Friday, December 21, 2007

Bush Profiteers collect billions from NCLB

This is the first piece of 23 parts (so far). Kathy Emory attended the high stakes testing conference John Lawhead and I attended in Birmingham Al. in 2003. Here, Emory "detailed the convergence of two heretofore unconjoined worlds: the world of big business, and the world of educating kids."

We hope to examine the considerable role Albert Shanker and the AFT/UFT played in this conjoining at our upcoming conference on December 27.

All parts accessible here:

Bush Profiteers collect billions from NCLB

Much was said about George W. Bush’s fundraising prowess in 2000 and 2004, when he created labels like "Bush Pioneers" to identify those who shook down donors and bundled the lucre for his campaigns. But hard on the heels of his inauguration, he might’ve just as appropriately created a new label, "Bush Profiteers," to identify those who first turned his decayed ideologies into law – inventing new spigots through which Bush’s businessmen-backers could suck federal funds – and who then vacated public service to collect their own lucre as lobbyists for those businessmen and their companies.

If you needed a perfect example of this model of lawmaking-turned-moneymaking, you might consider Bush’s vaunted No Child Left Behind. And if you needed a perfect example of the Bush Profiteer, you might consider the first "senior education advisor" he imported from Texas, the architect of NCLB himself.

I offer a simple thesis: Several large corporations and their lobbyists have profited from Bush’s NCLB by tapping billions of dollars in standardized testing and in "supplemental education services" funds since its passage in 2001. They’re lining up now to expand their profit margins for the next six years as NCLB is being re-authorized. And the one man who stands to personally profit the most this year isn’t Bush himself, but advisor-turned-lobbyist Sandy Kress, the architect of Bush’s old high-stakes testing model in Texas and the overhaul of ESEA in 2001.

As Bush himself might put it, "Heck of a job, Sandy." Ahem:

KATHY EMERY KNOWS something about educating kids. Her resume, found here , documents a 30-year career as a history teacher-turned-education researcher. Credentials impeccable. She’s published and presented and given workshops and been interviewed on testing and assessment and good education practices, so she’s got skills. And she writes, "When Ted Kennedy and George Bush agree on something, one needs to worry about who the man behind the curtain is. After doing research for my dissertation (which is now a book) it became clear to me that the men behind the curtain are the members of the Business Roundtable."

In a speech given in January 2005 to the San Francisco State University faculty retreat in Asilomar, California, she detailed the convergence of two heretofore unconjoined worlds: the world of big business, and the world of educating kids. The convergence was given birth in the passage of NCLB, she says, but the pregnancy was more than a decade long. Its unsuspecting mother was the Education and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), first adopted under Lyndon Johnson’s administration in 1965 in partial fulfillment of John Kennedy’s domestic agenda. Its father? "...a bipartisan bandwagon of standards based advocates – a bandwagon built in the summer of 1989 by the top 300 CEOs in our country."

The Richard Kahlenberg Shanker bio details this event in detail. Now we are hearing the "Big Oops" from Shanker apologists. "This is not what Al intended." Gee! How come people in those years somehow knew what would be the outcome? Oh, what have they wrought!

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