Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The businessman/Republican puppet master

The Texas Observer has a great article on the so called "reform" movement in Texas and who is really pulling the strings. Turns out its a businessman named Sandy Kress who is also a Bush cronie. If you read the article it turns out that Kress is, WHO'DA THUNK IT?, a lobbyist for some of the very companies that want to take over for public schools.

To show you the Republican mindset here are some choice tidbits:

Eighteen people representing teachers, administrators, parents, and public school advocates testified against the bill. They asked for fewer testing mandates and more public school funding. The critics of the bill are part of a growing movement against the Texas education model, enshrined in the landmark federal law No Child Left Behind. Opponents say the current focus on testing degrades education and drains resources from the neediest schools.

Only one witness testified in favor of the bill. There was a small stir as Sandy Kress came to the microphone; in gatherings like this, he is something of a celebrity. Ten years ago, public school accountability was a vague, unenforceable ideal from free market enthusiasts who wanted to see schools run more like businesses. Kress, a Dallas lawyer, was serving what would be his last, tumultuous term as president of the Dallas school board. Fellow board members were calling the newspaper to denounce him as a racist and a bully. The fortunes of the reform movement and of Kress have risen together. He is one of the principal designers of No Child Left Behind, and has used his knowledge and connections to earn millions as a high-powered lobbyist for test publishers

And more:

Despite the lack of an endorsement from any major Texas education group, passage of HB 2 out of the committee was a foregone conclusion. Accountability, with its powerful allies, seems unstoppable. Its supporters are free market reformers who say test scores bring a needed dose of reality to lazy educational bureaucracies. Others are education reformers who believe that the best hope for poor and minority students lies in the public humiliation of their “low-performing” schools. And a select few enrich themselves supplying the demand public school reform has created for tests, and the tools it takes to pass them. Kress appears to be all of the above.

Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law in January 2002. Five months later, Kress registered with the U.S. Secretary of the Senate as a lobbyist for NCS Pearson. Kress specializes in helping his clients tailor themselves to the requirements of No Child Left Behind, something Pearson has done with startling success. A publishing conglomerate that owns The Financial Times and Penguin Books, Pearson had been a bit player in the education market, concentrating on the scoring of standardized tests. In 2000, however, Pearson acquired National Computer Systems, the company that held the contract for designing and scoring the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills. Since then, Pearson has built an accountability empire of sorts, becoming the third-largest testing company in the country, behind CTB McGraw-Hill and Harcourt Educational Measurement.

And the most grevious accusations against him:

black school board members saw accountability as an attempt to undermine the city’s 1974 desegregation order, which allotted extra money and resources to Dallas’s historically neglected black schools . . .Secretly taped conversations alleged to be between Kress and fellow board member and political ally Dan Peavy supported the accusations. Peavy used racial slurs when describing plans to curb the influence of black board members. Kress’s identity on the tapes was never confirmed, but soon after they came to light in 1995, he announced he would not run for another term as board president.

What a guy! I'm sure he has the best interests of Texas schoolchildren at heart over the multi-million dollar enterprises he works for.


NYC Educator said...

Yes, those Texas pols sure do care about education! I was particularly impressed with Rod Paige, who falsified the Texas "miracle," called the NEA a "terrorist organization," and surreptitiously paid Armstrong Williams US government money to support NCLB.

And, best of all, there were no consequnces whatsoever! What a great role model for kids!

Anonymous said...

I've often been dismayed by the horrible irony of folks like Mr. Grusendorf in positions of power over all of education and educators, yet they seem to hate nothing so much as education and educators.

Mike in Texas said...


My supt. says he either gets up and leaves when an educator speaks before the committee, or leaves the room entirely.

Nice huh?

Anonymous said...

I am so ashamed that I wasted my vote on a pathetic waste of skin like george warmonger bush. I am also ashamed of the republican party given their track record of producing presidents who are nothing more then the rich man's rich man. Bush has shifted this nation's economy back to the dark economic ages of reagan which were designed to screw over the middle and lower classes to benefit the rich. No, its worse then that. The dark economic ages of reagomics were simply the starting point for bush since he never really had any salient domestic or foreign polices that were in the best interest of the USA to begin with. And yes....9/11 did happen but that smoke screen is no justification for bushes poor decision making and lack of true leadership. None of bushes wasteful military spending has made this country any safer now compared to pre 9-11. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice and the rest of the neoconservatives who have destroyed the soul of the republican party are nothing more then puppets of the Project for a New American Century. An organization that uses the spin of "promoting democracy in Islamic States" to promote their self serving unconstitutional agenda of imperialism. The USA is now the aggressor country engaged in oppressive imperialistic actions that our country's fore-fathers worked so hard to liberate us from. Apparently, our constition, protecting our borders, nation and people mean nothing when one sees the real agenda of this current presidential administration which is simply the puppet of the PNAC. I'll never make the mistake of voting republican ever again. Thanks for all the memories GOP. The republican party is not a party of, by or for the people. Those are more lies just like the lie of being for less government or less taxes. The only thing republican lawmakers are for is concentrating wealth to the richest few families in the country, wasting our national resources, murdering our sons and daughters along with innocent people in other countries in illegal wars while hiding behind the lie of conservative values and jingoistic patriotism. This country prospered under Bill Clinton and now it is on the brink of bankruptcy under Bush. Bush's cabinet is nothing more then a terrorist generation machine because that is all they know how to do. Thanks to this current generation of republican lawmakers, our children and grand children will be paying the price for the outrageou national debt that never had to happen. Conservative people do not conduct themselves the way this current generation of republican lawmakers have. If Christ Jesus himself were to pay us all a little visit incarnate he would have one thing to say to the president, his cabinet and the religious right wing of this nation..."Be Gone! I never knew any of you." Instead of Pharisees and San Hedrin to admonish...he would have a whole new group of hypocrites to admonish composed mainly of republicans and the religious right wing of the nation.