While they are at it, perhaps they will have a look at NCS Pearson, Inc., the education testing outfit with ties to Harcourt, McGraw-Hill, and other regular cronies at the feeding trough in Washington. Yesterday, we found buried on A16 of the Washington Post, this story about Pearson's entry into other markets with the testing of air marshall candidates following 9-11. That kind of out-of-field favoritism would not be remarkable except for the fact that several hundred million dollars (343 million of them) were apparently spent in posh hotels across the country, where Pearson set up testing facilities to screen candidates. From the Post:
By March 29, 2002, the decision had been made to start using hotels. Within months, the program would include some of the nation's finest. Among them: the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan; the Hawk's Cay Resort in Duck Key, Fla.; the Wyndham Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa in Telluride, Colo.
Does this sound like an echo (see The Nation piece) from another meeting several years ago to celebrate the new ed reforms in the works, just after Bush took office:
[N]ot surprisingly, the Bush legislation has ardent supporters in the testing and textbook publishing industries. Only days after the 2000 election, an executive for publishing giant NCS Pearson addressed a Waldorf ballroom filled with Wall Street analysts. According to Education Week, the executive displayed a quote from President-elect Bush calling for state testing and school-by-school report cards, and announced, "This almost reads like our business plan." The bill has allotted $387 million to get states up to speed; the National Association of State Boards of Education estimates that properly funding the testing mandate could cost anywhere from $2.7 billion to $7 billion.