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NCLB Outrages

No Child's Behind Left: Testing the Butts Off America's Children

Bringing back a golden oldie. This is Lily Eskelsen's speecth at a UTLA/NEA training day.

By Lily Eskelsen

In 1983 I was teaching 5th grade at Orchard Elementary, and President Reagan’s Secretary of Education, Ted Bell, released A Nation at Risk. It said, and I quote, “If an unfriendly, foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.” 1

Only 21 short years later, President Bush’s Secretary of Education called members of the NEA “terrorists.” Coincidence? We report. You decide.

Ted Bell was from my Great State of Utah, and I had the opportunity to speak with him on several occasions before he died (because it’s a lot easier than after), and I asked him about the over-the-top rhetoric of A Nation at Risk. He smiled and said, “We wanted something dramatic that would get everyone focusing on public schools.”

But the report did not focus. It distorted -- using test scores. It reported “a steady decline in Science achievement scores for U.S. 17 year olds.” But not that science scores were up for 13 and 9 year olds. That reading scores were up for all ages. That math scores were up for all ages.

It focused on falling SAT scores. But not that experts attributed the decline to something good: A greater number of poor students applying to go to college.

The radioactive fallout was that the public began to believe that public schools were failures.

I want to talk about three things. How did we develop this unquestioned faith in testing? How has this blind faith impacted laws that define the very meaning of education? And how are some profiting from false representations of failed public schools?

So, how did we come to embrace an almost religious faith in standardized tests? Ironically, the first intelligence tests were an attempt at greater equality. The Old World was based on an aristocracy where position and privilege were inherited. Some American universities wanted to change that.

In the 1930s, Stanford and Columbia researchers experimented with ways to sort college students on merit. A young man named Henry Chauncey was one of the first students tested. He was informed that his IQ scores had correctly predicted his college grades. He was amazed and became a man on a mission.2

By 1945, Henry is assistant dean at Harvard with a radical idea that society should be run by those who had earned their places by merit rather than social standing. Harvard president, James Conant agrees. He wants to replace Harvard’s elite brats with “brainy, public-spirited men (and he did mean men) from every background.”

He likes Henry’s idea to sort those of merit by a simple aptitude test. They begin the Education Testing Service or ETS which eventually develops the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT.

Move now from ivy-covered halls to Midwest cornfields, where we find E.F. Lindquist at the University of Iowa. He hates ETS. He’s developed what becomes the Iowa Basic Skills Tests for public school students. He has a completely different radical idea. He thinks tests should help identify kids who need extra help. He opposes tests that sort and mandate uniform standards that would only benefit those “…of superior bookish ability.” He warns, "Those same standards because of their rigidity are thwarting and damaging to all other kinds of capacity.” In 1959 he begins American College Testing and the ACT.

The SAT settles in the East with roots in elite universities and the purpose of selecting of the worthy few. The ACT finds a home in the Midwest with roots in public schools and the purpose of placement of the many.

Fortunes are about to be made. Many want standardized tests in public schools, but scoring millions of tests by hand is expensive.

Enter high school teacher Reynold Johnson. As a kid, he’d torment his sister’s boyfriends by scratching pencil marks on the spark plugs of their Model Ts. Lead pencil marks conduct electricity away from the plugs and the cars don’t start. (Isn’t he adorable?) Now, he thinks: If kids marked their answers on a separate paper, you could feed it into a machine that could tell if the lead marks were in the right places.

He demonstrates his Markograph machine at the 1931 NEA Convention and sells it to IBM for $15,000 and a job.2

And then there’s Stanley, humble son of a plumber who graduates from City College in New York -- second in his class -- at the age of 17. He applies to five medical schools, aces every test, and is turned down by every one; apparently, they’d reached their quota limit on Jewish students – which was not unusual for the day.

But Stanley thinks the new standardized tests are easy. He starts tutoring his friends, teaching them testing tricks. Word of mouth spreads. He opens a little business. ETS has a fit! See, they claim to be testing aptitude. That it’s impossible to prep for the test. Stanley’s customers, however, swear that after taking what he calls “the poor man’s private school”, their scores improve. And Stanley Kaplan becomes a millionaire teaching kids how to pass the test.2

Kaplan’s success was probably our first hint that tests don’t always measure what people think they measure. But for 50 years, we’ve maintained a reverence for tests as if Charlton Heston had come down the mountain holding the SATs on white tablets. We want to believe that a poor child and a rich child have an equal chance to study hard and pass the test on pure merit.

Today, research calls that blind faith into question. We know there are factors that affect your score that have nothing to do with how hard you study. Nutrition is a factor. Your parent’s vocabulary is a factor. We know that if you don’t speak English, you tend not to pass the test (Yes, I, too, was shocked). We know there are kids who do well on tests who don’t succeed in their adult lives. We know kids who get mediocre test scores and grow up to become president of the … well; I’ll let that one go.

A test is one tool that gives one type of information. You can’t build a house with one screwdriver. And you can’t build an education system with one test.

Which brings us to our second topic: Blind faith in testing has brought us to the ultimate legislative absurdity: No Child Left Behind. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

For the past 40 years, we called it ESEA or The Elementary & Secondary Education Act (which, I’ll admit, doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.)

The old ESEA law mainly gave federal funding to schools in high poverty areas. These Title One schools get extra funds for teacher aides, technology, training, and a lot of other good things.

In the past, NEA lobbying efforts boiled down to one word: More. More for reading programs. More for class size reduction. More for English as a Second Language. “More” was basically what we needed since the feds had never kicked in more than 8% for school funding.

In 2001, the Administration renamed ESEA “No Child Left Behind”. Now, here was poetry. The packaging was gorgeous.

High Standards for All. Accountability. Closing the Achievement Gap. What’s not to love?

We unwrapped this pretty package, and opened what turned out to be Pandora’s Box and an assault on common sense.

The Test was everything. Every state must pick a test – any test. Every state must pick a pass score – any pass score. Virtually every student must take the test. And by the magical year 2014, virtually every student must pass the test.

No Child Left gave us a new acronym: AYP or Adequate Yearly Progress. That’s the percentage of kids in each grade level who are required to pass the test. It’s a moving target with the percentage going up each year until it reaches 100% ten years from now.

Scores are segregated into 9 groups: All Kids, White Kids, Black Kids, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, Poor, Disabled and Limited-English Kids. All kids in each category must reach the same AYP target leading to perfection. And All means All. Kids with Downs Syndrome must read on their age level. Autistic kids must be given a #2 pencil with the timer running.

They call that a high standard. It’s not. Remember, your state can pick a hard test or an easy test. A high pass score or a low pass score. Letting a politician pick a number – any number – actually subjects high standards to the worst manipulation possible.

And attendance on test day counts just as much as the score. I am not making this up. No Child Left requires 95% test attendance in each of the nine categories. Thousands of schools failed AYP – not because they failed the test – but because they missed the 95% attendance in one category by one or two kids.

And one target “miss” in any one category labels the whole school as failing. Let’s say you get 94% attendance of Asian kids in 5th grade Math, but you passed everything else in every category – the school with one “miss” is labeled failure and punished is the very same as a school that missed every target in every category in every subject area in every grade level. Miss one or miss all – your school has failed and the punishments kick in (under the business plan that the beatings will continue until morale improves.)

First, parents are officially notified of the school’s failure, which is more confusing than you might think.

For instance, this year, 68% of Florida schools got a plaque and a letter of congratulations from Governor Bush for receiving an A or B rating on state tests. A week later, a different letter went to parents in 77% of Florida schools – many of the same ones that were still hanging their plaques – that their children were attending schools that failed Adequate Yearly Progress.3 (Only parents who were not responding to medication for schizophrenia were able to make any sense of this Manic-Depressive approach to testing – it helps if the voices explain it to you.)

Punishments are mandatory, and cost districts a lot of money. Parents can demand private tutors. They can demand the district pay for transporting their kids to a better scoring school across town. The better scoring public school must take these transfer students, even if there is no space available.

As the ultimate punishment, if test targets are not met, the staff can be replaced, because failure of a special ed. student to read at age level must be lack of talent or commitment on the part of a teacher, a principal, or an aide.

California, Minnesota and Connecticut have all published research showing that 99% of their schools are doomed to be labeled failures in the coming years in light of the 100% must pass mandate.4

So what does NEA want to see done? Lou Dobbs on CNN’s Moneyline actually asked me that question (see how I subtly worked that into the presentation.)

Yeah, Lou and I were having this little conversation live, on the air. Lou says, “How much money is the union demanding to make this law work?”

I spoke very slowly and used small words. I said, “All. The. Money. In. The. World…cannot fix a law that requires perfect children by the year 2014. You cannot adequately fund Stepford Child Public Schools.”

NEA does not oppose tests. We oppose the abuse of tests. We oppose claiming that one test can possibly give a comprehensive assessment of the multiple intelligences of our students.

We want amendments in the law that would measure the growth of an individual student from one year to the next.

We want a school to be able to use multiple measures of success and not just one multiple-choice test.

We want accountability to recognize movement in closing the achievement gap.

We want more money targeted to things that help kids learn. Class Size, technology, training, parent involvement. For special education and career counseling and tutoring English Language Learners.

No Child Left is the brainchild of the Administration, but it had overwhelming bi-partisan support. Most folks liked the idea of measurable results and all the new money (although we’re still $9 billion short, give or take.) I believe that lots of good people voted for this in good faith, but now they face their own test: Are they willing to fix what doesn’t work and fund the reforms that do?

We’ve found over 100 sponsors on several “fix and fund” bills now in Congress. NEA is being joined by school boards, administrators and parents in calling for major changes. Every day we add to our list of “Fix and Fund” supporters. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights5, the NAACP6, the National Conference of Black Mayors7, the Harvard Civil Rights Project and the ultra-liberal, radical, left-wing… Utah State Legislature. (The last time NEA and the Utah Legislature were caught holding hands and singing Kumbaya was in a parallel universe on a Star Trek episode.)

Anyone with a pulse and two brain cells to rub together has figured out that this law needs changing. So why is our greatest resistance coming from the Department of Education itself? Are there influences in government who actually benefit from the public thinking public schools are failures? We believe the answer is yes – public school privateers.

Again, a history lesson. The concept of taking public dollars for private schools isn’t new. Churches have sought vouchers for their parochial schools for over 100 years.

Fifty years ago the Supreme Court declared that separate could never be equal, striking down segregated schools. Some folks started their own white academies arguing for public dollars to subsidize them.

Homeschoolers are excited about tuition tax credits where they could essentially zero out their tax bills with little, if any, public accountability over how those tax dollars are spent.

Today, however, the momentum for public school privatization can be described in just two words: Ka Ching. Today’s privateers are politically well-connected, extremely well-financed corporate venture capitalists. There’s big money behind this.

Merrill Lynch’s “Book of Knowledge” discusses the possibility of turning education into the “same dynamic, for-profit industry that the health care industry has become”8.

We don’t have to imagine the horror stories.

Some years ago a Houston superintendent named Rod Paige hired a company to provide an alternative school for kids who got suspended. He signed a contract with Community Education Partners (CEP) whose founders included two former state Republican Party chairs and a corporate executive from a private prison chain9.

The contract paid CEP $9,000 per student with a minimum guarantee of 2,500 kids. Every offense gets the same 180 day sentence.

For its part, CEP promised a class size of 12, a professional staff and a money-back guarantee to raise test scores by two grade levels. The contract was worth over $20 million.

In 1999, their first school was opened in an abandoned Wal-Mart (Let’s pause to let that irony sink in.) At the dedication ceremony, Governor George Bush hailed the new school as the wave of the future.

Right from the start there were problems. According to observers, reporters and former staff, there were usually at least 30 kids to a teacher – not twelve. Most teachers were not certified. Adults mostly monitored kids who sat for six hours at a computer.10

Yet, according to CEP, test scores were off the charts.

Superintendent Paige bragged in a speech that in less than one academic year, CEP had raised average test scores more than two grade levels.9

But Tom Kellow’s job was to track test data for the District. When he read what his boss had claimed, he wrote on a professional listserve, “I have no idea where he got this data…I’m furious.” That’s because Mr. Kellow had found the exact opposite; that CEP students scores went down a grade level – not up two! “The longer the kids stayed in the program, the worse their academic performance was.”9

He was reprimanded for making his criticisms public, locked out of his district computer so that he could not access any data to verify his findings. He said that he resigned rather than be fired.

Superintendent Paige stood by CEP’s data, instead of his own staff.

The Texas Education Agency’s Safe School Division found similar results to Mr. Kellow while studying CEP. “We’ve discovered so far that the longer students are removed from certain programs, we see academic regression.”7

CEP executive Randle Richardson suggested that the problem was that researchers should have just used the testing figures prepared by CEP.9

Former staff reported that good grades were fabricated12 and that CEP would manipulate and depress the incoming students’ pre-tests so that they could claim remarkable increases on post-tests.10

Parents rebelled. They questioned policies where even minor violations like tardies got 180 days.11 Some kids were kept longer than their 180 days.12 Principals were regularly reminded how many more students they could send to CEP, smacking of filling a “quota”.11

Why? Some speculated that it was becoming clear that the district never got close to the 2500 minimum they were paying for. A reporter for the Houston Press concluded, “CEP needed the numbers up to justify the millions it was being given by Houston Independent School District.”13

CEP was granted a similar contract in Dallas, but after a controversial state audit,14 the district cancelled it after a year. The District’s lawyer explained, “We’re just trying to make the best of a bad contract. It was not a good deal for the school district.”15

But Houston continues its CEP contract. Oh. Did I mention that Larry Marshall, a member of the Houston school board, is paid $90,000 a year as a part-time consultant for (drum roll, please) CEP?16

A local resident had this to say about that, “The fact that Larry Marshall can do consulting with vendors to the district...is a testament to what has become a sort of vendor pimp cult in the public school system in Texas.” I’m sure he meant it is a positive way.16

Former teacher Kim Prichard bottom-lined it, “CEP is not a school that cares about its students; CEP is a corporation that cares about money and profits.”10

I don’t know where CEP will end up, but I do know that when Secretary Paige moved to Washington, he chose as his chief of staff John Danielson, a founding member of CEP.17

It’s good to have friends. Which seems to be the essential business plan for yet another privateer.

No Child Left authorized grants to fund projects for greater choices within public schools with its emphasis on closing the achievement gap between minority and non-minority kids. The Dept. of Ed uses a strict protocol of independent reviewers to rate competitive grant proposals. Grants are restricted to (1) public schools for the benefit of (2) public school students.

This year, the panel recommended ten projects. And for the first time in memory, one of the recommended projects was bumped, administratively, and replaced with one that had a lower ranking, and didn’t even appear to qualify.18

The substituted winner was a for-profit corporation which was given 4.1 million taxpayer dollars to set up a virtual school in Arkansas. K12.com, Inc. is an internet school founded by Virtue Czar, Bill Bennett.

K12 won a grant, even though it is not a public school. Even though 60% of its students are homeschoolers and 15% come from private schools. Even though 90% of its students are white.18

The political connections of K12 are legion. Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, has served on K12’s advisory board. Michael Petrilli, associate deputy in the Department of Ed was a vice president of K12. Secretary Paige’s chief deputy is Gene Hickock and his former deputy, Charles Zogby, left to join the management team of K12.com. Mr. Bennett, of course, was President’s Reagan’s Secretary of Education and helped write speeches for George Bush in the last presidential election.19

In Pennsylvania, K12 is qualified as a charter school. For every Pennsylvania child they convince to use their home school service, Pennsylvania taxpayers give Mr. Bennett $7,000.20

It’s a gamble, so to speak, that has not paid off in Florida where they recently reported their experiment with K12 produced some of the state’s poorest math scores and below average writing scores. (Reading scores were fine.) 21

And Mr. Bennett rolled “snake eyes” in Idaho where K12.com homeschoolers scored significantly lower in every comparable grade level in nearly every subject – an average of 11 percentage points below the state.22

And the roulette wheel continues to spin in Colorado, Alaska, California, Minnesota, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., where they are getting contracts regardless of their track record.

Because Big Failure can be overcome by Big Friends. Take the privatization flagship: Edison Schools.

Years ago, Edison founder, Chris Whittle, bought my son’s eyeballs. Jeremy and millions of other high school kids, by district contract, had to watch Channel One every morning. Schools got free TVs in exchange for forcing teenagers to watch fast food and sneaker commercials tucked into a 10 minute news show.

He must have looked around those schools and thought, “How hard could this be?” He had a vision (or a hallucination – it’s a fine line) of running coast-to-coast franchise schools.

It ended up being more cost effective to simply take over existing public schools and manage them for a fee, promising free computers, longer school days, longer academic years, constant testing and guaranteed results.

Unfortunately for Edison, those results are in. There were charges that even though Edison was given more money than regular schools, they’d shift costs like busing back to the district. They cut support staff like teachers’ aides and school secretaries which had the unintended (if predictable) consequence of increasing discipline problems. There were charges they wouldn’t serve kids with disabilities. That they pushed out experienced teachers for cheaper new ones. 23

O.K., they were obviously just making tough business decisions. And maybe we should ask if those decisions might actually be good for kids. So we asked. And we got the answer. And it’s “no”.

According to Professor Gary Miron of Western Michigan University, “With a rigorous curriculum, a longer day and a longer year, you don’t need to be an education professor to know that should produce better results, but to my surprise, it didn’t. They were doing similarly or slightly worse.”23

Dr. Henry Levin, director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Columbia says of Edison, “They’re losing money while getting a higher amount of money than public schools for the services they provide.”24

There have been allegations of inflated attendance figures.24 There have been school board meetings packed with angry parents complaining about the lack of books and materials that were promised.26

Edison was quickly becoming a major embarrassment to the Privateers.

In twelve years, it had only posted one quarter of profits. It had piled up losses of over $354 million dollars. It went public in 1999 selling at $18 a share. Three years later, they were trading for 15 cents a share.24

In 2002 the pesky Security and Exchange Commission forced Edison to use proper procedures to report its income23, revealing that in 20 months, Edison had lost over 90% of its value.27

The only way for them to avoid this humiliating public spanking was to find a buyer to take them private again, so they wouldn’t have to make their numbers public.

The Edison rescue becomes the ultimate Friends and Family plan. Follow the bouncy cronies here28:

Whittle hires Bear Stearns & Co. to look for a buyer. It’s headed by James Cayne (a Bush Ranger – these are folks who’ve raised over $100,000 for the president, which, by the way is perfectly legal.)

Bear Stearns finds a buyer: Liberty Partners, who’s represented in the deal by the law firm of David Girard-DiCarlo (Another Bush Ranger, who was also on the transition team for Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge who just happened to be pushing an Edison deal in Philadelphia the year before.)

Now, Liberty Partners decides not to just invest, but to buy Edison lock, stock and barrel. What brave people to be investing their money in such a risky business – but hold the presses! Actually it turns out it’s not their money they’re investing after all. They invest for just one big client: The Florida State Retirement System. Teacher retirement funds are about to save Edison.

There’s more. Liberty is – even as all this is going on - under investigation for irregular and excessive fees. An auditor wants the investment commitee to make radical changes in Liberty’s contract with the pension fund. Like (1) Liberty should never own more than 20% of any one company; (2) They shouldn’t loan money to companies they invest in; and (3) Like many other firms, Liberty’s partners should be required to invest some of their own money showing they have faith in their recommendations.23

There are just three people on the pension investment committee: The attorney general, the fund’s chief financial officer and the governor, Jeb Bush. The good news is that these three folks decide to accept the auditor’s recommendations. The new guidelines would prevent Liberty from buying Edison!

The bad news is, they make the new guidelines official the day AFTER they let Liberty buy Edison. Liberty bought 96% of Edison at $112 million and immediately gave it a $70 million loan of pension money making the Florida State Retirement System the proud owners of what The Palm Beach Post called “A Financial Shipwreck”27.

Legislator Doug Wiles called the deal, “a political bailout of a failing company and an investment dangling on the edge of disaster.”29

The St. Petersburg Times simply asked, “Was there no Enron stock left to buy?”30

When asked why he didn’t use his fiduciary position on the investment committee to stop the Edison deal, Governor Bush answered, “We shouldn’t be making decisions based on politics.”28 Eye-witnesses report he actually said this with a straight face.

Inspired by Fox News, I will now be Fair and Balanced and report that the Edison deal was, actually, an incredibly good deal for each and every single person who happens to be Chris Whittle.

He gets a five year deal to stay president of the company he’s run into the ground at the salary of $600,000, almost double his former pay.

He gets $4.2 million for his Edison stock. He gets a personal loan of almost $2 million more, although he already owes Edison over $10 million in previous loans. And he gets to sleep well at night, claiming this was a great deal for those who had trusted and invested in Edison over the years.31

But others saw Whittle walking away with a gold mine while they got the shaft, so to speak. “I’m disappointed in the shabby treatment of shareholders,” says Trace Urdan, a brokerage analyst. “This is a self-serving bid by management.”32

Again, greed, some say, is good for business. Maybe it’ll pay off for kids. Maybe not.

On August 2, 2004, parents of Edison School children announced their intent to seek a Class Action lawsuit against Edison for civil rights violations alleging it saved money by using deceptive means to counsel high-cost special education students out of Edison and back to their regular public schools.33

Let the Buyer Beware. Know when you’re talking to a salesman. Money back guarantees. Every kid above average. Stop and ask yourself if it passes the smell test. This stuff stinks.

And you better do something about it. You’re a taxpayer. Call a school board member or a legislator or a governor or a president. Tell them our schools are not for sale. Whether you work in a public school or not, you have a stake in this. Whether you have kids in a public school or not, you have a stake in this. Because you have a stake in this country.

There’s a huge agenda to privatize prisons, Social Security, Medicare. It’s always the same politicians that want to turn public institutions over to the profiteers. But the selling of a public school is the most sinister. To place a market model on boys and girls – who’s profitable to teach and who’s not – hiring Arthur Anderson clones to manipulate the numbers – commercials promising desperate parents that their child will get Nordstrom service at Wal-Mart prices.

The mind boggles at the segregated society we could become. And this time, not just racial segregation. Segregation by income, by language, by religion, by test score. Do not be fooled by the pretty words and pretty promises they make.

Be aware. Be involved. Believe in your power as a citizen to hold powerful people accountable.

Believe in a public school. Because it’s not about shareholders or one-size-fits-all tests or the mission statement on a corporate website.

It’s a mission that should be written across our hearts.

Give me your hungry children,

Your sick children

Your homeless and abused children.

Give me your children who need love as badly as they need learning

Give me your children who have talents and gifts and skills

And give me those who have none.

Give them all to me, in whatever form they come,

Whatever color their skin,

Whatever language they speak,

Wherever they find God.

And the people in this public school will give you

The doctors and the scientists and the carpenters.

We’ll give you the lawyers and ministers and the teachers of tomorrow.

We’ll give you the mothers and the fathers,

The thinkers and the builders,

The artists and the dreamers.

We will give you the American Dream.

We will give you the future.34

Believe in that future enough to fight for it.

Believe. And Act.

Thank you.


1. A Nation at Risk: An Open Letter to the American People, David Gardner, chair of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, April 26, 1983

2. Lemann, Nicholas, The Big Test, The Secret History of American Meritocracy, (New York: Farrar, St. Raus & Giroux) 1999

3. “Federal testing mandates a demolition derby”, St. Petersburg Times editorial, June 2004

4. Reports on feasibility of reaching AYP: Connecticut Education Assn. study, April 2004; Minnesota Office of Legislative Auditor study, 2004; California Dept of Education study, 2004.

5. “Invest in Equality”, The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, www.civilrights.org

6. The Broken Promise of Brown”, Julian Bond, NAACP Education Summit speech, Topeka, Kansas, May 15, 2004

7. “Growing Chorus of Voices Opposing Provisions of NCLB Act”, NEA Great Public Schools Report, July, 2004

8. “Ka-Ching: Businesses Cashing in on Learning”, Mark Walsh, Education Week, November 24, 1999

9. “Making (Up) The Grade”, Wendy Grossman, Houston Press, April 6, 2000

10. “Learning Curve”, Wendy Grossman, Houston Press, October 5, 2000

11. “180 Days in the Hole”, Margaret Downing, Houston Press, April 19, 2001

12. “W. and the Use of Testing: Numbers Racket”, by Stephen Metcalf, The New Republic, Feb. 6, 2001

13. “Million-Dollar Babies”, Margaret Downing, Houston Press, June 27, 2002

14. “Purchasing and Contract Management”, Texas School Performance Review, Dallas Independent School District, June 2001

15. “Ending its Contract with For-Profit Alternative Center Will Cost District $10 Million”, Tawnell Hobbs, The Dallas Morning News, June 12, 2002

16. “A Paige from the Past?”, Jennifer Mathieu, Houston Press, March 6, 2003

17. “Paige Chief Announces Departure”, Erik Robelen, Education Week, September 10, 2003
18. “Federal Grant Involving Bennett’s K12, Inc. Questioned”, by David Hoff & Michelle Davis, Education Week, Vol 23 No. 43, July 28, 2004

19. http://www.mediatransparency.org/people/wbennett.htm, Media Transparency – The Money Behind the Media.

20. “Bennett’s Virtual Charter”, Christian Science Monitor, January 8, 2002

21. “Internet Schools Fall Short on Tests”, by Steve Harrison, Miami Herald, August 4, 2004

22. “Board Released ISAT Scores”, Chuck Oxley, Associated Press, July 29, 2004

23. “How Edison Survived: Discredited and broke, the school privatizer found an unlikely white knight (Florida Retirement Systems and Liberty Partners)”, David Moberg, The Nation, Vol. 278, Issue 10, 2004

24. “Legislators, teachers balk at deal for Edison Schools”, Helen Huntley, St. Petersburg Times, Sept. 26, 2003

25. “Multiple problems afflict KC District’s experiment”, Lynn Franey, The Kansas City Star, June 1, 2004

26. “Board retains Edison Schools amid a protest; Parents waved signs and voiced complains about the company which runs 8 schools in the district”, Dale Mezzacappa, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 20, 2004

27. “Edison Schools Buyout Links Florida to a Loser”, Editorial, the Palm Beach Post, October 9, 2003

28. “Edison Schools Accepts buyout: Stockholders approve the state pension fund’s purchase of Edison Schools, a company that runs schools like businesses but has never made a profit.”, Marc Caputo, The Miami Herald November 13, 2003

29. “Buyout of company is a slap in the face of teachers”, Ronald Littlepage columnist, The Florida Times-Union, October 21, 2003

30. “Investing in Irony”, editorial, St. Petersburg Times, September 26, 2003

31. “Edison Schools’ CEO gets $344,999 Pay Raise”, Bloomberg News, NYNewsday, August 26, 2003

32. “The Nine Lives of Chris Whittle; His ventures don’t always succeed, but somehow he still manages to come out ahead.”, Nelson Schwartz, Fortune, Oct. 27, 2003

33. “Grassroots Parent Group Unites to File Federal Civil Suit Against Edison Schools”, Concerned Parents Press Release, August 3, 2004

34. Poem by Carolyn Warner

— Lily Eskelsen
United Teachers Los Angeles


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