A Chat With Harvey Dean, president/CEO, Pitsco
The catalogs sell the products very well, but when you talk about selling a system, you’re talking about changing a paradigm where the teacher’s been in charge of delivering the curriculum. The assumption is that the teachers are going to teach everything in a textbook, and they’ll teach 10 different textbooks each year. The fact is, there was a study done that looked at five eighth grade teachers teaching science — same textbook, same class, same lesson plans. They surveyed the teachers at the end of the year. They found that only 20 percent of the content was actually taught in every single class. Only 20 percent of that content was contiguous across the groups as having been taught. Only 20 percent! That’s not to say that the other 80 percent that the teacher taught wasn’t good content, but if you’re supposedly teaching to a lesson plan, you’d hope that each class gets 100 percent of what’s in that lesson plan.
With our solutions, we can assure you that the content will all be delivered exactly the same for every class all day long. And it’s not teacher delivered, but student driven. It’s been difficult to get that message out, but we’re tenacious. And we’ve done all right, we have more than 4,000 labs in schools throughout the United States. I’m talking about a room full of curriculum, workstations and computers where kids are using them every hour of every day. And we only started that division in 1990. I love the challenge. We will get our message out there.
CS: What are some keys points to your success?
Dean: I think in my case, and I do believe this, you always have to acknowledge that sometimes there’s just divine intervention. I’m just not all that bright when it comes to business.