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“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.

# 12 Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind

Source:
Diatribune and Daily Kos, March, 30, 2007
Title: “Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From NCLB”
Author: Mandevilla

Researchers: Alan Scher and Sam Burchard

Faculty Evaluator: Karen Grady, PhD

The architect of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), President Bush’s first senior education advisor, Sandy Kress, has turned the program, which has consistently proven disastrous in the realm of education, into a huge success in the realm of corporate profiteering. After ushering NCLB through the US House of Representatives in 2001 with no public hearings, Kress went from lawmaker—turning on spigots of federal funds—to lobbyist, tapping into those billions of dollars in federal funds for private investors well connected to the Bush administration.

A statute that once promised equal access to public education to millions of American children now instead promises billions of dollars in profits to corporate clients through dubious processes of testing and assessment and “supplemental educational services.” NCLB—the Business Roundtable’s revision of Lyndon Johnson’s Education and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—created a “high stakes testing” system through which the private sector could siphon federal education funds. The result has been windfall corporate profit. What was once a cottage industry has become a corporate giant. “Millions of dollars are being spent,” says Jack Jennings, director of the Center on Education Policy, “and nobody knows what’s happening.”

The wedding of big business and education benefits not only the interests of the Business Roundtable, a consortium of over 300 CEOs, but countless Bush family loyalists. Sandy Kress, chief architect of NCLB; Harold McGraw III, textbook publisher; Bill Bennett, former Reagan education secretary; and Neil Bush, the president’s youngest brother, have all cashed in on the Roundtable’s successful national implementation of “outcome-based education.” NCLB’s mandated system of state standards, state tests, and school sanctions has together transformed our public school system into a for-profit frenzy.

Kress, former president of the Dallas School Board, began “A Draft Position for George W. Bush on K-12 Education” as early as 1999. Working successfully with then-Governor Bush in Texas for years, the Democrat bolstered bipartisan support behind the compassionate marketing promise to “leave no child behind” through the adoption of high state standards measuring school performance. Signed into law in early 2002, NCLB dramatically extended the federal role in public education, mandating annual testing of children in Grades 3 to 8, providing tutoring for children in persistently failing schools, and setting a twelve-year timetable for closing chronic gaps in student achievement. Having then crafted the legislation, Kress transitioned from public servant to corporate lobbyist, guiding clients to the troth of federal funds. By 2005 he had made upwards of $4 million from lobbying contracts.

While the Business Roundtable maintains that the high-stakes tests administered nationwide hold schools accountable to “Adequate Yearly Progress,” NCLB has instead benefited the testing industry in the amount of between $1.9 and $5.3 billion a year. NCLB requires states to produce “interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports,” all of which are provided at a price by members of the industry. Among these are the top four or five players in the textbook market, including the Big Three—McGraw-Hill, Houghton-Mifflin, and Harcourt General—who have, since the passage of NCLB, come to dominate the testing market. Identified by Wall Street analysts in the wake of the 2000 election as “Bush stocks,” all three represent owners like Harold McGraw III, who has longstanding ties to the Bush administration and the lobbying efforts of Sandy Kress.

Other Kress clients, including Ignite! Learning, a company headed by Neil Bush, and K12 Inc., a for-profit enterprise owned by Bill Bennett, tailored themselves to vie for NCLB dollars.

Under NCLB, as school districts receive federal funding they are required by law to hold 20 percent of those funds aside, anticipating that its schools will fail to meet its Annual Yearly Progress formula. When that “failure” is certified by test scores, the district is required to use those set-aside federal funds to pay supplemental education service (SES) providers. Ignite! has placed products in forty US school districts, and K12 offers a menu of services “as an option to traditional brick-and-mortar schools,” including computer-based “virtual academies,” that have qualified for over $4 million in federal grants. Under NCLB, supplemental educational services, whose results are being increasingly challenged, reap $2 billion annually.

Nationally, there are over 1,800 approved providers of supplemental educational services, but little in the way of regulation. To the contrary, Michael Petrilli, former member of the Department of Education, purports, “We want as little regulation as possible so the market can be as vibrant as possible.” To that end, Kress is currently lobbying on behalf of another bipartisan coalition to win reauthorization of NCLB for another six years.

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