Who says you can't have your cake and eat it, too?

Watch Sandy Kress cut the cake.

By Jim Trelease, © 2005

nyone who hasn't figured out the connection between big business and school accountability/high stakes testing needs to meet Atty. Sandy Kress, presidential advisor and lobbyist extraordinaire— some might even say he's the fox who's guarding the hen house.

IMG=CAKEcake 2   Kress is the epitome of the educational-industrial complex: He's President Bush's trusted mentor on education issues (during the NCLB passage, Sen. Edward Kennedy called him the President's "smooth talker"), while at the same time he's a lobbyist and consultant for some of the biggest testing companies and most influential "pro-testing" business boards in the U.S.

Sandykress   Along with his previously mentioned Presidential duties, Kress' credits and clients include: Responsible for shepherding NCLB through Congress; consultant to Council of Chief State School Officers; consultant to the Business Roundtable; co-founder of the Texas Education Reform Caucus; adviser, consultant and lobbyist for Pearson Education ( one of the nation's largest testing and education material companies); lobbyist for Kaplan ( major test tutoring agency); lobbyist for The Teaching Commission (a New York-based think tank started by Louis V. Gerstner Jr.); lobbyist for Texas Businesses for Excellence in Education; former lobbyist for K12 (William J. Bennett's online learning company before Bennett was forced to resign for making racially charged remarks on his national radio program).

SOURCES FOR ABOVE: The Dallas Morning News research; for payment levels for Kress' last five years of lobbying and lawyering in behalf of the testing industry's empathetic efforts to make sure no child is left behind while ensuring they get their share of the $1.9 billion to $5.3 billion worth of testing mandated by NCLB Act, see Susan Ohanian's report at: http://susanohanian.org/outrage_fetch.php?id=301. Additional information on Kress can be found in the extensive profile, "THE BIG MAN ON CAMPUS REFORM: Lobbyist a go-to guy on school policy, but some question his motives," by Scott Parks, The Dallas Morning News, Page 1, Mar. 6, 2005.

   This reformer's influence can be seen in the following excerpt from The Dallas Morning News describing Kress' relationship with Pearson Learning which had the $57 million contract for the Texas state test (TAKS) for 2004-05. (In the spirit of full disclosure, Pearson, also owns Penguin, the publisher of all my books.)

So what is Mr. Kress' value to a major player in the textbook and testing industries?

A January 2003 meeting of Pearson executives and their investors shed some light on that question. Mr. Kress was the featured speaker.

Marjorie Scardino, the Texarkana-born chief executive of parent company Pearson PLC (which also owns The Financial Times and Penguin Books), introduced Mr. Kress as one of "the leading advisers on education policy in America."

"He also is our adviser," she said. "He talks a lot to us about how NCLB is going to change things for us and what kinds of products and services might be appropriate for that kind of change."

Mr. Kress spent 20 minutes guiding Pearson investors through his encyclopedic knowledge of federal law, helping them understand No Child Left Behind's requirements and their effect on the market: more money for English language learners, new mandates for science testing beginning in 2006-07 and a hundred other details.

— Scott Parks, "THE BIG MAN ON
The Dallas Morning News
Page 1, Mar. 6, 2005


Having Atty. Sandy Kress as an education advisor is the equivalent of having the chief counsel for Merck or Pfizer as the president's chief advisor on health care. Anyone see a conflict of interest there? The wolf as security advisor to the three little pigs? For more on Sandy Kress from the Texas Observer, see KRE$$.

INDEX for all NCLB, NRP, and Reading First essays and articles

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