The Bush Crime Familystrikes again.
The inspector general of the Department of Education has said he will examine whether federal money was inappropriately used by three states to buy educational products from a company owned by Neil Bush, the president’s brother.
John P. Higgins Jr., the inspector general, said he would review the matter after a group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, detailed at least $1 million in spending from the No Child Left Behind program by school districts in Texas, Florida and Nevada to buy products made by Mr. Bush’s company, Ignite Learning of Austin, Tex. Mr. Higgins stated his plans in a letter to the group sent last week.
Members of the group and other critics in Texas contend that school districts are buying Ignite’s signature product, the Curriculum on Wheels, because of political considerations. The product, they said, does not meet standards for financing under the No Child Left Behind Act, which allocates federal money to help students raise their achievement levels, particularly in elementary school reading.
Ignite, founded by Neil Bush in 1999, includes as investors his parents, former President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara.
Jay Spuck, a former curriculum director for the [Houston Independent SchoolDistrict], has criticized spending on the Ignite product, saying: “It’s not helping kids at all. It’s not helping teachers. The only way Neil has gotten in is by his name.”
Much of the product’s success in Texas dates from a March 2006 donation by Barbara Bush, who gave eight units to schools attended by large numbers of hurricane evacuees.
Neil Bush followed up with an e-mail message telling the district that “in order for the schools to keep the Cows in subsequent years they will have to pay an annual fee of $1,000,” according to documents obtained by the citizens group.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of the group, referring to No Child Left Behind, said: “A constant principle of N.C.L.B. is that children must be taught using scientifically proven methods. Ignite’s Cows simply don’t meet N.C.L.B. standards. This suggests that the real reason N.C.L.B. funds are expended on Ignite is because the founder and C.E.O. is the president’s brother.”