Last month’s blurb in the Tampa Bay Times that wealthy ed privatization advocate John Kirtley was hosting a fundraiser for Jeb Bush to support his Foundation for Florida’s Future during the RNC caught the eye of Bush’s critics. Especially when it was revealed that two members of the Florida Board of Education – Kathleen Shanahan and Akshay Desai would be co-hosting the event. Whether of not the presence of the board members is ethical has yet to asked by the Florida media, but Bush and Kirtley are continuing their pattern of going after wealthy donors to fund their agenda. The invitation card seeks donations of $5000, $10000, and $15000.
So what’s Bush war chest for? A fundraising letter he sent out one week ago was done on behalf of Parent Trigger, the cynically named Parent Empowerment Act. Opponents understand that its a ploy designed to be a back channel way to turn public schools over to a for-profit charter school operator. At any rate, Bush turned down his cash expectations a bit and set a ceiling at $5000. He probably hopes the petition request that’s part of his mailer does better than the one on his website.
I’m not sure how long the petition to support the Parent Empowerment Act has been on the Foundation’s site. But it hasn’t gotten a lot of traffic. Just two days ago on Saturday, the petition had 71 signatures and it remains unchanged this morning. It sports only 4 Facebook likes and has yet to be shared on Twitter. Hardly a ground swell of support. More like a drip off a desert plant.
Creating the illusion of wide-spread support continues to be at the top of the playbook for the privatization crowd masquerading as benevolent education reformers. Is Bush’s foundation a paper tiger that exists to maintain the illusion