, but if current trends continue, its position may be lost, according to a May 9 Business Week report. Although teachers are loyal to Apple’s Mac computers, school administrators charged with cutting costs are looking for less-expensive products. Dell’s products and other PC companies’ offerings can be as much as $400 cheaper.

In response, Apple recently announced a price drop in its iMacs and a new line of eMacs, computers designed and priced specifically for the school market.

Online Accountability System Planned

Evan-Moor Educational Publishers, a publisher of pre-K-6 teacher resource materials, and NetSchools Corporation, a K-12 e-learning integration company, announced a partnership on May 3 to launch an online accountability system. The companies will create a free Web site that offers correlations for Evan-Moor’s titles to the learning standards for 49 U.S. states and Alberta, Canada. The Web site will enable teachers, parents, and administrators to determine if a particular Evan-Moor resource book meets the content standards in their home state.

McGraw-Hill and Microsoft Ink Agreement

On May 23, McGraw-Hill Education, a provider of instructional products and related education services, and Microsoft Corp. announced an agreement to co-develop, publish, market, and distribute professional and technical books for the global education market. Under a newly created imprint, McGraw-Hill-Microsoft Press will initially target the higher education market.

Pearson Acquisition Expands K-12 Software Training

On April 16, Pearson Education, the global education business of Pearson plc, announced the acquisition of DDC Publishing, a provider of training software for the high school and postsecondary markets. With the acquisition, Prentice Hall School, a division of Pearson Education, will nearly double the number of software training titles it offers.

PLATO to Acquire NetSchools

PLATO Learning, Inc., a provider of computer-based and e-learning instruction, announced on May 9 it signed a definitive agreement to acquire NetSchools Corporation, a provider of Internet-based e-learning software and services solutions for the K-12 market. PLATO will pay $16 million in cash and stock, and an additional consideration of up to $6 million, contingent on NetSchools’ product and services revenues generated through October 2004.

Private School Acquisition

Educational Services of America (ESA), a Nashville-based owner and operator of 19 private schools, announced on May 21 it had acquired the Phoenix Center for Education, a private K-12 school with 75 students. The acquisition marks ESA’s first entry into the state of Arizona; ESA also owns and operates schools in Florida, Illinois, and Ohio.

McGraw-Hill Reading Program Enhanced by Acquisition

McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. announced on April 16 it acquired the assets of Reality-Based Learning Company (RBL), a Seattle-based developer of online reading software. Through the acquisition, McGraw-Hill Education will enhance its Open Court Reading program by adding RBL’s platform, a digital product that provides standards-correlated reading instruction and tracking and reporting of student progress.

Red Hat Launches New Channels to Support Education

Red Hat, Inc., an open source and Linux provider, announced the creation of its two Red Hat Network Education Channels on May 6. The channels will provide educators and students with access to Red Hat Linux 7.3, a customizable operating system.

The Educational Channel will be available to K-12 students, teachers, and information services (IS) administrators and to college students. The Terminal Server Channel will enable a teacher or IS administrator to set up a computer science lab with Red Hat’s Open Lab architecture, which combines open source software with thin client hardware.

Struggling Readers Targeted by New Joint Effort

On April 30, Renaissance Learning, Inc., a K-12 software company, and the School Division of Houghton Mifflin Company, a unit of Vivendi Universal Publishing, announced a joint effort to help teachers improve student reading skills. The companies are developing an assessment guide that will help teachers use results from Renaissance Learning’s Star Early Literacy computer diagnostic assessment to screen students for entry into Houghton Mifflin’s Reading Intervention for Early Success program.

Teachers Unprepared to Use Technology

Although U.S. school districts have made significant progress by investing heavily in computers and software and in connecting schools and classrooms to the Internet, district officials now need to focus on training teachers to use that technology more effectively to improve education, according to a new survey from the National School Boards Foundation. While many teachers are comfortable using the Internet as a research tool, the June 2002 survey found most are unprepared to integrate technology into their instruction.

The Education Economy is read by leading education company executives, investors, academics, policy experts and education leaders around the globe. To subscribe to The Education Economy, register online at Eduventures, Inc. may be reached at 20 Park Plaza #833, Boston, MA 02116, 617/426-5622, fax 617/426-5431.