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Fri Feb 1, 2013, 06:10 AM


E-mails link Jeb Bush foundation, corporations and education officials writing state laws

A nonprofit group released thousands of e-mails today and said they show how a foundation begun by Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and national education reform leader, is working with public officials in states to write education laws that could benefit some of its corporate funders.

The e-mails are between the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) and a group Bush set up called Chiefs for Change, whose members are current and former state education commissioners who support Bush’s agenda of school reform, which includes school choice, online education, retention of third-graders who can’t read and school accountability systems based on standardized tests. That includes evaluating teachers based on student test scores and grading schools A-F based on test scores. John White of Louisiana is a current member, as is Tony Bennett, the new commissioner of Florida who got the job after Indiana voters rejected his Bush-style reforms last November and tossed him out of office.

Donald Cohen, chair of the nonprofit In the Public Interest, a resource center on privatization and responsible for contracting in the public sector, said the e-mails show how education companies that have been known to contribute to the foundation are using the organization “to move an education agenda that may or not be in our interests but are in theirs.”

He said companies ask the foundation to help state officials pass laws and regulations that make it easier to expand charter schools, require students to take online education courses, and do other things that could result in business and profits for them. The e-mails show, Cohen said, that Bush’s foundation would often do this with the help of Chiefs for Change and other affiliated groups.


Details about specific states in the article. Some highlights:

* "Strong connections" between Jebbie's group (FEE) & ALEC.

* In Florida, FEE helped write legislation to increase the use of a test owned by Pearson Education, a FEE donor.

* In Rhode Island, FEE pushed state officials to introduce a communications system, SendHub, into the schools. Jebbie is an investor.

* Also in RI, Deb Gist, the Ed Commissioner indirectly involved in firing all the teachers at Central Falls HS, gets a mention.

FEE donors include:

The donors for the summit were the Walton Family Foundation, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the Carnegie Corp., Susan and Bill Oberndorf, GlobalScholar, Target, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Microsoft, State Farm, IQity, McGraw-Hill Education, Doris and Donald Fisher Fund, Intel, Pearson Foundation, Apex Learning, ETS, Electronic Arts, Koret Foundation, SMART Technologies, K12, Morgridge Family Foundation, Charter Schools USA and Connections Academy.

Notice how the cheap-labor right (Walton, Bradley) easily work with the tech sector, the old-line 'white shoe' foundation sector, the big education companies & the upstart charter companies. There is no right or left where money's concerned.

It's a round-robin cluster fuck of corruption.

The corruption in this "education reform" is massive & ubiquitous.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 07:32 AM

1. I do not know if grading schools was good for education

However, the fact that I live in the districts for three Jeb Bush "A" graded schools has done great things for the value of my house. I moved here because they were understood as being the best public schools in town, well before school grades were invented. However, more broadly publishing their status improved property values. The increase was larger during the bubble and the decline was smaller than average after it popped.

Interestingly, after all the expense and the testing, the best schools before are still the best schools, and the worst schools are still the worst. The grades suggest the worst schools have improved some, but since they change the grading scale every year or two, who can tell if any of it is real.

I did find it interesting when in the first year none of the locals schools got an F, they promptly changed the standards. The standards were set to get a result of 10% "F" schools, because the law only triggered vouchers an charters if there were "F" schools in the District. So the test had to produce "F" schools for the experiment to proceed and it was revised to do just that. It has since been revised upward over and over since then to maintain a necessary minimum level of failure.

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Response to quaker bill (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 07:40 AM

2. "to maintain a necessary minimum level of failure" = indeed. & all the national legislation since


bush 1 has used the same tactic. every year a given percent of schools are declared to be failures & put into remediation. remediation leads to privatization, then the next 5% comes into play.

it's a strategy for privatization, bit by bit.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:26 PM

6. The threat to the people and America comes from corporatization


not inherently from conservatism. The international corporatists use well funded pundits masquerading as conservative, when they are really pied piper puppet masters.

The so-called common folk are roped into a global corporate ideology that is not at all in their interest, but neither was the successful propaganda push by big tobacco via Madison Ave propagandists to convince women to smoke by calling them torches of freedom in 1929


Society is regularly exploited for the benefit of those who believe they are smarter than us and we need to be on guard.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 05:40 AM

8. It is all a contrivance

set up to cause us to believe that falling wages are our fault. Falling wages are because "we are not educated enough".

No doubt, education could be improved. However, truth be told, the level of educational achievement on average for the American public has never been higher. There are more people with bachelors degrees selling shoes, waiting tables, and flipping burgers than we have ever had. Roughly half of all college graduates are working jobs that make little or no use of their degree. At no time in US history has a higher proportion of the population had HS diplomas and college degrees.

We are on average vastly better educated than the population in the 1950s, when many single earner families had a new car in the driveway every 2 or 3 years.

My grandfather, an HS educated auto mechanic who basically did brake jobs for a living for a GM dealer over 30 years, left behind an "estate" 1/3 of which put both of my kids through college.

The bottom line is not education it is wealth distribution. Back in my grandfather's day the CEO made good money, perhaps 40X the typical worker. Today the CEO makes absurd money often 400X or better than the typical worker. Auto mechanics rarely leave "estates" behind anymore, because the CEO has that money.

None of this has anything to do with education. The "failed education system" meme is fully intended to believe that we are the problem, and of course, that giving them more of the money is the solution.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:11 PM

4. It's all about the money, money, money. Brother Neil Bush's "IGNITE!":

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:17 PM

5. Corporate Interests Pay to Play to Shape Education Policy, Reap profits (Links to actual emails)


Emails between the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), founded and chaired by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and state education officials show that the foundation is writing state education laws and regulations in ways that could benefit its corporate funders. The emails, obtained through public records requests, reveal that the organization, sometimes working through its Chiefs For Change affiliate, wrote and edited laws, regulations and executive orders, often in ways that improved profit opportunities for the organization's financial backers.

"Testing companies and for-profit online schools see education as big business," said In the Public Interest Chair Donald Cohen. "For-profit companies are hiding behind FEE and other business lobby organizations they fund to write laws and promote policies that enrich the companies."

The emails conclusively reveal that FEE staff acted to promote their corporate funders' priorities, and demonstrate the dangerous role that corporate money plays in shaping our education policy. Correspondence in Florida, New Mexico, Maine, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Louisiana paint a graphic picture of corporate money distorting democracy.


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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:46 PM

7. Corporate terror, er, cronyism is going to be the death of us all.

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