KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Friday, September 22, 2006

Cronies (Not Reading) First

This bothers the hell out of me, especially because I've done projects for McGraw-Hill, though for a different division of the company:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bush administration pushed local school districts across the country to use a reading curriculum that had been developed by a company with close political and financial ties to the administration despite concerns about the quality of the curriculum and despite the fact that, in some cases, states sought to use other curricula, according to the results of an independent government investigation released today. As a result, the investigation concluded that the Bush administration violated the No Child Left Behind federal education law.

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said that the report shows that it's time for the Department of Education—which last year admitted that it had paid media commentators hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce covert propaganda—to clean house.

"Corrupt cronies at the Department of Education wasted taxpayer dollars on an inferior reading curriculum for kids that was developed by a company headed by a Bush friend and campaign contributor," said Miller. "Instead of putting children first, they chose to put their cronies first. Enough is enough. President Bush and Secretary Spellings must take responsibility and do a wholesale housecleaning at the Education Department."

The investigation, conducted by the Department of Education’s Inspector General, found that the Department of Education made states’ funding under the federal Reading First program contingent on their using a reading curriculum developed by McGraw-Hill, Inc. or one from a short list of commercial reading programs. The report concluded that the Department of Education had stacked peer review panels, ignored federal statutes, and manipulated state and local reading curriculum selection procedures to steer grants to its favored venders. More than $5 billion has been spent on Reading First since 2002.

McGraw-Hill’s Chairman and CEO, Harold McGraw III, and its Chairman Emeritus, Harold McGraw Jr., contributed a total of over $23,000 to the Republican National Committee and to President Bush’s campaigns between 1999 and 2006. The Bush and McGraw families have been personally and professionally close since the 1930s, according to published reports. ...

Read the rest here. (More stories are available from the New York Times [requires registration] and MSNBC.com.) Hat-tip to Think Progress.

Updated September 23, 2006: Read the inspector general's report here.


Anonymous said...

Well, the findings in that internal review really bother me as well, and I have nothing to do with the entities involved. It's a shame to see our tax dollars go to waste, especially on an educational program that seemed to have so much promise.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Wasting tax dollars seems to be the Bush administration's modus operandi. That children are caught in the middle here is even more outrageous.

TFLS said...

My best friend is a teacher. You should hear her rant and rave about the whole 'no child left behind' thing and what it has done to education. I know that before Bush (you know - that's gonna begin to be used a whole lot more I'm thinkin') - before Bush she and I used to spend time over the summer discussing her focus for the upcoming year. She'd often plan an entire curriculum around one of Shakespeare's plays - history, social agenda's. She teaches the difficult students - gang-bangers, mentally and emotionally challenged. Well - she used to, anyway. Now all she has are straight from jail psychotics - usually completely unable to read or write. She went from teaching modern day applications of Romeo and Juliet to barricading herself in her classroom until the police arrive to cart away her latest assigned crazy who's pounding on the door saying he's going to kill everyone. She's had one serial arsonist, one serial killer - and someone so psychopathic he was transported to and from his lock-down facility to her classroom by armed escort. Katharine – I used to come into her classroom and give workshops on theatre or talk about writing. Her students always came out of her classroom with a chance at a good life. It was rare any would go back to the streets. Now – she’s decided to look for teaching positions in her local colleges. Why? Because she can no longer do what she loves – teach. Thank you George Bush and your MINE! MINE! MINE! attitudes.

Unknown said...

No Child's Behind Left.

Well said, Katharine.

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