Nov 8, 2004
Neil Bush knows that it pays to have relatives in high places.
He made big money, and a big mess, with the Savings and Loan scandal when his dad, George H.W. Bush, was president. And, of course, the government bailed him out.
Now he's learned he can benefit from his brothers, too.
One brother, U.S. president George W., pushed through the so-called "No Child Left Behind" Act, which threatens to cut off funding for school districts across the country unless 95% of their students pass a specific standardized test.
These tests do NOT help pinpoint where students need extra help in order to successfully learn math, reading or writing. They're just used to punish schools for not having enough students jump through a hoop. "No Child Left Behind" is all about cutting funding to schools, not helping students to learn.
Faced with the threat of cuts to their funding, schools are under enormous pressure – to train the students to pass this specific test.
So, what did Neil Bush do? He founded a company, Ignite Learning, selling software to teach students how to pass No-Child-Left-Behind tests!
He might as well be openly offering the answer keys to the tests his brother demands – because that's what it comes down to.
Ignite's first customer was the Houston Independent School District (HISD), which was the model for No-Child-Left-Behind when George W. Bush was governor of Texas.
So, what market is Ignite targeting now? School districts in the state of Florida, of course.
Under governor Jeb Bush, brother of George W. and Neil, the state of Florida established the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), the state's standardized test modeled on "No Child Left Behind."
The software is being tested in one Florida school district; from there, it will be marketed across the state.
The software will be sold at the price of 30 dollars per-year-per-student. With two million students in the state, Neil Bush's company stands to make up to 60 million dollars in Florida in the first year alone.
No Child Left Behind? More like: No Bush Brother Left Behind!