Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Tampa Tribune: Jeb Bush leads move to reduce teachers union's influence

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 09:55 AM
Original message
Tampa Tribune: Jeb Bush leads move to reduce teachers union's influence

Photo credit Miami Herald

It's about time everyone's eyes fly open about this jackal's devious plans to wreck public education in Florida and in the rest of the country.

And very rapidly now, before Jeb! has his last glorious crime-ridden, tax cut-thieving, legislature-hijacking, school voucher-pushing, religious fanaticism/end of life meddling, environment-raping, crony-enriching, dirty deal-making, personally enriched spree-ridden way with Florida.

And he's now running roughshod over Governor Charlie Crist to continue the Bush spree of destruction.

Thank you, William March at the Tampa Tribune:

Jeb Bush leads move to reduce teachers union's influence

April 13, 2010

The battle over the teacher tenure bill is the latest in a long-running war between the Florida teachers union and conservative Republicans.

Led by former Gov. Jeb Bush, the conservative side of the GOP has long sought to marginalize teachers' unions in Florida, which merged in 2000 to form the Florida Education Association.

Non-partisan but Democratic-leaning, it is Florida's largest and most politically powerful union, with about 140,000 members, including 100,000 of the state's 175,000 public schoolteachers.

Bush wanted to be known as Florida's "education governor," but his reform proposals, including private school tuition vouchers, more standardized testing and state-mandated merit pay plans, have put him at odds with the FEA. He has openly expressed his desire in the past to undercut its clout.

Key allies including state Sen. John Thrasher, sponsor of SB 6, the teacher tenure bill, and Marco Rubio, former House speaker now running for the U.S. Senate, helped push his initiatives through the Legislature some seemingly aimed as much at the union as at reform.


The Jeb Bush Era Ends in Florida, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel wearily reports on January 7, 2007.

Nope, Sun-Sentinel. Not by a long shot.

Jeb Bush never left the levers of control as his puppets populate and further debase the state legislature.

More from William March:


Recently, (Jeb Bush) has become more outspoken, and SB 6 is the state issue he talks about most, often through his education think tank, the Foundation for Florida's Future.

SB 6 is also the hardest hit yet against the union.

"SB 6 is different clearly the most direct assault," said state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who's running for attorney general. "This one would remove their power to collectively bargain. It's a missile aimed right at the FEA."

FEA President Andy Ford acknowledged the union supports Democrats far more than Republicans.

Asked why, he said, "Their respect for unions and collective bargaining, civil and human rights. They're more willing to fund education, and they're not anti-public school employee."


A voucher program moving students out of public schools could shrink FEA's membership base; so could legislation that cuts its ability to bargain for members' pay.

Thrasher and Patricia Levesque, director of Bush's foundation, denied that the foundation was involved in writing or shaping SB 6, although Levesque acknowledged it is consistent with the foundation's emphasis on accountability.

Thrasher denied it's aimed at eliminating collective bargaining.


Catastrophic destruction of the teachers' union is what Jeb Bush pushes relentlessly to accomplish.

It became an industry, otherwise known as an obsession with Jeb. Bush.

March explains:

Bush's battle with the union began in earnest when he ran for governor in 1994, espousing an agenda of conservative change, including vouchers. The two unions that eventually merged to form the FEA opposed him.


In 2002, the FEA sought to unseat Bush. It spent more than $2 million more than double its normal annual political spending backing Tampa lawyer Bill McBride, husband of this year's Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink.

Late in the campaign, Bush, speaking to a group of legislators and unaware that a reporter was taping his comments, announced jokingly that he had "devious plans" on education.

One, he said, would frustrate the intent of the constitutional amendment limiting public school class sizes, which the FEA strongly backed but critics said was simply an employment measure for teachers.

Another would undercut the FEA's collective bargaining power by imposing a pay plan controlled largely by state officials which critics say SB 6 will do.


"I think it would be great politically for President Obama" to break with one of his party's interest groups, Mr. Bush says. "I hope it's the teachers' union. He can bring about a transformation of education" and speak "on behalf of the kids that traditionally are shut out of the learning process, and a thousand flowers to bloom, not just one prescribed from Washington." ----Jeb Bush, WSJ, February 14, 2010

William March sums up the key history here:

In 2001, Bush had pushed through a plan to provide all teachers an $850 bonus, bypassing collective bargaining.

Bush sought unsuccessfully to offer teachers free professional liability insurance. That would undercut FEA recruiting, because the union also offers free insurance to dues-paying members.

GOP legislators unsuccessfully sought to prevent the FEA from collecting dues by paycheck deduction.

In 2007, after he had left office, Bush allies sought to reverse the Supreme Court decision against his voucher program.

Rubio, then House speaker, appointed Levesque to the state Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, where, with support from other Bush allies appointed by Rubio, she successfully proposed a constitutional amendment that would weaken the prohibition on aid to religious institutions.

The FEA and others sued and blocked the amendment from the ballot.

Regardless SB 6's fate the battle isn't over.

Aronberg said conservatives consider this election year an ideal chance to move their agenda.

"There's a sense of urgency I haven't seen before," he said. "It's unfinished business for Jeb Bush."

Getty Images

Getty Images

Photo caption:

MIAMI - APRIL 12: Teachers and their supporters gather to protest the passing of the bill named SB 6 by the Florida legislator on April 12, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Bill that is opposed by many teachers, is sitting on Florida Governor Charlie Crist's desk, for passage or a veto, it would link teacher pay increases primarily to student performance on tests and there is a fear that it would eliminate long-term job security for new teachers.

It is never over with Jeb Bush, but with word traveling fast now, the people are rising up to halt both his interminable reign of backbiting fear and outright theft against everyday Floridians, and most supremely, to bring to an end his overarching and kingly ambition to rule from White House.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
tonysam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
1. It's a bipartisan effort. It's also Obama and Duncan.
All of them are taking their marching orders from the World Bank.

We will have NO public education in twenty years if people don't wake the hell up.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
2. Jeb Bush is like Oliver North: anything they have a hand in is criminal

may Jeb fall down and never get up

I heart teachers.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
3. k/r
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. second that.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 10:01 AM
Response to Original message
4. Thank you, recommended.
Jeb is not done destroying Florida yet.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
lib2DaBone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #4
12. You got that right... I was wondering if the slimy prints of Jeb Bush were on this SB-6
Don't forget , it was Jebbies brother, Marvin Bush, who got the big fat no-bid contract to print and supply all the books for FCAT and No Child Left Behind.

I think folks should know, also, that the Bush family owns most.. if not ALL... of the off-shore oil drilling leases around the State of Florida.

Now if the Bushies can get their boy Marco Rubio into office, they can finish off their dirty deeds and pick clean what little cash and assets are left on the carcass of FLorida. (even before the senior citizens here can wake up and figure out what happened to them while in their Fox News Republican induced coma)

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
xxqqqzme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 10:14 AM
Response to Original message
6. Ah, the bush legacy of destruction marches on.
The products of privilege and private education, they do not know nor care how or if any other child is educated. They are the heirs of ill gotten gains, have been trying to erase that large dark smear of their heritage for a couple of generations now. Pretend all you want but your grandfather was a war profiteer and traitor, you father a liar and your brother a complete failure.

Non-contributing POS. They disgust me.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DonCoquixote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
7. NEVER forget two things.
One: Jeb is the one that his mother groomed to be president, not her misfit drunk of a Son. The Neocons like Cheney saw W. and gave him a "chance" to avenhe his daddy, by ironically aiding and abbeting the same neocons who railed at his father because he dared realize that he could not keeping cutting taxes. Somewhere Bush Sr. is sick because his son actually became a tool of the very people that threw him out because he did not do things like "finish the job in Iraq." What this means is that Jeb, who was already motivated to gain power by any means necessary, now has a reason to do even worse things: he cannot stand the idea that his idiot drunk of a brother will be the famous one. I mention this because in Jeb, we have the perfect storm, someone with W's lack of a conscience and Cheney's warped mind. If Jeb gets into the oval office, it will not be a question of whether he will be America's death knell, but the world's.

Two: When Jeb left office, he had cut teachers, cut cops, but had a SIX HUNDRED MILLION DOLLAR giveway to his friends at CSX. This deal would not have just avoidied giving any money to passenge rail, would not have just cut right through the city of Lakeland (can you say eminent domain, boys and girls?), but would have also given CSX immunity from prosecution should THEIR negligence cause an accident! To add insult to injury, the Florida taxpayer would be liable for any and all damages! Let me repeat! CSX could have put a Meth-smoking engineer on the tracks, and they would NOT BE HELD LIABLE!

Don't believe me? /

OH, and as the last of my references shows, Jeb also did this at the same time as leading the fight to kill a passenger rail proposal, similar to the one Crist would accept from Obama later. Of course, that is why Jeb Bush's crony, Marco Rubio, is getting the teabagger push.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
csziggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-15-10 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #7
16. +100000000000000000000
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 10:17 AM
Response to Original message
8. rust never sleeps
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. ain't that the truth
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
babyblonde Donating Member (69 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
The Bush Who Stole Florida Teachers' Christmas
by LondonYank
Digg this! Share this on Twitter - The Bush Who Stole Florida Teachers' ChristmasTweet this submit to reddit Share This
Sat Dec 01, 2007 at 04:21:36 AM PDT

Jeb Bush was one of 3 people managing the investments of the Florida State Board of Administration. The SBA runs an investment pool of municipalities' cash and also the state's $170 billion pension fund. The SBA administrator appointed by Jeb is Coleman Stipanovich, brother of J.M. "Mac" Stipanovich who managed Jeb's campaign for governor and advises Katherine Harris.

The SBA investment pool is now frozen after $10 billion was withdrawn, and what's left is financial toxic waste. Hundreds of Florida cities, counties, school districts and fire departments are at risk of defaulting on salaries over a payroll weekend.

No salaries means no Christmas for Florida's civil servants. Thanks Jeb!

Below I go into the reasons to think that Jeb might have used the SBA to loot the municipalities and pensions of Florida on behalf of cronies for over $1.2 billion.

* LondonYank's diary :: ::

This month saw a run on the SBA investment pool, with over $10 billion withdrawn by nervous county treasurers from Orange, Miami-Dade and Broward counties after Bloomberg revealed $700 million in defaulted assets might compromise the fund. They were smart. The assets left are toxic waste with no market.

On Thursday the current SBA board Gov. Charlie Crist, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum froze withdrawals from the SBA investment pool.

Their decision was over the objection of Stipanovich, who wanted to loot the $140 billion SBA pension fund to cover further withdrawals from the SBA investment fund.

But Sink, the board's lone Democrat, questioned the legality of pledging money that is intended for retired state employees, school teachers and county employees. Sink instead called for outside financial managers to evaluate the idea and report back to the board by next Tuesday.

When asked whether or not she was had lost faith in the board staff, Sink responded that cities and counties have had a ''crisis of confidence'' by withdrawing billions from the state run fund.

The SBA pool acts like a money market fund, as a place to park spare cash until it is spent by municipalities. Because the cash in the pool is cash which municipalities need to spend for routine things like salaries and expenses, the expectation is that the pool should only invest in liquid and safe assets like Treasury bills and certificates of deposit so that funds will always be available as needed.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Bitwit1234 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
11. What the republicans are trying to do in the states where they are in charge
is have a turn over in teachers. They want to install republican and religious leaning ones who will teach only what the say. Wait and see. Most of the teachers who are teaching REAL HISTORY and Real lessons will soon be gone and only the riff raff will be installed to do their bidding.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
csziggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-15-10 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. They are trying to privatize all state government functions
And give the contracts for those to companies owned by their cronies. While Jeb was governor, he managed to do this for any number of state agencies, reducing the level of state employees, but also reducing the level of services. But oddly enough, this did NOT manage to reduce the state budget as it was touted to do.

So it is not just education, it is every government service that will be turned into a for profit enterprise if Jeb and his buddies have their way.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
13. Jeb Bush's Waterloo
Paul A. Moore, a Miami Carol City high school teacher, in a guest commentary over at BuzzFlash nails it.

April 12, 2010


Jeb Bush has dreamed his whole political life of plunging a dagger in the heart of public education. His fond hopes were probably best confessed in his second inaugural address as Florida's governor in 2003. Bush told the rapt crowd gathered to hail him, "There will be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society than if we can make these buildings around us empty of workers; as silent monuments to the time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill." Bush could already see it in his minds eye. Yes, school buildings empty of teachers, monuments to an abandoned American crusade for universal public education.

On April 9, 2010 at 2:26 a.m., the Florida House of Representatives voted Jeb Bush closer to his lifes dream than he has ever been. At the very same moment they destroyed it. Jeb Bush, like Icarus, has finally flown too close to the sun. A sleeping giant has been roused.

Jeb Bushs Waterloo comes at the end of a long road.


First give the man his due. He is brilliant. As a youth he sensed how important US relations with Latin America would become and he made the region the focus of his studies in college. He foresaw how important Spanish-speaking immigrant voters would someday be and he made himself fluent in the language and took a Mexican woman as his bride. Early in the movement he sensed the political power of Christian fundamentalism and so he began pretending to be a man of faith.

He would have been President of the United States before his brother George but the first time Jeb Bush ran for governor in 1994 he lost. During the campaign Bush was asked by reporters what his administration might do for Black Floridians. He made a tactical blunder. He gave an honest answer. He said, "Probably nothing." Jeb Bush got 4% of the African-American vote and Lawton Chiles beat him in a close race.


Floridians owe a tremendous debt to 'the old he-coon'. If Jeb! had won against Chiles in 1994, the face of Florida and the country would have been devastatingly different today.

(St. Petersburg Times files: Fraser Hale 1995)
Wrapped in a coon-skin vest (if you dont know why, ask a longtime Floridian), former Gov. Lawton Chiles is inaugurated for his second term in January 1995.

RIP, Governor.

Moore continues:


Nothing if not politically astute, during his second run for governor in 1998 Bush teamed up with the conservative African-American Director of the Urban League of Greater Miami, T. Willard Fair, to establish Florida's first ever charter school in Miami's iconic black community Liberty City. The Liberty Charter School served as an effective campaign prop for Bush and he received 17% of the black vote this time around. Soon after taking office Bush severed his ties with Liberty Charter and appointed T. Willard Fair to the Florida Board of Education where he remains to this day giving slavish devotion to a man who he once told, "In my judgment, there is no greater person on this Earth than you. I love you."

Ultimately when historic Liberty Charter School failed and closed its doors due to a lack of funding The Miami Herald sought reaction from Bush. He wrote back, "I am not aware of what this is about."

Jeb Bushs political modus operandi has always been to divide the people in the service of his only true constituencywealthy business interests. That sliver of Floridas population has always found the public school system to be little more than a boondoggle where billions of dollars escape their clutches. So throughout his first term as governor Jeb Bush relentlessly pounded on public schools with voucher programs, charter school promotion, merit pay plans, standardized testing schemes, larger classes and less money for schools struggling with poverty and deprivation.

In 2002 Florida voters were asked to consider the re-election of Jeb Bush and the Class-Size Amendment to the state Constitution on the same ballot. Both Bush and class-size reduction won.


Florida Today reported, Gov. Jeb Bush rolled out of bed the morning after his re-election party with a class-size headache. The pain had been delivered by now U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek. As the most prominent public face of Floridas Coalition to Reduce Class Size, Rep. Meek had won the first in a series of epic political battles to genuinely improve public schools. It became a series of battles after Gov. Bush refused to accept the will of Floridas voters. Commenting on that, Rep. Meek has said, Floridians expect their governor to be up at night thinking of ways to improve the lives of their children not hatching devious plans to keep them trapped in overcrowded classes. Meeks reference to devious plans came from another occasion when Bush was caught telling the truth. He was unaware of a tape recorder in the room.


And shutting down libraries was on Jeb's agenda as well. An educated populace is like daybreak to this vampire.

And he's had lots of these devious plans. For years. Periodically he'd peddle them over to FOX as a prime vehicle for spreading Jeb's big hairy audacious goals for education, or 'BHAGS', as was his favorite term for more of his devious plans.

Moore continues:

During the 2005 session of the Florida Legislature Bush hatched his plan to gut the Class-Size Amendment. It deviously pit rural school districts and teachers against the larger urban school districts. The idea never got out of the legislature thanks to a principled Republican State Senator named Alex Villalobos. Bush's retribution against him was swift and vindictive. Sen. Villalobos had been a champion of spinal cord research at the University of Miami and assistance to Miami Children's Hospital. Funding for both of those projects was among $27 million in cuts directed at South Florida counties in Bush's state budget that year. Apparently unsatisfied that the vetoes had chastened Villalobos, Bush engineered his political humiliation. The man who once was in line to become the first Cuban-born President of the Florida Senate was stripped of the majority leaders post and shown to his new office in the Capitol Buildinga broom closet.

The same year, as the Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments in yet another attempt to win private-school vouchers, proto-typical Bush-backer, Tampa millionaire venture capitalist John Kirtley bused hundreds of school-skipping children and their parents to Tallahassee to rally for the governor's program. Many of the same parents and their children were recalled to the Capitol on February 15, 2006 to hear Gov. Bush announce that he would lead a drive to resurrect his thrice-declared unconstitutional school-voucher program by way of amending the Florida Constitution. With a sense of neither irony nor shame Jeb Bush told his predominantly African-American audience, "In Florida and the United States today, if you've got money you can make a choice. What about the children whose parents don't have the ability based on income to make that choice? Don't they have the same dreams? God gives every child the ability to learn. God does that!"


Jeb intends to go national with his radical plans to destroy public education. He's already infested Indiana and Arizona's legislatures and state school systems, spouting his ideas on educational reform to influence whomever is foolish enough to fall for this poisonous snake oil.

Moore also noticed and documents that Jeb has never left the stage after leaving the governorship in 2007. Despite ridiculously thin claims to the contrary, Jeb Bush crouches in the shadows just offstage, directing this current Legislative show with a vile and imperious arrogance that only worsens with time.


Although term limits forced Jeb Bush to give up his Tallahassee office at the end of 2006, it did not thwart his determination to keep the apparatus of state government under his control. To this day Gov. Charlie Crist can only dream of having as much influence over education policy in the state as Jeb Bush. Bush loyalists were left on the Florida Board of Education and throughout the Florida Department of Education bureaucracy. In 2007 his minions were shot through the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission which meets every twenty years and has the extraordinary power to go directly to the voters with amendments to the State Constitution. When his former chief of staff as governor, Patricia Levesque, got Bushs anti-public schools wish list through the Commission, the two traded celebratory text messages.

Funny when State Senator John Thrasher from Jacksonville won passage of Senate Bill 6 he called Jeb Bush immediately too!

So, here we are. Jeb Bush wanted to reform education. It may, indeed, turn into his Waterloo.


Public school teachers in Florida, 168,000 of them, have been frightened and confused by Jeb Bush's success in the Legislature. They have had to ponder over how ideas so clearly absurd and destructive could win the votes of legislators. They have asked why rationality seems to hold no sway in this matter. The short answer is of course that money trumps reason in the Legislature. In fact money trumps all! What Jeb Bush and the Chamber of Commerce and the builders and the developers want they get in the Florida Legislature.

But the teacher's initial fear is giving way to something else. They are calling in sick in Miami-Dade. Their student allies are walking out of classrooms and into the streets in protest. Their parent allies have conducted a hunger strike and marched up and down the state on their behalf. Even if Gov. Crist fails to muster the courage to veto the teachers will stop whatever legislation Bush wins in the implementation phase. I know from a quarter century of teaching experience that we run the schools in practice and while we are deferential to authority we're not suicidal. We will see to our survival and feed our families.

A sleeping giant has been roused.

Now, it is up to Governor Charlie Crist to do the right thing and veto SB6, this blatant affront to the survival of public education, its teachers and students.

We expect an answer to this question by the end of tomorrow.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-15-10 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
14. Gov. Crist vetoes teacher tenure bill
Governor Crist helped the people beat back the Jeb Bush Machine today.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-15-10 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. He did the right thing, kudos. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sun Oct 22nd 2017, 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC