Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp finally unveiled the brand and business of its 18-month old education division after spending the last year embroiled in the fallout from a phone hacking at its UK newspapers.
News Corp said on Monday the education unit will be called Amplify and will focus on kindergarten through high school, creating digital products and services for students, teachers and parents.
The unit is headed up by Joel Klein, former New York City schools chancellor, who joined the company in November 2010. Klein was deployed to oversee the far-reaching internal investigation into the hacking scandal seven months later, putting on hold the plans to fully move ahead with the education business.
Amplify is teaming up with AT&T Inc, using its 4G mobile tablet technology. They will begin to introduce new curriculum products through tests in U.S. schools during the 2012-2013 school year.
In November 2010, News Corp bought Brooklyn, New York-based Wireless Generation for about $300 million and will use its technology to provide educational analytics and formative assessment.
Murdoch, best known as a media and newspaper baron, has been an outspoken critic of structural weaknesses in U.S. public schools.
When News Corp splits into separate entertainment and news companies in the next year, the education business is expected to move into the news company alongside newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and Britain’s The Sun and the Dow Jones newswire service.
Klein, a former White House litigator, is widely seen as a likely candidate to take the top job at the new News Corp company, while Murdoch will remain as chairman.
In a post on Amplify’s website, Klein offers a preemptive strike against “skeptics” who do not think private companies should be involved in public education.
“The private sector should not drive teaching and learning innovations, but private-sector investment and involvement can (and should) accelerate such innovations in partnership with experts and educators in the field,” Klein writes. “There is no one sector-specific solution here.”