A citizens activist group today asked the U.S. Department of Education’s Inspector General’s Office to investigate why federal No Child Left Behind Act funds are being spent on educational software sold by Neil Bush’s company – a person, they point out, with absolutely no education background.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in Washington have been beating this drum for a while. As their press release says, they want to know “why federal money is being funneled to a company with no proven track record of effectiveness, but so happens to be run by the president’s brother.” They also say there is no scientific evidence that the products peddled by Ignite! work.
CREW has spent three months investigating the program in school districts in Texas, Florida and Nevada. Called a Curriculum on Wheels or COW, it is comprised of “a cart-mounted video projector and hard drive loaded with a year’s supply of Ignite! social studies, science or math curricula.”
“At a standard price of $3,800 - $4,200 per unit, the COW is a very expensive device with limited use.”
In Houston, Barbara Bush donated money to the Houston Independent School System, but mandated the money be used to buy her son’s Ignite! program.
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No word yet on whether the Education Department wants to wade into this one. Although given the Bush administration’s tolerance for investigations into any of its actions, this might best be filed under the heading of “Windmills, tilting at.” – Margaret Downing