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NCLB Outrages

Board OKs Contract with Washington Post Subsidiary

Ohanian Comment: Any connection between editorials and profits is, of course, just a coincidence.

A subsidiary of the Washington Post Co. has been awarded a $1.4 million sole-source contract by the D.C. Board of Education to provide supplemental educational services required under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

The services, funded with federal Title I money allocated to the District for economically disadvantaged children, will be provided to students enrolled in grades 3-12 at Catholic schools operated by the Archdiocese of Washington. Federal law requires tax dollars allocated under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to be disbursed through public school systems to eligible schoolchildren who attend local parochial schools.

The school board approved the one-year contract with Kaplan K-12 Learning Services at its monthly meeting Oct. 20. Board member Mirian Saez was absent from the otherwise unanimous vote. D.C. law requires that the contract also be approved by the city council, because it exceeds $1 million.

Some education activists expressed concern after the meeting that the public had not been provided with copies of resolutions that were included on the board's agenda.

The board's resolution approving the Kaplan contract said that the company "was selected through a non-competitive, single available source procurement with the collaboration and recommendation of the Archdiocese of Washington."

A "synopsis of contract" document provided to the board by the school system's Office of Contracts and Acquisitions cautioned that "(s)hould this proposed contract not be awarded, the District is in jeopardy of losing over $5 million federal entitlement dollars based on the NCLB and students attending the Archdioceses schools will not received tutorial services in which they are entitled." [Quoted grammatical errors contained in original document]

Kaplan Inc., one of the nation's leading suppliers of educational testing materials, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Washington Post Co., the parent company of the Washington Post newspaper. The newspaper's editorials have strongly supported the standardized testing requirements placed on public school systems by congressional passage of President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act.

The Post newspaper reported in July that a $24.3 million second-quarter rise in its parent company's profits was "primarily fueled by gains in the company's education division [Kaplan]."

The Common Denominator
Board OKs Contract with Washington Post Subsidiary


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