Just when you thought these selfish criminals couldn't piss you off more, they go ahead and top themselves.
Forgetting the fact (just for a moment though) that this administration has quite possibly the most stunning array of incompetent and greedy cronies in every conceivable department - in many instances costing money and lives (hello, Brownie), we now find out that the ANNUAL billion dollar reading program from "No Child Left Behind" not only broke the law by dictating what curriculum schools should use but (shocker here) dictated that the curriculum to be used was that of an inferior quality but developed by a company with close political and financial ties to the Bush administration.
Yet, those shameless greedy bastards at the Department of friggin Education are playing politics and willfully providing America's children with inferior quality education just to give an extra few million dollars to their greedy soulless cohorts. And people wonder why America has fallen so far behind other developed countries in reading and math.
Remember back to March when we found out that Barbara Bush directed her Katrina donation to son Neil's educational company, Ignite!, which she was an investor in. And remember back to early 2005 when brother Jeb tried to ram Neil's educational software through the Florida school districts as part of No Child Left Behidn. Well, who wouldn't be surprised if more comes out about this, now that the fifty one page report by the Inspector General just released blasts the US Department of Education.
In fact, the report has six findings, all of them blasting the Department of Education for violations of NCLB as well as strong suggestions of other "statutory violations".
FINDING 1A - The Department Did Not Select the Expert Review Panel in Compliance With the Requirements of NCLB
FINDING 1B - While Not Required to Screen for Conflicts of Interest, the Screening Process the Department Created Was Not Effective
FINDING 2A - The Department Did Not Follow Its Own Guidance For the Peer Review Process
FINDING 2B - The Department Awarded Grants to States Without Documentation That the Subpanels Approved All Criteria
FINDING 3 - The Department Included Requirements in the Criteria Used by the Expert Review Panels That Were Not Specifically Addressed in NCLB
FINDING 4 - In Implementing the Reading First Program, Department Officials Obscured the Statutory Requirements of the ESEA; Acted in Contravention of the GAO Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government; and Took Actions That Call Into Question Whether They Violated the Prohibitions Included in the DEOA
Just lovely. What makes this even more timely is that the Inspector General also JUST RELEASED a report that blasted Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson for, yup, cronyism with respect to blocking contracts to Democrats, as well as directing contracts to "political friends".
Rep. George Miller (D-GA), who is the senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee has a blistering release on his web site (linked above).
"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.
"Everyone at the Department of Education who was involved in perpetrating this fraud on school districts should be fired - not suspended, not reassigned, not admonished, but fired. This was not an accident. This was a concerted effort to corrupt the process on behalf of partisan supporters, and taxpayers and schoolchildren are the ones who got harmed by it," said Miller.
Right on Page 2 of the Inspector General report, it outlines specific violations which are just mind blowing:
Specifically, we found that the Department:
- Developed an application package that obscured the requirements of the statute;
- Took action with respect to the expert review panel process that was contrary to the balanced panel composition envisioned by Congress;
- Intervened to release an assessment review document without the permission of the entity that contracted for its development;
- Intervened to influence a State's selection of reading programs; and
- Intervened to influence reading programs being used by local educational agencies (LEAs) after the application process was completed.
These actions demonstrate that the program officials failed to maintain a control environment that exemplifies management integrity and accountability.
And what else did the report find? Well, how about stacking peer review panels, ignoring federal laws, funneling the money to big Bush contributors and manipulating the grant process:
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.
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 1930's, according to published reports.
I guess we can now once again officially call NCLB the "No Crony Left Behind" Act. Because who needs to educate our children. After all, if they were educated, they certainly would wake up and demand that these lying cheating murdering stealing negligent war criminals "be brought to justice".
But who cares about all that with a new season of Desperate Housewives about to start.....