Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Win a Quick Hundred Bucks at Breakfast

My filthy rich republican uncle and my aunt stopped by for coffee and cinnamon buns on their way up to Idaho for the summer. My sister, who is a high school teacher, was here too. She has been studying the No Child Left Behind legislation. She is very concerned with the ramifications for local schools. Essentially she believes that the standards set are impossible to meet. Judging special education kids, recent arrivals who haven't been able to meet language standards, and the fact that there are simply some kids who hate school and won't be able to pass the test, which, by the way, requires 100% pass rates.

If a school fails to meet these impossible standards they are subject to "management companies" coming in to take over the entire school system. Things like academic tenure, length of service, in short, all the protections of a union workplace would cease to exist.

She says the language of the bill is confusing, hard to parse, often done with pretty slovenly grammar.

As she was explaining the way things are set up I started thinking. Then it struck me.

I asked "So, the standards set are impossible to meet?"

She said "Yes."

I asked, "Who would be the ones to benefit by these impossible standards?"

She said "The school management companies."

I said, "Then find out who owns the school management companies and you'll have a very clear picture of who the bill was written for."

On a whim, I said "I bet Neil Bush heads one of those companies."

My uncle, who is a very successful, gifted attorney, who loves the law, and is a decent, honorable man, said "I can't buy that."

I said "Bet me."

One quick Google got me to Ignite! which is owned by, you guessed it, Neil Bush.

My uncle, who has been taking emotional hits for the last several years as republican, after republican is driven from office, indicted on tawdry scandals, sorrowfully sagged his shoulders and peeled me off a $100.00 bill.

I told him that it gave me no real pleasure to be that easily right in assuming that our government is hopelessly corrupt.

Then I offered him another cinnamon roll. That helped.



Blogger Liz Blondsense said...

Just learned more about the No Child Left Behind Bill from your post than I had ever known before. Thanks. I think.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

It is reprehensible, is it not?

Your sister is correct that the education legislation is often riddled with poor grammar, which is a sad indicator in itself.

I recall reading the Neil Bush is also involved with companies that market poor reading software programs. If I'm not mistaken, Laura Bush was a champion. It is a closed loop.

Congrats on your fast buck, though.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

p.s.--there is something sinister in having George "Malaprop" Bush's brother having a hand in teaching America to read, n'est ce pas?

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By gawd Minstrel, you never cease to amaze, and hopefully your Uncle, who must in many ways be a decent sort, will come to the realization that the shrubs are all rotten bastards. I bet he already has.

Really great tale, when with my parents I attempt to avoid politics at all costs. So how long can one talk about the weather, or anything safe?

I also noticed that you acted on a "whim", much better than reacting to some damned "gut" instinct.

I'll take a whim over my gut anyday.

10:38 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the whim was founded in some knowledge. right after katrina there was a story about barbara bush making a 3 or 4 million dollar donation to the new orleans schools. of course, there was a catch, the money was to be used to buy materials from brother neil's educational company. i figured it was a pretty safe bet that if bush's were involved in the legislation that it would not be doing what it was said to be doing, that the real operation would be about expanding the role of government, and enriching asshole bastards named bush.

like the old indian said when he had daylight savings time explained to him (h/t to grumpy old man for this little gem)

only the white man could cut off two feet from the top of a blanket and sew them onto the bottom and say he made the blanket longer.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think Neil was the brother who was being groomed to go into politics and run for president but he was up to his eye balls in the S&L scandal in the 80's and got in quite a bit of hot water over it.

No Child Left Behind sucks. out.loud. The very least harm it causes is that it makes teachers have to teach for the test rather than offer students a broad base of knowledge that might actually have some meaning in their lives. At its worse, it panders to the management companies as you have noted....and of course then education becomes about making money and we see how well that has worked with health care.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never doubted it was, and I remember what you refer to. The overwhelming evidence of the corruption of the shrubs is astounding, how anyone can still support this six-foot-tall-steaming-pile-of-shit, or any of it's kin is way beyond me.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assuming corruption? That was an easy hundred bucks.

NCLB is a horrible law that is enriching people like Neil Bush. I also think that at its core, it was created to drive a stake through the heart of public eduction. Voucher supporters love it because they don't want public schools to succeed. By creating impossible standards, public schools are set up to fail so that vouchers can be brought in to "save" the system.

But then, I own a nice wardrobe of tinfoil items.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Your post points out a very important part of NCLB - to benefit the Bush family and their cronies. But I think the big picture is to entirely destroy public education so that public money can be spent on private institutions via vouchers or some other program.

Also, the testing goals of NCLB are statistically impossible to meet. It calls for 100% of all students to pass the standardized tests by 2014 (I think that's the year). There is no test or will there ever be a test that every student will pass.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I said "I bet Neil Bush heads one of those companies."

He's already made a nice sum of $$$ in Florida, thanks to Jeb who has already instituted this shit down there.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Neil was the brother who was being groomed to go into politics and run for president

Beg to differ. That was Jeb.

12:28 PM  
Blogger jurassicpork said...

Ignite!, you may remember from the aftermath of Hurrican Katrina, got a shitload of contracts from the federal government. The eduational software was sold to schools, which meant that Lapdancing Neil, plus Mama Bush, got a nice little windfall through their stock options in the company.

The NCLB bill was meant to be nothing two things: A boondoggle for thye school management companies and a vast database for the DoD. A district refuses to hand over the contact info of their students, they lose their federal funding. Two districts in California tried that back in 2004-5 (One was San Francisco). They were told, no names, addresses and telephone numbers, no moolah.

Sadly, they had no choice but to hand over the info to the Moe Howard administration.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Angry Ballerina said...

With so much pressure in school, I really wouldn't be all that surprised to see the drop out rate go up a little bit.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

it just gives me a cold lump in the pit of my stomach.

so corrupt and so terribly unfair to the kids. just so sick, but what can we expect from the family that gave us george bush?

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"... the language of the bill is confusing, hard to parse, often done with pretty slovenly grammar."

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Neil, himself, had a hand in writing the actual legislation.

3:49 PM  
Blogger The Cunning Runt said...

Nice work, MB!

NCLB is indeed cut from the same cloth as privatizing prisons, privatizing "security services" in Iraq, privatizing Social Security...

That's how they do it. Take the citizens' assets and give them to rich private individuals to make money with (which they keep,) and keep the tax dollars flowing into private pockets as well.

It's Globalization brought home, after being perfected on the backs of Second World Countries.

Chomsky says some very eye-opening things about that.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember all that Neil Bush/"educational" software stuff from Katrina and Florida. One thing you can always count on in this administration: behind every corner there lurks at least one Bush or Halliburton waiting to profit from others' deaths and misfortunes.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

In Massachusetts, the state has adopted an approach even more draconian that NCLB. After a couple of years, the funding for "remediation" went away while the requirements stayed in place. I did some writing on this a couple of years ago.

7:18 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

outstanding paul.

it's time to get the government, especially the feds out of the schools, except to shovel the money into the educators.

far too much time, which could be spent in actually teaching and learning is spent teaching to their fucking tests.

it is a system that will ensure cheating, corruption, and many bad things while turning out mindless fact spouting drones who have had every original thought beaten the fuck out of them.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

NCLB does seem geared to turn out little automatons while alienating anyone from the job who actually possesses the skills to inspire and teach.

The mediocre teachers love it; the rest leave the "profession."

9:14 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

But wait! You've missed one of the best parts of the whole mess! Once the testing companies get their money developing and administering the tests in each state (because, of course, each state must write its own plan for meeting NCLB requirements), we are not yet finished. Failing schools being taken over is one option--"school choice" is another. This means Title 1 money which previously went to the schools to provide programs of remediation within the school itself can now go to PRIVATE institutions (such as Kuomon and other drill-and-kill skill improvement outfits) or private schools where students can "have their needs met." BTW, these PRIVATE institutions do not have to meet the requirements of NCLB.

8:27 AM  

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