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The Big Man on Campus Reform


This go-to guy on school policy, one of the most influential players in the education-industrial complex, has motivies as American as apple pie. Spell it money, money, money. Corporate pals range from Enron to McGraw-Hill to Pearson to William Bennett's K12 to The Teaching Commission (chaired by our old friend Lou Gerstner).

AUSTIN – Sandy Kress is charting the future for America's schoolchildren. Ten years ago, he was president of the Dallas school board. In 2001, he helped President Bush shoulder the No Child Left Behind Act through Congress.

He's a lawyer, a lobbyist, an education policy wonk and a once-prominent Democrat who became a top adviser to Republicans. And today, at age 55, Mr. Kress is among the most influential players in the education-industrial complex.

Some critics see a conflict. On the one hand, Mr. Kress is a leading advocate of using test data to hold schools accountable; he says his motivation is to make education better for children. On the other, the accountability movement that he espouses benefits the clients who have made him wealthy.

"One of the things that irritates people is that he wraps George W. Bush around his neck like a mink stole, and he is really this highly paid hired gun who opens up education markets for big companies," said Carolyn Boyle, a former PTA mom who lobbies to maintain funding for public schools.

Mr. Kress dismisses such talk as hyperbole from people who "see hobgoblins" and "commies under the bed." What they should be focusing on, he said, is bad schools where most kids fail the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.

"You wanna know what motivates me?" Mr. Kress asked. "Fixing that problem is what motivates me."

Whether to feed his passion or to pad his paycheck, Mr. Kress has picked up his briefcase and headed to the Capitol to join the legislative debate about reshaping schools and the teaching profession.

"I'm a radical education reformer," he said. "That is who I am. That is the definition of Sandy Kress."

Mr. Kress is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which describes itself as one of the world's largest law firms. He operates from an office on the 21st floor of a downtown Austin high-rise. He lives in a million-dollar home with his wife, Camille. They have two children who attend public schools.

Mr. Kress seems to be involved in every serious conversation about education policy from California to New York. His schedule keeps him hopscotching across the country as a cheerleader for No Child Left Behind, the sweeping federal education law that enshrined test data as the centerpiece of school accountability.

Under the Texas Capitol dome this session, he is the paid lobbyist for conservative businessmen intent on imposing more accountability on public schools in return for increased funding. He consults for companies that sell products and services to state education agencies and school districts. And he advises corporate chief executives under the banner of business groups such as the Business Roundtable.

Mr. Kress declined to reveal his hourly rate. It varies by client, he said. Sometimes, he volunteers his time.

At legislative hearings and education conferences and in the press, he is usually identified as a former education adviser to President Bush or as a former Dallas school board president in the mid-1990s.

Rarely mentioned publicly, however, are Mr. Kress' connections to powerful companies and business associations that have a stake in a $500-billion-a-year public education machine fueled by a politically volatile mix of federal, state and local taxes.

"Sandy is old-school in that he wants to fly under the radar screen, particularly as it relates to his lobbying activities," said longtime friend Robert Spellings, a Washington lobbyist and husband of U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. "He quietly goes about his business, and he has credibility."

Mr. Kress says he follows all public disclosure laws for lobbyists. He frowned upon hearing his friend's metaphor. "I don't fly above or below anything," he said.


Legislative influence

Most lawmakers don't seem to care whom Mr. Kress represents. When he speaks, they listen.

Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, chairwoman of the state Senate's Education Committee, will be a key player in crafting controversial proposals based on test score data – things such as bonus pay for teachers and state sanctions for low-performing schools.

Mr. Kress "has been a vital part of everything I've done for the last two years. I say he is an adviser and mentor, and we share ideas," Ms. Shapiro said. "When it comes to public schools and the betterment of children, I don't know of anyone who cares more about that than Sandy Kress."

Ms. Shapiro said she sees Mr. Kress as a friend, not one of the estimated 300 Austin lawyer-lobbyists who represent clients interested in public education law.

"I have no idea who his clients are," she said.

Much of Mr. Kress' work takes place under the cloak of attorney-client privilege.

"I don't want to talk too much about what I do for my clients because I don't think they like that," he said.

Mr. Kress' relationship with Pearson Education, one of the world's largest education companies, illustrates how he works with some clients.

Pearson, among other things, publishes textbooks and runs high-stakes test programs for state education agencies. The company holds a $57 million contract to run the TAKS test program for 2004-05, according to the Texas Education Agency.

The Government Accountability Office, a watchdog agency that reports to Congress, says states will spend $1.9 billion to $5.3 billion to implement tests mandated by No Child Left Behind.

So what is Mr. Kress' value to a major player in the textbook and testing industries?

A January 2003 meeting of Pearson executives and their investors shed some light on that question. Mr. Kress was the featured speaker.

Marjorie Scardino, the Texarkana-born chief executive of parent company Pearson PLC (which also owns The Financial Times and Penguin Books), introduced Mr. Kress as one of "the leading advisers on education policy in America."

"He also is our adviser," she said. "He talks a lot to us about how NCLB is going to change things for us and what kinds of products and services might be appropriate for that kind of change."

Mr. Kress spent 20 minutes guiding Pearson investors through his encyclopedic knowledge of federal law, helping them understand No Child Left Behind's requirements and their effect on the market: more money for English language learners, new mandates for science testing beginning in 2006-07 and a hundred other details.

During a recent interview, he talked about how he sees himself and his work. The word "lobbyist" was not prominent in his self-analysis.

What he really does, he said, is use a unique blend of knowledge about public education law and education research to chart the future for his clients. He reads research. For example, he knows what middle school math textbooks should contain and who should be hired to write them.

"I may say, 'Here's what I think' or 'Here's what I see.' "

From Dallas to D.C.

How can he be both a professorial guru and a hired gun? One lawmaker, who asked not to be identified, likened Mr. Kress to Jell-O that's hard to grab onto.

In the mid-1980s, he was Democratic Party chairman in Dallas County. He ran for the Dallas school board in 1992 and won. Even back then, he advocated upgrading learning by using a standardized test to measure academic success and teacher performance.

In 1993, George W. Bush was preparing to run for governor and called Mr. Kress for a tutorial on education policy. They became friends.

By 1995, Mr. Kress had become Dallas school board president. It was an extraordinarily divisive period for the Dallas Independent School District. Mr. Kress and other whites on the board often voted with the Latino members in a bloc that became known as the "slam-dunk gang."

Black trustees accused him of running a dictatorship that targeted minority schools for punishment for academic problems. He said he was just trying to improve the schools, and in fact student test scores did rise during his tenure. Under his leadership, DISD also implemented an accountability system to link teachers' evaluations to the performance of their students.

But after four racially charged years on the board, he chose not to run for re-election in 1996.

"The political conflicts in Dallas were complex," he said. "I don't purport to fully understand them."

The political turmoil helped persuade Mr. Kress to leave Dallas in 1997 and establish himself in Austin. By then, he had become a confidant to both Democrats and Republicans. His loyalty to Mr. Bush had deepened.

In 2001, he turned up as a temporary government employee in Washington. With his bipartisan pedigree and education expertise, Mr. Bush saw him as the perfect choice to shepherd No Child Left Behind through Congress.

Mr. Kress got much of the credit for passing the law. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., called him the president's "smooth talker." He left Washington with greater stature among Republicans, who were becoming the winning team in Washington and Austin.

Even so, Mr. Kress never switched parties publicly. He started referring to himself as "post-partisan."

Records show that he and his wife have contributed $7,000 to the Bush presidential campaigns. But he also contributed to his law firm's political action committee, which gives money to both Republicans and Democrats.

Voting records show that he participated in the 2000 Republican primary. In 2002, he voted in the Democratic primary. He didn't vote in either primary in 2004.

"I still get surprised when folks ascribe political motives to what I do," he said. "I work with Democrats. I work with Republicans. And I don't see myself, for better or worse, as making decisions to curry favor on a partisan basis."

The accountability fight

Mr. Kress also lobbies for Texas Businesses for Educational Excellence, a loose-knit group that wants a more productive public education system for their tax dollars.

The group advocates a tightly controlled industrial model for education called standards-based accountability.

The state develops a script – grade by grade and subject by subject – to determine what children should be taught. It's called the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Teachers follow the guidelines, and children are tested to measure academic production.

Test results allow the state to target teachers and principals for praise or blame. The scores also point to schools that might need restructuring.

Teachers and other critics say this system steals creativity from the classroom and leaves no time for deeper learning and critical thinking. Mr. Kress dismisses those complaints. He says good teachers can find time for a well-rounded curriculum beyond TEKS.

"You cannot teach a whole semester on dinosaurs," Mr. Kress said. "With some teachers, it would be a whole semester on dinosaurs. It's a revolution. In the past, those decisions were made in the classroom."

Linda McNeil, a professor of education at Rice University, says the business model for public education is disrespectful of teachers.

"The idea is that teachers don't work hard and that they need to be shaped up by business people," said Dr. McNeil, a critic of the standards-based accountability movement.

The focus on a uniform statewide testing system, she argued, shifts public attention away from the poor school environment that many lower-income students endure each day – inferior libraries, too few textbooks, no running water in science classes.

"Sameness becomes a proxy for equity," she said. "The so-called accountability system becomes a mask for the old inequalities."

Critics say Mr. Kress' education philosophy equates teachers to salesmen. Mr. Kress is among those who advocate bonuses for schools that score better on TAKS, with principals deciding which teachers are rewarded.

He is also pushing the TEA to classify more Texas schools as "low-performing." Right now, some are ranked "acceptable" even though no more than 25 percent of their students pass the TAKS test.

Mr. Kress also advocates new, "muscular" sanctions for schools that remain low-performing for three years in a row when compared with schools with similar demographics.

To escape those schools, parents might be given publicly funded vouchers to transfer their children to private schools. Or regulators might turn the operations of chronically low-performing schools over to private for-profit or nonprofit management companies.

"Whether it's done by school people themselves or contracted out to somebody else, I'm agnostic on that," Mr. Kress said. "But that it be done is essential."

Mr. Kress also says he believes state government should expand the number of charter schools in Texas. Educational choices for parents are a good thing, he said.

The opposition

Talk of vouchers and privatizing public schools is threatening to many teachers, administrators and other public school advocates.

Ms. Boyle, the former PTA mom, works with many of those who are alarmed. She runs the Coalition for Public Schools, an amalgam of 40 organizations that represent everyone from teachers to school administrators to elected school board members.

And she is suspicious of those who talk about issuing vouchers and corporations taking over failing public schools.

"I'm looking at all of this as a parent with a lot of heart involved," said Ms. Boyle, who spends her days fighting legislative proposals to divert money from public schools. "These guys are looking at schools with their brains and calculators."

E-mail sparks@dallasnews.com

KRESS: HIS CLIENTS AND HIS ACTIVITIES

Education adviser to President George W. Bush in the 2000 and 2004 campaigns. Played key role in helping Mr. Bush push the No Child Left Behind law through Congress.

Consultant to Council of Chief State School Officers, an association of state education commissioners. Mr. Kress advises them on how to implement No Child Left Behind's requirement that all states set up accountability systems based on high-stakes test scores.

Consultant to the Business Roundtable, a Washington D.C.-based consortium of chief executives of major American companies. The organization has been active in education issues for many years.

Co-founder of the Texas Education Reform Caucus.* TERC was created as an advisory committee for state Rep. Kent Grusendorf, R-Arlington, chairman of the Public Education Committee in the Texas House of Representatives.

Adviser, consultant and lobbyist for Pearson Education, a worldwide company that publishes textbooks and runs high-stakes test programs in Texas and other states.

Lobbyist for Kaplan, a division of The Washington Post Co. Kaplan provides a wide range of educational products and services. It first made its mark in the test-preparation industry.

Lobbyist for The Teaching Commission, a New York-based think tank started by Louis V. Gerstner Jr., chairman of The Carlyle Group, a private global investment firm. The Teaching Commission advocates more rigorous teacher-training programs and paying them based on merit rather than seniority.

Consultant to the Governor's Business Council, a group of Texas business leaders that have recommended a wide-ranging list of changes to public education law in Texas. Charles McMahen, a retired Houston banker, chairs the council.

Lobbyist for Texas Businesses for Excellence in Education. The group hired Mr. Kress to help get the Governor's Business Council recommendations into Texas law. It advocates stricter sanctions for schools that are judged "low-performing" based on high-stakes test scores. Houston investor Charles Miller and San Antonio businessman H.B. Zachry Jr. are involved in this group.

Former lobbyist for K12, which in 2003 unsuccessfully pushed the Texas Legislature to publicly fund so-called virtual charter schools. K12 sells curricula that home-schoolers can get over the Internet. William J. Bennett, a former U.S. secretary of education, is a director of the company. Mr. Kress says he no longer works for K12.

Former lobbyist for Community Education Partners. Under contract with school districts, the company runs alternative campuses for problem students who have been kicked out of regular classrooms. Mr. Kress says he has not worked for CEP since 1999.

SOURCES: Texas Ethics Commission, Sandy Kress and Dallas Morning News research.



http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2005c.htm


Kress, B. Alexander
(512)499-6200
300 West 6th Street Suite 2100 Austin, TX 78701

Employer/Client

Affiliated Computer Services Inc. (ACS)
1200 K Street NW Washington, DC 20005
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
300 West 6th Street Suite 2100 Austin, TX 78701
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

Kaplan Inc.
888 7th Avenue New York, NY 10106
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson
P.O. Box 17429 Austin, TX 78760
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

Pearson Education
1 Lake Street Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: $10,000 - $24,999.99

Texas Businesses for Educational Excellence
24 Greenway Plaza Suite 1401 Houston, TX 77046
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: $25,000 - $49.999.99

The Teaching Commission
365 Fifth Avenue Suite 6200 New York, NY 10016
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00


http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2004c.htm

Kress, B. Alexander
(512)499-6200
300 W. 6th St., Ste. 2100 Austin, TX 78701

Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (ACS)
1200 K Street, NW Washington, DC 20005
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
300 W. 6th St., Ste. 2100 Austin, TX 78701
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

K12 Inc.
8000 Westpart Dr., Ste. 500 Mc Lean, VA 22102
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00
Termination Date: 09/14/04

Kaplan, Inc.
888 7th Ave. New York, NY 10106
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP
1949 S. IH 35 Austin, TX 78741
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

Pearson Education
1 Lake Street Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: $25,000 - $49.999.99

The Teaching Commission
365 Fifth Ave., Ste. 6200 New York, NY 10016
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00


http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2003c.htm

Kress, B. Alexander
(512)499-6200
300 West 6th Street, Suite 2100 Austin, TX 78701
Lobbyist Termination Date: 12/31/03

Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP
300 West 6th Street, Suite 2100 Austin, TX 78701
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

K12 Inc.
8000 Westpart Drive, Suite 500 Mc Lean, VA 22102
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: $10,000 - $24,999.99

Kaplan, Inc.
888 7th Avenue New York, NY 10106
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLPA
P. O. Box 17428 Austin, TX 78760
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

PRIMEDIA Inc.
745 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10151
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00


http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2002c.htm

Kress, B. Alexander
(512)499-6200
300 West 6th Street, Suite 2100 Austin, TX 78701

Charter Schools USA, Inc.
6245 North Federal Highway, 5th Floor Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

Horace Mann Insurance Company
1 Horace Mann Plaza Springfield, IL 62175
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00
Termination Date: 11/12/02

K12
8000 Westpart Drive, Suite 500 Mc Lean, VA 22102
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

Kaplan, Inc.
888 7th Avenue New York, NY 10106
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

R.W. Durham & Company
21514 Hawthorne Boulevard, Suite 355 Torrance, CA 90503
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00
Termination Date: 11/12/02

Security Benefit Life Insurance Company
700 SW Harrison Street Topeka, KS 66636-0001
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00
Termination Date: 11/12/02

Texans for Education
400 West Fifteenth Strett, Suite 910 Austin, TX 78701
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented
406 East 11th Street #310 Austin, TX 78701-2617
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00
Termination Date: 06/10/02

VeriTrust Financial, L.L.C.
1701 Director's Boulevard, Suite 250 Austin, TX 78744
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount: Less Than $10,000.00
Termination Date: 11/12/02

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon2000c.htm

Kress, B. Alexander "Sandy"
(512) 499-6200
816 Congress Avenue Suite 1900 Austin, TX 78701-

AT&T
919 Congress Avenue Suite 1500 Austin, TX 78701-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 25,000.00 - 49,999.99

Cinemark USA, Inc.
3900 Dallas Parkway Suite 500 Plano, TX 75093-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Community Education Partners
293 Plus Park Boulevard Suite 240 Nashville, TN 37217-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

ForeLogic LLC
800 East Campbell Road Suite 340 Richardson, TX 75081-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

FreeMarkets, Inc.
One Oliver Plaza 210 Sixth Avenue Pittsburg, PA 15222-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

McGraw-Hill School Division
1221 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

PG&E Corporation
P.O. Box 770000 San Francisco, CA 94177-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

RIVER LTD.
2305 Cedar Srpings Road Suite 401 Dallas, TX 75201-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Texans For Education
400 West Fifteenth Street Suite 910 Austin, TX 78701-
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented
406 East 11th Street Suite 310 Austin, TX 78701-2617
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Texas Instruments Incorporated
P.O. Box 660199, MS 8656 Dallas, TX 75266-0199
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99


http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon9c.htm

Kress, B. Alexander
(512) 499-6200
816 Congress Ave. Suite 1900 Austin, TX 78701-
Lobbyist Termination Date: 12/31/99

AT&T
919 Congress Ave. Suite 1500 Austin, TX 78701-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/99
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount of Compensation: $ 50,000.00 - 99,999.99

Cinemark USA, Inc.
9300 Dallas Parkway Suite 500 Plano, TX 75093-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/99
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Community Education Partners
293 Plus Park Blvd. Suite 240 Nashville, TN 37217-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/99
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount of Compensation: $ 25,000.00 - 49,999.99

ForeLogic LLC
800 E. Campbell Rd. Suite 340 Richardson, TX 75081-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/99
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount of Compensation: $ 10,000.00 - 24,999.99

McGraw-Hill School Division
1221 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/99
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount of Compensation: $ 10,000.00 - 24,999.99

PG&E Corp.
P.O. Box 770000 San Francisco, CA 94177-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/99
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Texans For Education
400 W 15th St Suite 910 Austin, TX 78701-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/99
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount of Compensation: $ 25,000.00 - 49,999.99

Texas Instruments, Inc.
P.O. Box 660199, MS 8656 Dallas, TX 75266-0199
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/99
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount of Compensation: $ 10,000.00 - 24,999.99

Texas Surplus Lines Assn., Inc.
9020-I Capital Of Texas Hwy N Suite 370 Austin, TX 78759-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/99
Type of Compensation: Prospective
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon8c.htm

Kress, B. Alexander "Sandy"
(512) 499-6200
816 Congress Ave. Suite 1900 Austin, TX 78701-
Lobbyist Termination Date: 12/31/98

AT & T (American Telephone & Telegraph)
919 Congress Ave. Suite 1500 Austin, TX 78701-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/98
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Community Education Partners
293 Plus Park Blvd. Suite 240 Nashville, TN 37217-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/98
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Millers Mutual Fire Insurance Co.
PO Box 2269 Fort Worth, TX 76113-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/98
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

PG & E Corp.
P.O. Box 770000 San Francisco, CA 94177-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/98
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Texans For Education
400 W 15th St Suite 910 Austin, TX 78701-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/98
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Texas Instruments, Inc.
P.O. Box 660199, MS 8656 Dallas, TX 75266-0199
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/98
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Texas Surplus Lines Assn., Inc.
9020-I Capital Of Texas Hwy N Suite 370 Austin, TX 78759-
Concern Termination Date: 12/31/98
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/lobcon7c.htm

Kress, B. Alexander "Sandy"
(512) 499-6200
816 Congress Ave. Suite 1900 Austin, TX 78701-

Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P.
1700 Pacific Suite 4100 Dallas, TX 75201-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

AT & T (American Telephone & Telegraph)
919 Congress Ave. Suite 1500 Austin, TX 78701-
Concern Termination Date: 06/10/97
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Community Education Partners
293 Plus Park Blvd. Suite 240 Nashville, TN 37217-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Enron Capital & Trade Resources, Corp.
P.O. Box 4428 Houston, TX 77210-4428
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Governor's Business Council, Inc.
P.O. Box 1188 Houston, TX 77251-1188
Concern Termination Date: 07/29/97
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Millers Mutual Fire Insurance Co.
PO Box 2269 Fort Worth, TX 76113-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99

Texans For Education
400 W 15th St Suite 910 Austin, TX 78701-
Type of Compensation: Paid
Amount of Compensation: $ 0.01 - 9,999.99


Related Information
*Note from above: Kress's group conducted this survey.

Education group says Texans support testing
http://tinyurl.com/53jgx
09/17/2002
Associated Press

AUSTIN - Sixty-four percent of Texans surveyed by a nonprofit education reform group said they favored standardized testing in the state's public schools, the group announced Tuesday.

The Texas Public Education Reform Foundation commissioned the survey of 808 randomly selected Texans. The survey was conducted by Baseline & Associates Inc. and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Education was the most important issue the Legislature should address, according to 31 percent of those surveyed. The second most important issue was health care, followed by jobs and the economy.

The respondents said they favored standardized testing such as the new Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, but 51 percent said they have not heard or read anything about the more difficult test set to debut this school year.

"The results of this survey are clear: Texans are saying, 'Don't mess with testing,' " said David Russell, the foundation's spokesman.

Testing in Texas' schools has become a campaign issue, particularly in the gubernatorial race.

Democrat Tony Sanchez has criticized the state for relying too much on a single test to assess students. He has proposed allowing the use of several tests and giving schools the option of using a flexible testing schedule.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry has said Texas' education accountability system has been successful and should not be changed.

Russell said the foundation does not endorse candidates. Though the group agrees with Perry that the existing system is working and should not be changed, the timing of the survey's release weeks before the election was "coincidental," he said.

The foundation, which calls itself a nonpartisan group devoted to advancing education reforms in Texas, was formed in 2001 by lawmakers, business leaders, educators and others. Among its founders are state Rep. Kent Grusendorf, R-Arlington, and Sandy Kress, an education adviser to President Bush and former Dallas Democratic Party chairman.



http://www.tperfonline.org/newsreleasemay25.htm


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 24, 2004

CONTACT: ELIZABETH BURGOYNE
(469) 358-6335

STATEMENT FROM EDUCATION REFORM CAUCUS
REGARDING TAKS HIGH SCHOOL SCORES

The Texas Education Reform Caucus (TERC) today underscored the success of the TAKS test, saying newly released 11th grade scores emphasize the role TAKS has played in improving Texas schools. Authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1999, the TAKS test ties academic accountability testing to high school graduation.

TERC Chairman David O. Russell issued the following statement concerning the TAKS test and today’s 11th grade scores.
“We are delighted to see that the 11th grade TAKS scores are up, despite pessimism by some that our schools and students were not up to the task. Texas schools have established a solid track record of improvement and continue to rise to the challenge of change in public education.”

“Quality assessment like TAKS gives teachers and students a fair and accurate way to gauge how much students know and a road map to prepare them for post-high school challenges. Nine out of 10 Texans say students need to be tested to determine what they are learning so they can receive the help they need, according to a statewide education survey conducted by the Texas Public Education Reform Foundation this year.”

“We need to maintain the clearly defined standards, assessment tools like TAKS and consistent expectations that are improving our schools.”

Founded in 2000 by Sandy Kress, former education advisor to President Bush, Tom Luce, Charles Miller, and Representative Kent Grusendorf, the Texas Education Reform Caucus is a non-profit group of more than 250 elected officials, educators, school administrators, parents, and civic and business leaders who have joined together to promote public education innovation and improvement. The group is based in Dallas

Sandy Kress
BARNETT ALEXANDER "SANDY" KRESS

Born: Sept. 26, 1949, in Dallas

Education: Hillcrest High School; University of California at Berkeley, Phi Beta Kappa; University of Texas Law School, UT student body president

Career: Dallas County Democratic Party chairman, 1986-89; Dallas ISD board of trustees, 1992-96; partner, law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, 1995-present; senior education adviser to President Bush, 2001

Current politics: Refers to himself as "post-partisan"

Personal: Married to Camille Ware Kress; two children.








— Scott Parks
Dallas Morning News

2005-03-06

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/030605dnmetkressprofile.6bf8e.html

TX


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