Who says you can't have your
cake and eat it, too?
Watch Sandy Kress
cut the cake.
By Jim Trelease, ©
hasn't figured out the connection between big business and school accountability/high
stakes testing needs to meet Atty. Sandy Kress,
presidential advisor and lobbyist extraordinaire—
some might even say he's the fox who's guarding the hen house.
Kress is the epitome of the educational-industrial complex: He's President
Bush's trusted mentor on education issues (during the NCLB
passage, Sen. Edward Kennedy called him the President's "smooth
talker"), while at the same time he's a lobbyist and consultant
for some of the biggest testing companies and most influential "pro-testing"
business boards in the U.S.
Along with his previously mentioned Presidential duties, Kress' credits
and clients include: Responsible for shepherding NCLB through
Congress; consultant to Council of Chief State School Officers;
consultant to the Business Roundtable; co-founder
of the Texas Education Reform Caucus; adviser, consultant
and lobbyist for Pearson Education ( one of the
nation's largest testing and education material companies); lobbyist
for Kaplan ( major test tutoring agency); lobbyist
for The Teaching Commission
(a New York-based think tank started by Louis V. Gerstner
Jr.); lobbyist for Texas Businesses for Excellence
in Education; former lobbyist for K12 (William
J. Bennett's online learning company before Bennett was
forced to resign for making racially charged remarks on his national
SOURCES FOR ABOVE: The
Dallas Morning News research; for payment levels for Kress'
last five years of lobbying and lawyering in behalf of the testing
industry's empathetic efforts to make sure no child is left behind
while ensuring they get their share of the $1.9 billion to $5.3
billion worth of testing mandated by NCLB Act, see Susan Ohanian's
report at: http://susanohanian.org/outrage_fetch.php?id=301.
Additional information on Kress can be found in the extensive
BIG MAN ON CAMPUS REFORM: Lobbyist a go-to guy on school policy,
but some question his motives," by Scott Parks, The
Dallas Morning News, Page 1, Mar. 6, 2005.
influence can be seen in the following excerpt from The Dallas
Morning News describing
Kress' relationship with Pearson Learning which had
the $57 million contract for the Texas state test (TAKS) for 2004-05.
(In the spirit of full disclosure, Pearson, also owns Penguin,
the publisher of all my books.)
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.
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.
BIG MAN ON
The Dallas Morning News,
Page 1, Mar. 6, 2005
Sandy Kress as an education advisor is the equivalent of having the
chief counsel for Merck or Pfizer as
the president's chief advisor on health care. Anyone see a conflict
of interest there? The wolf as security advisor to
the three little pigs? For more on Sandy Kress from the Texas
all NCLB, NRP, and Reading First essays and articles
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