Anyone who’s followed the way the Rick Scott led-Jeb Bush driven education agenda has proceeded shouldn’t be surprised at Robinson’s appointment as Commissioner of Florida’s State Board of Education. When the Washington Post reported Monday that he was asked to apply, it was clear he’d been chosen by the Scott-Bush alliance.
Robinson is one of the original Chiefs for Change.
An operative arm of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, Chiefs for Change is ” a coalition of state school chiefs and leaders that share a zeal for education reform. Together, they provide a strong voice for bold reform on the federal, state and local level.”
They’ve got the state level part down – sort of. There’s only ten of them. They’ve got the federal part down, too. Eight of them, curiously without Robinson’s nod when he was Virginia’s lead administrator, signed on in favor of keeping NCLB standards in place.
The Chief’s – and by association, Jeb Bush don’t have street cred with local school interests as their supportive statement of NCLB was in opposition to national organizations that represent school boards and school administrators. Here’s is my post which detailed Chief’s position and speculations on their motivations.
Robinson’s signature on the position statement notwithstanding, Scott and Bush got a like-mined traveler who shares their”zeal” for testing-vouchers-charter school reform. No Child Left Behind remains their holy writ.
The Robinson hiring furthermore demonstrates that Jeb Bush – who left the governor’s mansion in 2007 – retains his stranglehold on Florida’s education system. His cabal of state level administrators is further evidence that his influence is far-reaching.
Often mentioned as a presidential candidate, Bush enjoys tremendous popularity among conservatives and republicans. His heavy hand in the nation’s educational apparatus has largely gone unnoticed with supporters seeing reform through the filter of partisan politics. Bush is taking on the unions afterall.
Bush’s dreams for Florida’s education system are being realized under Rick Scott. More testing. More vouchers. More charter schools. More control over teachers. An unfriendly media has not yet attributed Scott’s current unpopularity to his education reform measures, and Bush hasn’t minded operating behind the scenes. FCAT is already tremendously unpopular among voters, and SB736’s double-down on testing won’t take effect until 2014.
Bush’s vision of reform is either-or. Either Floridians will remember him fondly for fixing the state’s schools or they will curse him for establishing a bunch of test-taking factories.