"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Duncan Dishes $21.5 Million to College Board and Calls It Helping the Poor

Arne Duncan has a No Excuses approach to education, and to prove it once more, he has just signed off on a plan to give every American child living in a car, motel room, or urban hovel a chance to take another test to show how hopelessly behind she is.  As a side benefit for the testing-industrial complex, the College Board collects the entire sum:
 The U.S. Department of Education announced the award of more than $21.5 million in grants to 43 states to cover all or part of the fees charged to low-income students for taking Advanced Placement tests. . . .
"These funds will help eliminate financial roadblocks for more low-income students and allow them to fully benefit from the AP program,” Duncan said.
Yes, those nasty financial roadblocks for which there are no excuses.  Does one know whether to laugh or cry?

Clearly, it looks like the $750,000 that the College Board spent on lobbying last year is paying off big time. Here is a clip from PalyVoice, which had an informative spread in May 2012 (my bolds):


. . . . As the records from the most recently released Form 990 indicate, the College Board has been breezing through the 2009-2010 fiscal year with profits enviable by comparable industries in the private sector.
Of the over $594 million in total expenses in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, $7.8 million was allocated for the compensation of current officers, directors, trustees and key employees, $111.1 million went towards other salaries and wages, $13.7 million was for traveling expenses and $2.9 million paid for advertising and promotions, among other items.
Among the total of 1370 employees hired by the College Board, 456 individuals received more than $100,000 in compensation.
The multitude of Senior Vice Presidents and Officers received even more in total compensation and nontaxable benefits; Chief Executive Officer and President Gaston Caperton, the highest paid employee, received $1.3 million of such compensation and benefits, while the second highest paid employee, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President Herbert Elish, received nearly $600,000.
Even after all of these expenses, there is still a $65.6 million gap between the expenses and the total revenue. From the College Board’s Form 990, it is unclear as to what the nearing $70 million profit is going towards.
However, one expense in particular is salient: over $750,000 spent towards lobbying in the 2009-2010 year. While it is illegal for a nonprofit organization to participate in “direct or indirect political campaign activities,” it is still allowed to engage in lobbying activities.
The Form 990 indicated that the College Board has attempted “to influence foreign, national, state or local legislation, including any attempt to influence public opinion on a legislative matter or referendum, through the use of... paid staff or management [as well as] direct contact with legislators, their staffs, government officials or a legislative body.”
According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group in Washington D.C., three separate lobbying firms and seven different lobbyists represent the College Board on Capitol Hill.
The organization has been lobbying the federal government on issues and bills pertaining to education since 1998, as well as matters regarding Federal Budget and Appropriations since 2002. . . .

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