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New York AG Probes Link Between State, Education Publisher

The state attorney general's office in New York is investigating whether a major education publisher improperly paid for trips taken by the state's former education commissioner, according to reports.

The probe was sparked by stories saying that the former commissioner, David Steiner, traveled to London in 2010 for the Pearson Foundation/CCSSO International Conference on Effective Approaches to Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century, the Albany Times Union reports.

The AG is looking at whether Pearson covered Steiner's travel costs just a few months before its for-profit arm won a five-year $32 million state education department test-administration contract, according to the Times Union, citing sources familiar with the inquiry. (The state department of education told the paper there is no evidence that Pearson was trying to win favors in New York, or that the publisher was granted any.)

The Pearson Foundation's support for state education officials' trips to international came under scrutiny earlier this year after the New York Times reported on the practice. Pearson was supporting trips arranged by the Council of Chief State School Officers, an organization that represents top state education officials.

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