Saturday, September 23, 2006

Another Late Friday Afternoon Report That Makes the Bushies Look Bad

In another late Friday afternoon release, a recent audit of Bush's reading panel has turned up significant evidence of ignored laws and violations of ethical standards.

According to this CNN story,
. . .the Reading First program has been beset by conflicts of interest and willful mismanagement. It suggests the department broke the law by trying to dictate which curriculum schools must use.

Other juicy tidbits include:
It also depicts a program in which review panels were stacked with people who shared the director's views, and in which only favored publishers of reading curricula could get money.

One Bush official, Chris Doherty, program director for Reading First, was found to have said of he didn't approve of:
They are trying to crash our party and we need to beat the (expletive deleted) out of them in front of all the other would-be party crashers who are standing on the front lawn waiting to see how we welcome these dirtbags

A typical, unqualified slimeball Bush appointee who doens't give a damn about children and who has never taught a day in his life. The "party" he is referring to is paid for by the taxpayers at the expense of children's educations.

Other findings from found the Ed. Dept.:

- Botched the way it picked a panel to review grant applications, raising questions over whether grants were approved as the law requires (Botched? No. Deliberately loaded up the panel giving out the grants? Yes.)

- Screened grant reviewers for conflicts of interest, but then failed to identify six who had a clear conflict based on their industry connections. (I wonder if those 6 had connections to McGraw-Hill?)

- Did not let states see the comments of experts who reviewed their applications (Why should they? They've been ignoring the comments of professional educators for years)

- Required states to meet conditions that weren't part of the law (why let a little thing like the LAW get in your way when your friends need to make some money?)

- It says he (Doherty) repeatedly used his influence to steer money toward states that used a reading approach he favored, called Direct Instruction, or DI (Wonder what kind of deals were made to make sure DI received that money?)

Spellings, of course, knows nothing about it all. I predict very shortly there will be editorials from Jay Mathews claiming the investigation is riddled with inaccuracies. Look for it by the end of the week.


Dan Edwards said...

Saw article in my am newspaper.

R E A L L Y ????? I AM JUST S O SHOCKED !!!!

Why shouldn't contracts with publishers be any different than contracts with the defense industry? Current Washington reigm seems to be trying to overtake administration of US Grant for most corrupt in US History.

Sadly, too many of our young people are paying a heavy price for this.

Anonymous said...

No one should be surprised! When has it ever been about the kids? It's about making money at the expense of the kids.

As someone stated at a recent faculty meeting "couldn't we just find the guy responsible and shoot him?"

Perhaps a gigantic class action suit against those companies.

Sadly the good old boy system is still alive and thriving

Anonymous said...

Hmm. It is hard to imagine a more egregious backtracking from core conservative principles than NCLB and the overbearing bureaucracy it has spawned. Yet, President Bush's motivation to help kids was genuine, just implemented like the fondest dream of a big government socialist.

Let's not kid ourselves. No political party is possessed of all dignity and virtue, and if the Dems were in control, all of the money would be lining the pockets of the NEA and similar unions that don't listen to teachers either.

Let us also remember that the mainstream media is known for nothing so much these days as being a virtual propaganda arm for left-leaning ideas and causes. If CNN told me that it was dark at midnight, I'd have to trot outside and confirm it before accepting their word.

That said, if there is wrong doing, investigate and prosecute where appropriate. But don't waste oxygen loudly proclaiming that President Bush ordered or had direct knowledge in any potential scandal. Anyone who understands large bureaucracies understand how unlikely that would be.

Mike in Texas said...


I disagree with you. I've studies NCLB since its inception, and its incubation here in Texas prior to 2002, and it is so damaging, so poorly written, so full of supposed "unintended" consequences there is no way Bush and co. could have been that stupid when they wrote it.

The law is about the planned destruction of public education, through the use of a high stakes tests with impossible goals, carefully deprived of necessary funds to meet those goals. The real purpose of the law is to drive money into the pockets of the politically well connected. There is no room for those who want to "crash the party" (do some good)as the Bushie said.

Ryan said...

It wouldn't surprise me if the 6 people with industry connections were from the U of Oregon and associated with their DIBELS testing materials.

Anonymous said...

Dear MIT:

I suspect we agree about NCLB. I also see it, in application, as very damaging to public education. Every kid will perform at grade level by 2014? Every kid!? It would seem that anyone with more than one firing neuron would understand that it's impossible for everyone to be average, to say nothing of above average. I think, however, that much of the problem stems from the model that underpins the entire mess: the business model.

While I still have little doubt that W's motives in terms of trying to help kids were good, he was and is foremost a businessman. If the only tool in your toolbox is a profit/loss statement, you tend to see every problem as a matter of marketing or manufacturing. Thus we are trying to use tests to quantify the unquantifiable. As many of W's employees and supporters are of the right side persuasion, a persuasion that tends to be unsurprisingly--and I think rightly so--favorable to private enterprise, it is hardly surprising that they would write legislation from that perspective and that it would tend to favor private enterprise solutions at the expense of the public schools.

But would we be better off drinking at the Democrat spigot? They have tended to align themselves with education interests not because they think teachers should be allowed to have a say in education policy, but because big government interests tend to favor, by their very nature, public education and every other large, unwieldy bureaucracy. The true believers on this side know what's best for us all: astronomical taxes to establish big government, supported and informed by big unions, which will speak for us all.

Of the two sides, I think we have a better chance of convincing Republicans who often tend to be more reality based. When the markets change, after all, they are willing to change business models and practices. We have had publically supported education in America for two centuries for very good and compelling reasons, reasons which are as valid now as in the past. Democrats tend to try to change the world to conform to their vision or ignore it when it does not. At least with Republicans, there is hope of seeing reason.

To sum it up, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that a specific set of negative consequences come from legislation written by the right. I don't see this as an evil plot to enrich the ultra rich, but a natural consequence of the political and social motivations of those pushing NCLB ( which I see in general as a marvelous attempt to repair that which is not broken). The larger question is which set of consequences do we want to live with? After all, the self esteem movement--to name just one democrat boondoggle--hasn't exactly been good for education or the nation, has it?

Mike in Texas said...


The solution lies in the professional educators asserting themselves as the experts who now would kids need.

Engineers would never allow polticians to tell them how to build a bridge, and the general public would not want to drive across it. So why should it be any different for teachers?

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

MIT: Becuase not everyone has ever claculated the load a bridge will hold, nor have they ever used a welding torch, but everyone has been in a school at one time or another, so they know all about education, right?


And I'm with Polski about the schocked part. Whoa.