Editor's note: In the first version of this article published on July 27, McGraw-Hill's Education Unit was characterized as "very much in decline." This was not accurate, and the article has been updated to reflect this. We apologize for the mistake.

It's been a few years since I graced the halls of McGraw-Hill's (NYSE:MHP) Standard & Poor's Equity Group, but it seems like yesterday that I witnessed a change inside a company that could not be stopped. Walking around in downtown Manhattan, taking in the sights of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and eating the best Italian food at Rosario's helped clear my head and see that S&P was McGraw-Hill's main source of growth.

The S&P Equity Group, which is run by the dynamic hand of Ken Shea, makes up a small, valuable chunk of McGraw-Hill's financial machine. McGraw-Hill attributed its 15% growth in second-quarter revenues to "strength in domestic and international ratings and improving performance in equity services." This record revenue, combined with an impressive 25% increase in the operating profit at financial services, pushed McGraw-Hill's earnings of $0.86 per share well ahead of analysts' expectations ($0.81 per share) and last year's number ($0.74).

Many investors hear the name McGraw-Hill and immediately think books and publishing. The company's Education Unit's revenues fell 2.1% in the second quarter, although the unit did manage to produce a 2.6% in operating profit mainly because of favorable currency translations. Over the first six months of the year, Financial Services revenue accounted for 45% of total revenues (42% last year), while Education revenue makes up 38% of revenues (40% last year). This subtle shift to the double-digit growing Financial Services businesses should benefit the company's results in the future.

It's no wonder that McGraw-Hill's mature Education Unit's growth has slowed recently, with competitors such as Pearson PLC (NYSE:PSO) and Scholastic (NASDAQ:SCHL) in the mix, and some school districts either in financial trouble or slow to adopt new editions. I previously pronounced that Scholastic Must Hit the Books; if this is true then, in my opinion, McGraw-Hill should consider either becoming a more finance-driven company or spin off its strong finance arm (into a separate stock) so it can grow as a separate entity to the education/publishing arm. I would recommend the shares as a total return candidate only (1.64% dividend yield); if the company were to be split up, I see the Financial Unit being a strong buy and the Education Unit a hold at best.

Fool contributor Phil Wohl spent more than 12 years on Wall Street and now concentrates his writing on more fictional characters. He has no stake in any firm mentioned above, but he did work at Standard & Poor's (a division of McGraw-Hill) for more than eight years.