Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Following the money in NCLB

This editorial presents a few interesting connections between NCLB and money. The entire op/ed is worth a read but here is a snippet of the most eyebrow raising part:
    Follow the money behind federal education law and a new picture begins to emerge of who, exactly, is benefiting. The Wall Street Journal, no less, points out that business is booming for private educational services scrambling to capitalize on the No Child Left Behind act.
    The federal law requires struggling schools to provide tutoring and enrichment programs for programs such as the one offered by Sylvan Education Solutions. According to the Wall Street Journal, Sylvan expects to tutor 20,000 students this year, at $20 to $40 an hour. The company has a handy No Child Left Behind information link on its Web site, and advises visitors that "students that would not otherwise have access to supplemental services can now, at no cost, take advantage of Sylvan's high-quality, personalized programs." That cost, of course, is borne by taxpayers.

    Educational Testing Service, the company that publishes the SAT college aptitude test and has now developed an elementary- and secondary-education division, expects revenues of $75 million this year. It has nonprofit status, but private-sector salaries: ETS' president and CEO earns more than $550,000 a year in salary and benefits.

    No Child Left Behind's real cash cow is in testing. The U.S. General Accounting Office estimates that states will have to spend $1.9 billion to $5.3 billion to comply with the law's testing provisions. McGraw-Hill is one of the companies certain to prosper from those provisions. As one of three major U.S. educational testing companies, it produces the California Achievement Test and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills.

    Following the money, The Nation magazine in a January 2002 article detailed ties between President Bush's family and McGraw-Hill chairman Harold McGraw - ties that can be traced back three generations. Harold McGraw III was a member of the president's transition advisory team, and company executives have moved easily between positions at McGraw-Hill and the administration.
Actually, the husband wasn't so surprised.