Department of Education officials violated conflict of interest rules when awarding grants to states under President Bush’s billion-dollar reading initiative, and steered contracts to favored textbook publishers, the department’s inspector general said yesterday.
In a searing report that concludes the first in a series of investigations into complaints of political favoritism in the reading initiative, known as Reading First, the report said officials improperly selected the members of review panels that awarded large grants to states, often failing to detect conflicts of interest. The money was used to buy reading textbooks and curriculum for public schools nationwide.
You know, until they are able to turn everything over to the free market, they’re going to have to deal with these pesky requirements such as public panels, general inspectors, and congressional requests.
In one e-mail message cited in the report, from which the inspector general deleted some vulgarities, the director of Reading First, Chris Doherty, urged staff members to make clear to one company that it was not favored at the department.
“They are trying to crash our party and we need to beat the [expletive deleted] out of them in front of all the other would-be party crashers who are standing on the front lawn waiting to see how we welcome these dirtbags,” Mr. Doherty wrote.
It’s nice to know that federal officials are so committed to ensuring that children receive education programs and services most appropriate for their specific needs rather than merely conforming with some political ideology or corporate welfare program.
Visit Schools Matter for a detailed description of what has been going on with the Reading First program and how it’s no suprise to anyone who has been paying attention, like School Matters.
As I have said before, if you really want to know what is beneath the surface of Bush Co., pay attention to the weekly news dumps that occur each Friday afternoon. This week Spellings AP lackey has this story of an ED Inspector General’s Report just in time for the weekend. It will no doubt go unreported by most of the corporate media per usual.