Friday, October 06, 2006

No Brother Left Behind: Neil Bush gets $5 million from NCLB

Front paged at Booman Tribune and ePluribus Media. Recommended at Daily Kos

Would you expect anything less? We already know how brother Jeb tried to ram Neil Bush's education software through the Florida schools under NCLB last year. And just two weeks ago, a scathing report by the Inspector General blasted the Department of Education for breaking the law in favoring inferior products from Bush administration supporters as well as not following a number of laws regarding NCLB.

And now, we find out that Neil Bush's educational software company, Ignite! Inc. will receive around $5,000,000 in 2006 ALONE. And how good is his software at providing students with the essential skills to actually learn and be competitive with other countries?

The President's younger brother Neil takes a different tack: He's selling to the test. The No Child Left Behind Act compels schools to prove students' mastery of certain facts by means of standardized exams.

Never mind the fact that Neil has been an absolute failure at pretty much everything he has touched (much like older brother Georgie), but has gotten untold millions for his failures. And never mind that, according to a recent essay on Neil Bush and Ignite!, the software does little more than:
Based off of federal mandates for standardized tests in the No Child Left Behind Act, Ignite! delivers custom edu-tainment animations that teach to the specific standardized tests.


Or on the off chance that they can peddle enough influence, and get this monstrosity into actual classrooms, this is the way that the Bush family intends to leave no child behind. By bilking them of federal funds for real, honest learning materials, like good books and better teachers, and installing cheap web-cartoon-players in the classroom, which dole out dumbed-down edu-nuggets, sent from the central HQ.

OK, a bit harsh, but the reality of this is that for years already, teachers have complained about NCLB taking the tools of educating out of their hands, and is forcing them into a "one size fits all" method for teaching all kids, regardless of their needs, skills or, well, just about anything else. And we also know that with the threat of losing federal funding, unfunded mandates to get into compliance, as well as other archaic rules and requirements, many districts and localities have sued the federal government over this program.

Of course, another great piece of news is that the US has slipped to the middle of the pack as far as our students' grasp and performance in math and other subjects as compared to other industrialized nations. So why not push them ahead with dumbed down versions of Schoolhouse Rock (which actually taught us some good stuff in the 1970s) that almost seem like they were created by the Decider himself:

Of course, of the examples of "learning materials" presented on the site, the first two are garish cartoons caricaturing France as a corrupt and morally bankrupt nation, and the North as a tax-happy bunch of elites trying to keep the South down.

Nothing like teaching out children to be xenophobic and racist, while pumping them full of propaganda.

And the kicker here - guess where a good chunk of the revenue is coming from for 2006? Yup - Texas.

Bush's Ignite! Inc. has sold 1,700 COWs since 2005, mainly in Texas, where Bush lives and his brother was once governor. In August, Houston's school board authorized expenditures of up to $200,000 for COWs. The company expects 2006 revenue of $5 million. Says Bush about the impact of his name: "I'm not saying it hasn't opened any doors. It may have helped with some sales." (In September, the U.S. Education Dept.'s inspector general accused the agency of improperly favoring at least five publishers).

Um - it MAY have helped with some sales? You don't think that being the son and the brother of two presidents, a current and a former governor in a state where both of those presidents still live has anything to do with it? You don't think that daddy's crony buddies who funded you and bailed you out have anything to do with it? You don't think that your lack of any experience in the area of education will sell these machines?


Nothing like shortchanging our students' education and future for a few million bucks for the family. Cuz that is the `Murkin way.....

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