Federal

E.D. Steers Grants to Pro-Privatization Groups, Report Charges

By John Gehring — December 03, 2003 2 min read

The Department of Education is providing millions of dollars in grants to a handful of pro-voucher and privatization groups at the same time the Bush administration has underfunded the No Child Left Behind Act, the advocacy group People for the American Way charges in a report.

The report, “Funding a Movement: U.S. Department of Education Pours Millions into Groups Advocating School Vouchers and Education Privatization,” is available from People for the American Way. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

The Washington-based liberal organization, which opposes the use of public money for private school tuition, distributed a Nov. 18 analysis written by its president, Ralph G. Neas, titled “Funding a Movement: U.S. Department of Education Pours Millions Into Groups Advocating School Vouchers and Education Privatization.”

The report says the department has doled out $77 million over the past three years to eight groups that it calls “far-right organizations” that promote an “education privatization agenda.”

Groups cited as receiving both solicited and unsolicited grants are: the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence; the Black Alliance for Educational Options; the Center for Education Reform; the Education Leaders Council; the Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation; the Hispanic Council for Reform and Education Options; and K12, an online education company founded by former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett.

This year, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence received a multiyear grant from Secretary of Education Rod Paige worth $35 million, the report notes, to develop a “fast-tracked route” for alternative teacher certification.

The Education Leaders Council, a conservative-leaning national organization of school leaders and policy experts founded in 1995 as an alternative to the Council of Chief State School Officers, has received $15.9 million from the federal department under President Bush, the report says.

The analysis notes that Lisa Graham Keegan, the president of the ELC, formerly served as state superintendent in Arizona, where she helped establish “privatization efforts” such as tuition tax credits.

Hickok Responds

“This torrent of public funding appears to benefit and strengthen the advocacy infrastructure created by a network of right-wing foundations dedicated to the privatization of public education,” the report says.

That funding, it says, has come even as the Bush administration has “consistently underfunded” the No Child Left Behind law, which passed with bipartisan support.

According to People for the American Way, the education appropriations bill that was pending in Congress last week would underfund the school improvement law by more than $8 billion in the current fiscal year, 2004. The fiscal 2003 appropriation underfunded the law by nearly $6 billion, the group says.

Eugene W. Hickok, the Education Department’s acting deputy secretary, dismissed the report as an ideological broadside.

“Consider the source,” Mr. Hickock said in an interview last week. "[People for the American Way] has its own agenda and obviously is very critical of this administration generally. The organizations that are mentioned have all been given money to support NCLB. We feel good about the activities they are engaged in, and that’s why we support them.”

Mr. Hickock described the claim that the No Child Left Behind Act has been underfunded as “tired, old rhetoric.”

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Embracing Student Engagement: The Pathway to Post-Pandemic Learning
As schools emerge from remote learning, educators are understandably worried about content and skills that students would otherwise have learned under normal circumstances. This raises the very real possibility that children will face endless hours
Content provided by Newsela

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal What's at Stake in a Review of Federal Sex Discrimination Protections for Students
The Biden administration's review of Title IX may prompt new guidance on how schools deal with sexual harassment and protect LGBTQ students.
10 min read
Image of gender symbols drawn in chalk.
joxxxxjo/iStock/Getty
Federal Opinion Education Outlets Owe Readers More Than the Narratives They Want to Hear
It's vital that serious news organizations challenge runaway narratives and help readers avoid going down ideological rabbit holes.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal As GOP Leaves K-12 Out of Its Infrastructure Plan, Advocates Look For Alternatives
The GOP is proposing $1 trillion in federal dollars for the nation's infrastructure, but school buildings aren't part of their proposal.
6 min read
A trash can and pink kiddie pool are used to collect water that leaks from the roof into the media center at Green County High School in Snow Hill, N.C..
A trash can and pink kiddie pool are used to collect water that leaks from the roof into the media center at Green County High School in Snow Hill, N.C.
Alex Boerner for Education Week
Federal Biden Pick for Education Civil Rights Office Has History With Racial Equity, LGBTQ Issues
Biden selected Catherine Lhamon to lead the Education Department's civil rights work, a role she also held in the Obama administration.
2 min read
Flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the Education Department in Washington on Aug. 9, 2017.
Flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the Education Department in Washington on Aug. 9, 2017.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP