The Bush administration paid Armstrong Williams -- author, syndicated TV and radio host, and syndicated columnist -- $240,000 to promote its No Child Left Behind education policy on his syndicated radio and television shows in 2004, USA Today reported on January 7. Meanwhile, Williams also promoted the Bush administration's education policies, including No Child Left Behind, and denounced those who opposed them in his newspaper columns, syndicated by Tribune Media Services (TMS).
Following are examples:
- Do you remember what the political climate was like when Bush first took office? With the close election and questions of legitimacy floating around the zeitgeist, most political advisers urged Bush to scale back his campaign promises and focus instead on a small core of less ambitious issues. Bush took the opposite approach. He mapped out a bold agenda for education and tax reform. [9/7/04]
- The National Education Association [NEA], the nation's largest professional employee organization, is fundamentally opposed to any education reform that seeks to hold public schools accountable for their failures. On July 3, it will hold its national convention in Washington, D.C. That's when the association is expected to endorse John Kerry for president. Along with the endorsement will come thousands of votes from teachers across the country. ... Together, Kerry and the unions talk about protecting the interests of our children. It would be nice, however, if these so-called representatives of our children's interests could find a way not to sell out the greatest instrument of our children's empowerment: their education. [6/29/04]
- The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 2.7 million elementary and secondary teachers. Their professed goal is to make public schools great for every child. The real goal is to increase their own bargaining power by ripping to shreds any education reform that seeks to hold public schools accountable to their failures. ...They are fundamentally opposed to any education reform-like vouchers or the No Child Left Behind Act-that seeks to hold public schools accountable for their failures. Of course there is no academic reason why this should necessarily be so. [5/24/04]
- Fifty years after Brown v Board of Education, we need to ensure that our children are receiving a decent education, regardless of income, background, or race. This need was not lost on President Bush, who passed the bi-partisan No Child Left Behind Act. [5/14/04]
- As it stands, there is little oversight of graduation rates. This needs to change. Schools that fail to graduate large numbers of minority students must be held accountable under the No Child Left Behind Act. Then, perhaps they will get serious about instituting dropout prevention programs, counseling and other measures that would ensure public schools work as well for minority students as they do for whites. [3/10/04]
- The two largest unions, the AFT [American Federation of Teachers] and NEA, hold public education system hostage. They are fundamentally opposed to any education reform-like vouchers or the No Child Left Behind Act-that seeks to hold public schools accountable for their failures. They attack such reforms because they know that these plans would mean the likely defections of public school personnel to privatized systems and the birth of competing collective bargaining entities. For the teacher's unions, the idea of competition can only mean giving up leverage and money. [3/1/04]
- President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, was designed to redress this "soft bigotry of expectations." The education reform initiative holds entire schools accountable when subsets of students - defined by income, race, etc. - lag behind in test scores. The act would withhold large amounts of federal funding to those educational institutions that are failing to properly educate their students. [1/7/04]
A January 7 Editor & Publisher article also noted that Williams has mentioned No Child Left Behind in his columns. The article quoted John Twohey, TMS vice president for editorial and operations, as saying "It's troubling, at best." Twohey added that TMS doesn't want to decide what action to take, if any, until "we get the complete set of facts. We don't want to leap to any conclusions based on incomplete information. I owe it to him and his newspaper clients."