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NCLB Outrages

Ignite! Posts a letter, professing lack of expertise in funding sources

Ohanian Comment: Here is Ignite! Learning's response to
and an article in the New York Times. We have Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to thank for pushing this investigation.

The inspector general of the Department of Education has said he will examine whether federal money was inappropriately used by three states to buy educational products from a company owned by Neil Bush, the president̢۪s brother.

John P. Higgins Jr., the inspector general, said he would review the matter after a group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, detailed at least $1 million in spending from the No Child Left Behind program by school districts in Texas, Florida and Nevada to buy products made by Mr. Bush̢۪s company, Ignite Learning of Austin, Tex. Mr. Higgins stated his plans in a letter to the group sent last week.

Here is what you can do today:

Ask the unions and professional organizations to which you pay dues to read CREW's self-definition: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests.

Ask the unions and professional organizations to which you pay dues to go forth and do likewise.

by Ken Leonard
Ignite! Learning, Inc.

November 7, 2007
While Ignite! Learning welcomes accountability for ensuring public school expenditures are in
compliance with appropriation guidelines, Ignite! Learning has no knowledge of any customer
that has procured our curriculum solutions through means which are other than completely ethical
and in compliance with the typical guidelines of their various funding sources. The
funds appropriated by our customers for the purchase of our curriculum solutions can readily be
utilized for a variety of other vendor's products and offerings.

We at Ignite! Learning are not experts in all entitlements and funding sources which are made
available to our middle school customers, however we are clearly aware that the NCLB Act has
evolved into a broader mechanism for educational excellence and school improvement. Beyond
the original intent of NCLB's focus on funding scientifically based, research-backed literacy
programs, NCLB incorporates a broad range of responsibilities for a variety of school
expenditures. These broader entitlements (the actual means by which schools purchase Ignite!
and other vendors' products) have been available as appropriate procurement means for schools'
use since the inception of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (1960s-era legislation)
as reauthorized by the NCLB Act.

Although Ignite! Learning gained the benefit of having the private correspondence from the IG's
Office addressed to CREW read in its entirety via a phone interview with NY Times journalist
Ms. Marilyn Thompson, Ignite! Learning has not received any correspondence at any time from
the IG's Office or CREW. Based on our understanding from this phone conversation (Ms.
Thomspon stated that she could not provide us a copy of the letter to CREW; she could only read
it to us), this correspondence seemed to be a courteous reply from the IG's office simply stating
they would "appropriately" look into the matter. The letter, as read by Ms. Thompson of the NY
Times, did not mention any specific investigation or state, in contrast to the statements
presented in the article. We certainly continue to invite communication with either or any

Finally, Ignite! Learning supports and thanks its growing community of teachers, administrators
and schools who have chosen to expend valuable resources for the purchase of our proven
curriculum solutions. We applaud their desire to enhance their classroom curriculum
environments by seeking out innovative products that support teachers and students alike.

Ken Leonard
Ignite! Learning, Inc.

— Ken Leonard


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