Florida’s mainstream media have been poking around the embers of the relationship between Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education and it’s corporate sponsors. Orlando Sentinel reporter Leslie Postal reports that a government watchdog group will releasing emails which “paint a graphic picture of corporate money distorting democracy.”
The group In the Public Interest plans to detail tomorrow how former Gov. Jeb Bush’s influential educational foundation is “writing state education laws and regulations in ways that could benefit its corporate funders.”
The group is to detail its findings to reporters Wednesday, with two Orlando mothers from the group Fund Education Now taking part in the press call. A Louisiana parent from the national group Parents Across America is to speak as well.
In the Public Interest says emails from Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education show “staff acted to promote their corporate funders’ priorities, and demonstrate the dangerous role that corporate money plays in shaping our education policy.”
It says emails from Florida, New Mexico, Maine, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Louisiana “paint a graphic picture of corporate money distorting democracy.”
The foundation is one of two Bush started and has been influential nationally in pushing the reform agenda he implemented here while serving two terms as Florida’s governor.
A story colleague Kathleen Haughney wrote back in June detailed Bush’s influence on Florida education policy, even though he has long been out of office. Although in the story, Patricia Levesque, the foundation’s head, said the perception of the foundation’s influence is “greater than the reality.”
The Foundation for Excellence in Education’s website was down for a time earlier this week. It took down the page which listed it’s corporate donors sometime last year after places like Scathing Purple Musings began reporting on them. The Foundation’s CEO, Patricia Levesque wrote earlier this month that “90 percent of the Foundation’s budget comes from family foundations or philanthropic organizations dedicated to improving students’ educational success.” Among the remaining 10 percent Levesque is referring to are corporations that do business in Florida which include K12 Inc, Charter Schools USA, Pearson, McGraw-Hill Education and publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt