CEO Patricia Levesque’s Misleading Defense of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education

Within her response to Mississippi parent advocate, Nancy Loome, Foundation for Excellence in Education CEO, Patricia Levesque included this:

Loome notes that we take funding from for-profit providers. In fact, more than 90 percent of the Foundation’s budget comes from family foundations or philanthropic organizations dedicated to improving students’ educational success.

We advocate for policies that benefit students, not the interests of one particular non-profit or private entity.

Levesque should know that this claim can no longer be verified. Less than a year ago, the foundation she runs took down their list of corporate donors which included for-profit charter school, Charter Schools USA.

Levesque says that the foundation is 90 percent financed by non-profit entities, so let’s take a look at the other 10 percent. Among those are  corporate sponsors  Microsoft, Target, Apple, Inc., and Intel. Especially noteworthy among Bush’s foundation donors are test publishing corporations Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Also included in the list is K12 Inc., a controversial online education company under investigation by the FLDOE. The publishing companies and K12 Inc. have lucrative contracts in Florida and benefit from the foundation’s advocacy.

A powerful and influential lobbyist, Levesque knows these things. She was likely to involved in the decision to take down the foundation’s list of donors. Her desire to characterize the foundation she runs as something it is not speaks volumes to their motivations.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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9 Responses to CEO Patricia Levesque’s Misleading Defense of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education

  1. Perhaps Ms. Levesque forgot these donors but I didn’t!!>

  2. Diane Kepus says:

    Does this woman ever just stay under her rock? She is a Jeb Bush hack who is making her personal fortune off of the backs of our children’s futures. To me she is the worst of the worst .We all know she has her won business making money off of this choice education scam. Most people have no idea that it is SHE is the one collaborating with these governors and state Commissioners of Education to get their “for-profit” deals in place. Her usual statement is, “Not to worry, I will take care of putting everything in place – you don’t have to do a thing”.

  3. Diane Kepus says:

    When announcing his competitiveness initiative in 2006, President George W. Bush observed that “the bedrock of America’s competitiveness is a well-educated and skilled workforce.” George Bush II (workforce – don’t you just love how free they are to use that these days?)

    The above link is not working – go to this one and read their B_ _ _:
    and this Harvard website is like a for profit education who’s who –
    Committee Chairman – Jeb Bush
    John Kirtley, Joel Klein, Cory Booker, Jerry Rappaport, OUR VERY OWN USED TO BE COMMISSIONER Gerard Robinson and many more

    How long does Florida have to work around this double standard of serving on all these controlling boards and having control over our legal legislation and policy! They should all be in jail!

    By the way – the Policy headline piece is written by Eric Smith!

    Try Harvard’s :

  4. tom james says:

    It’s very simple folks. If we get rid of Scott in 2014, we get rid of not only Scott, but Jeb and Levesque and Florida’s useless state board of education, Florida’s Board of Regents and ALL appointees to the state’s university board of trustees and community college board of trustees. And since we will control the Governor’s mansion, we can pick and choose as far as what corporate benefactors will no longer get lucrative contracts from the state. Now “let’s get too work” getting rid of Dick Scott!

  5. Diane Kepus says:

    I tend to agree with you but I hope your selections for replacements are not to be decided by party lines. We need to choose from true educators who would wish we go back to the decent form of education, respect, discipline and honor that our education system embraced in the 50’s and 60’s. The number of businesses currently set up to get rich from the education system is enough to make you sick.

    Florida within it’s borders has many qualified individuals who would put the children first and the politics last.

    One of our main goals as a state is to get the Commissioner of Educations office back to being elected so the allegiance of the office is to the taxpayers and not other politicians and that also holds true for the State School Board.

  6. Kate says:

    Care to research how much your state department of education and school districts on for profit “consultants”, who are largely former superintendents and school board employees? What about how much school districts spend on McGraw Hill textbooks?? I think it’s time you guys be fair.

    • Kate says:

      And just keep bashing corporations even though they pay a considerable share of the very tax dollars that fund public education. The also drive tourist traffic to our state so we can appreciate no income taxes. If all our schools, rather than three percent of them, were run by for-profit operators, think of all
      The corporate profits Obama and Florida could be taxing!!! I really don’t understand it.

  7. juliedelegal says:

    Puhleeze. Many corporations are diverting their tax dollars away from the public schools toward voucher schools, which lack apples-to-apples accountability with public schools. Their CEOs then get invited to celebrations for their “charity” (i.e., tax diversions) where they get to rub elbows with lawmakers, who give them their undivided attention.

    Meanwhile, I cannot begin to add up all the federal, state and property tax exemptions given for corporations that invest in charter schools, not to mention the lease payments. Florida has become a banana republic where money changers of all sorts are treated to a bonanza, all in the name of “improving” education, all connected in some manner to the Bush/Levesque machine.

    Making money off the taxpayers in the name of rescuing children would be one thing if this movement actually better served the children it was designed to rescue. It doesn’t. We need policies based on research–the rigorous, academic kind, not the bought-and-paid-for kind.

    • I totally agree with you. Julie. I see no real evidence that children or taxpayers are being well served by the current Jeb way of doing things. Luckily, the public is awakening, thanks to Bob Sikes and an army of public education parent and teacher advocates.

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