Monday, May 14, 2007

Class...Can You Spell "Conflict Of Interest"?

The No Child Left Behind Scandal Widens.

This is precisely why the federal government and education do not mix.

Not only have we seen college student loan scandals but now
Joseph Rhee Reports: A scathing report issued today documents "substantial financial ties" between key advisors of Reading First, a controversial federal reading grant program, and publishers who benefited from the program.

The report, issued by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, called the findings "troublesome because they diminish the integrity of the Reading First program."

Reading First is a multi-billion-dollar program meant to boost literacy among low-income children that was adopted as part of No Child Left Behind in 2001.

The Kennedy report centers on four directors of the Reading First Technical Assistance Centers, who, the report says, were highly influential in advising states on which reading programs to adopt in order to qualify for federal funds.

According to the report, the directors had "extensive ties with education publishers" at the same time they were responsible for evaluating other publishers' programs. The report concluded that such ties may have "improperly influenced actions."
Read the specifics at USA Today which reports this:
The report concluded by recommending that Congress adopt new restrictions to safeguard against financial conflicts in federal education programs.

"Individuals serving on advisory committees or in the peer review process for the department should be prohibited from maintaining significant financial interests in related educational products or activities," the report said.
And this is what Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said: "It would be impossible to run department programs without relying on some people with ties to the private sector. "We want and need expertise as we make policy and do this work," she said.

Maybe the corruption would be eliminated if she and her department were eliminated as well. There are some Congressmen and politicians, like Ron Paul (TX), who also support that idea. Much has been written about the failure of the federal Department of Education to improve public education in the past 30 years. But most of all, the establishment of a federal Department of Education is Unconstitutional based on the 10th Amendment.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.
The Amendment, which makes explicit the idea that the federal government is limited only to the powers it is granted in the isn't one of them.