Scholastic Reviews

Updated August 7, 2014
Updated August 7, 2014
193 Reviews
3.3
193 Reviews
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Scholastic Chairman, President, and CEO Dick Robinson
Dick Robinson
114 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Not too 'workaholic' of an atmosphere, good work life balance (in 29 reviews)

  • Great office location in SoHo NYC (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • The upper management comes from an education background so many business practices can be overlooked (in 19 reviews)

  • The heavily siloed departments and nepotistic senior management are hurting internal communications (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights

24 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Worst place I ever worked

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Scholastic

    Pros

    Great products, decent work/life balance

    Cons

    The CEO has been around for ages and has a close knit group of people he listens to. Nobody else has a chance to change anything - and boy does it need changing. Most of the "inner circle" wouldn't know the digital business if it bit them. And they are flat-out mean and nasty - especially to any newcomers who try to introduce new ideas. The joke around the company is that they are just waiting for digital to go away.

    The other problem is that the CEO sets up his business units to be competitive with each other, which leads to lots of infighting at the upper levels - which naturally trickles down to the staff as well. So there is constant finger-pointing and blame. Nobody cares about solving problems - they just want to avoid being blamed for them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The CEO needs to retire and his replacement needs to clean house! The brand and the products are great, but this company will never survive without drastic change.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Nepotism and Cronyism Behind The Veil Of Publicly Traded Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Applications Developer  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Applications Developer in New York, NY

    I worked at Scholastic full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The only pro of working here is that you are help to sell products that help children learn to read. The price points of the products sold via Book Clubs are affordable to families. Teachers receive "bonus points" which they can redeem for being sales agents of the company.

    Cons

    The business model, as is the leadership, old and broken. Although Scholastic gives the appearance of a publicly traded Company it is not governed as such. The publicly traded Class B shares hold no voting power. Thus the "public" shareholders have no voice in governance. The privately held Class A shareholder has all the power.

    As a result, management is inbred, stagnate, and focused on internal politics rather than doing the right thing to continue to grow revenue. Sales have been falling for some time. Only the "one hit wonders" help the sales on occasion.

    Seek other places of employment if you want to see your skills valued and nurtured.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great mission and vision, but lack of structure and proper management to implement it.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at Scholastic full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Great location in Soho. Pretty decent work life balance and flexibility.

    Cons

    Minimal opportunity for growth and training. Management has deteriorated rapidly.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Weak IT leadership, No vision, and inept 20+ year VPs and Directors

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Scholastic full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - 9 to 5 job
    - slow moving organization

    Cons

    It is unfortunate the Cons are numerous:
    - IT leadership is weak and it shows so clearly to anyone paying attention. It is often compared to an organized zoo, the clown gets 15 minutes fame then hides. The company has no CIO, and the person in charge is not up to par with the responsibilities of the position. You would expect top leaders to communicate a vision, energize the ranks, and show the path. It is unfortunate these qualities are not there.
    - Upper management made foolish and bad decisions in the past, and they keep strong hold to protect their posts. You see it with those who have been at this company for 20+ years.
    - Accountability is on paper, and it is rarely practiced in IT. Budgets are intentionally bloated, and the waste is very high. It is very surprising how upper management keeps getting away with it. Bigger the budget, more secure the position.
    - Organization is managed more like a family owned small business, complete with favoritism, nepotism, and no apparent focus on ROI and growth
    - Too many long term managers who have never worked anywhere else, and they bring no substance. New senior talent generally lasts less than two years either quitting out of frustration or being terminated for addressing the status quo. I have seen few courageous senior talents challenging the waste and the status quo, they gave hope to the rest of us, they brought fresh thinking to this dying organization. Unfortunately, these out of box thinkers didn't last. They are gone and took hope with them.
    - There are more than the normal share of people who are downright nasty. People that have been at the company for a long time feel entitled to do what they want and they dont want to be questioned.
    - Politics are incredibly high considering the size of the company
    - Micro management is highly used as a tactic to protect the interest of those long term managers
    - Siloed and combative organization with little to no collaborative spirit. No incentive to work towards common goals and financial success - every group for themselves. Often you hear people in the elevator referring to dog-eat-dog environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - bring fresh talent and clean house
    - bring leaders who have vision and managers who can actually manage
    - develop a culture of meritocracy - streamline the many long term senior managers who have only worked at Scholastic for 20 plus years

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fast, foolish, and desperate technology decisions

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Systems Administrator  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Systems Administrator in New York, NY

    I worked at Scholastic full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    If you are new and young technology person and hired for low pay it's a good place to learn. I recommend to hang around for about 2 years though. Head out and work for a more mature IT company to learn how things should be done.

    Cons

    They have problems keeping their most experienced and knowledgeable employees. Once they are gone each department starts to struggle. Some are laid off for no reason and others just leave because they are unhappy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep and grow your most qualified and experienced employees. They provide security, confidence, and organization, to everyone they lead. Stay with proven technology platforms and software. Every decision shouldn't be based on cost. Management needs to consider overall quality and stability first. Keep your best senior managers on staff because you are causing the least mature employees to run wild. It's kind of like a "Lord of the Flies" work environment rather than "Lord of the Rings".
    Management needs to be careful when changing direction in infrastructure. Do not discard your current platforms while developing new environments. Invest in stability rather than investing to save money. Try not to become to innovative to fast and blame others for your foolish mistakes. New technology does not work for all organizations. Continue to stabilize and support your current and proven money making environments. Also do not quickly discard each environment hoping something new will work better. I've never seen such a profitable company that made so many wasteful mistakes in the less than two years I was there.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    A complete waste of my time

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Inside Sales Representative  in  Saint Charles, IL
    Current Employee - Inside Sales Representative in Saint Charles, IL

    I have been working at Scholastic full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I got to share quality products with wonderful customers. I also had the pleasure of making some wonderful friends.

    Cons

    As a teacher, I expected Scholastic to be an extension of what I had done in teaching - a place where I could use my education and experience to make a difference. WRONG! I was treated like a child, scolded or yelled at, pushed to do more, more, more. Management is incredibly disrespectful and rude to employees and there is no recourse because HR is best friends with the VP. The place is rife with nepotism - jobs being created for family of management while hard-working employees were laid off or even fired. I was constantly on edge, never knowing when or what I'd be reprimanded for. When I did make my goal (and far beyond), the management refused to pay me commission, spending more than 3 months finding a loophole that they could use. After going to HR in NY to get my earned commission, I was harrassed constantly by my manager - she even called me out for daring to speak up. I have never felt so under-appreciated, under-utilized, and small! I could not get out of there fast enough!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    To top management: get smart and promote some managers who can actually manage! Put people in place who will support the reps. Don't hire friends and family who are not qualified for their positions. Stop micro-managing EVERYTHING and let intelligent people use their skills to your benefit.
    To team managers: Try using positive reinforcement - it will get you so much farther with your reps. Don't see everything as a challenge to your authority - instead support your reps and let them make you look good! Focus on actually doing your job instead of visiting with the other managers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Dysfunctional and Stressful - A Shame Given All that Scholastic Stands For

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Former Manager  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Former Manager in New York, NY

    I worked at Scholastic full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    PR Branding of Literacy Message and Support of Educators and Schools
    Select pockets of wonderful individuals who work hard and really care about the company and results

    Cons

    Silo'd and combative organization with little to no collaborative spirit
    No incentive to work towards common goals and financial success - every group for themselves
    Mean spirited and selfish behavior exhibited across the ranks
    Organization is managed more like a family owned business, complete with favoritism, nepotism, and no apparent focus on ROI and financial growth
    Too many long term managers who have never worked anywhere else; new senior talent generally lasts less than two years either quitting out of frustration or being terminated for addressing the status quo

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Develop a culture of meritocracy - streamline the many long term senior managers who have only worked at Scholastic for 20 plus years and bring in some fresh talent and outside thinking to modernize the strategy. Watch T & E and other wasteful spend that is rampant. Focus on digital transformation cannot be limited to an eReader product that is behind the curve and that has little chance of competing with the Amazon, Googles, Apples and Microsofts of the world. Stop the infighting - reward collaborative success and penalize selfish behavior that hurts the company's bottom line and morale for all. Treat employess with dignity and respect.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 6 people found this helpful  

    It's just so bad

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Editor  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Editor in New York, NY

    I worked at Scholastic full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I really, really liked some (about 10%) of the people here. I met some lovely co-workers who I am still friends with to this day. The people that were great were GREAT. The work life balance was mostly good and they have a very nice roof deck at the main office in Soho.

    Cons

    So many. Where to begin:

    I was there for almost four years and while the first year was OK - I left because I got frustrated seeing the same cycles over and over again. Basically, they would have deep cuts, then hire a bunch of temps, fire a bunch of temps, hire more temps for less money, fire the temps, hire more temps for less money, etc. Of course, the quality of work went down with each cycle like this. At the end, when I left, they had taken a job that used to be done for about $30 and hour and required a degree to become one that paid $15 an hour an no degree. Same job. So you can imagine what the quality of work became.

    Other things I saw there which made me deeply unhappy:
    - offers rescinded - I literally saw signed contracts that were disregarded after the person had quit their job to come work for Scholastic. So, don't go work there if you have a good, stable job! No matter how much money they offer! Trust me: you don't want to get that call that starts "I have some bad news..."

    - all the talk about the "Scholastic Family". It's not a family and that is a terrible analogy. Do you fire family members? No? Well, Scholastic employees get fired all the time. So it's not a family.

    - nepotism. There was one job in my dept that 300 people applied for. Guess who got it. The barely literate kid of a VP. I wish I was kidding. I am not.

    - incompetence is rewarded. I have never seen a better example of the Peter Principle. They put people who are not able to do their jobs into high up roles where they can do little damage. Example: my boss was completely incapable of project management. Then, when my bosses boss was looking at the metrics (by the way they love Excel here) they saw that our department was bleeding money. Guess who got in trouble. Not my boss, but me! Because I had not been "productive" enough. Tell me how I can be productive if my boss, who is my project manager, does not give me work and manage my hours. Should I have made up work for myself to do? This happened so many times when I was there and my boss never got fired so I quit.

    - treatment of contractors. They pretend like they will hire you after a few months. Not gonna happen. I think I saw one contractor out of 75 get hired in my time there. So again, don't quit a full time job thinking they will convert you. Not gonna happen.

    - incompetent IT dept. I know they are doing more with less, but it should not take two weeks to get an email address.

    - office space. Luckily, where I was, the space was very nice but I have heard some other buildings are terrible.

    - Christmas party. What a joke. They ran out of salmon after 20 minutes and it is so jam packed that you cannot even reach the buffet tables.

    - Wastefulness. The lights and heat are left on 24/7 but good luck trying to get any office supplies. When I left, they did not even have basics like pens and paper in the supply closet. You had to bring your own from home. Also, a lot of wastefulness in projects. I worked on 100K projects that went nowhere and never got implemented. Yet, they were constantly laying people (oops, I mean Scholastic family members) off.

    - New direction. They are trying, desperately, to launch their eReader, as the savior of the company. Good luck with that. And you will compete with Amazon how? Oh right. You haven't figured that part out yet!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None. They would not listen anyhow.

    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Company needs a major overhaul

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Warehouse  in  Charlotte, NC
    Former Employee - Warehouse in Charlotte, NC

    I worked at Scholastic part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Decent hours, part time work, seasonal work. Its a job.

    Cons

    Management at all level never listen to their employees, ideas or complaints. If your a favorite you keep a job, if not your out the door. If you have any complaints, your out the door. Workplace violence is a problem here in the Charlotte warehouse location but when taken to management 2 days later I had no job. The troubled employee has intimidated employees to the point they quit, threatened the lives of employees, physically fought with an employee and threatened me. All I wanted to do was to work hard for the company and have a job. I think this company should not be allowed in our school systems. Stop wasting tax payor money fighting the courts over the 3.8 million dollars you owed in taxes and pay up. It's in the news, read about it. Company is going down hill fast.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Come down from your upper management positions away from your desk. Look and listen to employees. Re-organize your company from the ground up. Start with your management, then the CEO.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Technologically backward, inflexible, awful management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Information Architect  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Information Architect in New York, NY

    I worked at Scholastic as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    The idea of working at a company that brought up fond memories of my childhood was appealing. Nothing else.

    Cons

    If you are a freelancer, beware. They gave me a very hard time with the tiniest details of the project, but more importantly, changed contract terms and then accused me of breaking them. My efforts to show them proof (contract from the agency I was with at the time) were ignored, and they proceeded to withheld my pay--right before Christmas!! I have run into other freelancers who have had these types of problems with them, so it seems to be a repeat occurrence. Also the office environment was very depressing, and the technology (computers, process, etc. ) was very "retro."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Are you even paying attention to what your managers are doing?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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