The inspector General of the US Department of Education has documented flagrant conflicts of interest and illegal impositions of curriculum in negotiating the NCLB state contracts. Here are my views on what is needed to even partially undo the damage done.
Contracts and Sub-contracts with those guilty of conflicts of interest.
It’s not enough for Secretary Spellings to promise to not do it again
All contracts with faculty, employees and entities at the University of Oregon should be reviewed and cancelled if they involved conflicts of interest. Any products of those contracts should be withdrawn and recalled.
Contracts for Assistance Centers should be reviewed and cancelled if they involve conflicts of interest and all products of those conflicts should be withdrawn and recalled. All state and LEA contracts issued under advisement of those with conflicts of interest should also be cancelled and renegotiated.
State contracts in which implementers with conflicts of interest exerted undue influence or acted coercively should be cancelled and renegotiated. That essentially means all state contracts.
Indictments and repayments
The Justice department should be requested to investigate causes for indictments and recovery of illegally gained profits resulting from conflicts of interest by individuals and publishers. The following companies should be investigated: McGraw Hill, Pearson (Scott Foresman), Houghton Mifflin, Voyager, and Sopris West. Specific attention should be paid to DIBELS, a focus of several issues raised in the Office of Inspector General reports.
Persons and companies found guilty of conflicts of interest and illegal acts in implementing Reading First should be disqualified from further participation in any NCLB funding initiatives
Margaret Spellings and any of her staff involved in illegal imposition of curriculum as prohibited in NCLB should be asked to resign. Actual crimes may have been committed under NCLB.
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the author of Twenty Things to Do with a Computer – Forward 50, co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.