Ignoring Moms in the Room, Bush Foundation Blames Unions for Watchdog Report


In response to last week’s release of In the Public Interests report based on emails obtained through an FOIA request, Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education didn’t shoot the messenger. They too aim at a union strawman who wasn’t there. Mary Ellen Klas has the foundation’s statement in the Tampa Bay Times:

Jaryn Emhof, spokeswoman for the foundation sent the Herald/Times the following response:

“It certainly is not surprising that In the Public Interest, a union-backed organization, opposes school choice and the expansion of digital education.

“And, it is hardly a secret that the Foundation for Excellence in Education (Excel in Ed) is committed to school choice and openly offers its expertise to legislators and policy makers interested in improving their education systems. It’s on our website.

“The majority of Excel in Ed’s operational expenses, including salaries, are funded by private foundations, non-profits and philanthropies which do not sell to the K-12 market. We do accept sponsorships from corporations to help fund our annual Excellence in Action National Summit on Education Reform, in the same manner that unions and other organizations accept the same kind of sponsorships from companies.

“The notion that Gov. Jeb Bush, who has spent the past 20 years as a passionate advocate for education reform, is profiting from this involvement is beyond ridiculous. He has devoted thousands of hours to this cause without compensation.

“We believe families, particularly low-income families, are best served when they can choose the best schools for their children. We believe digital technology will revolutionize education, something already taking place at the university level.

“Students have achieved remarkable success as a result of these education reforms. And, we take great pride in that.”

Does the union angle stick?  Perhaps not. In the Public Interest is a subsidiary of Partnership for Working Families. The list of sponsors on Partnerships website includes leftward leaning groups but no union entities. In the Public Interest describes it’s mission this way:

In the Public Interest is a comprehensive resource center on privatization and responsible contracting.  It is committed to equipping citizens, public officials, advocacy groups, and researchers with the information, ideas, and other resources they need to ensure that public contracts with private entities are transparent, fair, well-managed, and effectively monitored, and that those contracts meet the long-term needs of communities

The report was based on emails which were  obtained through an FOIA request between the Bush Foundation and public employees of several states. Concerns about the Bush Foundations political activities being done on behalf of their donors can no longer be brushed aside as innuendo. The emails are smoking guns.

While I have not yet read any emails from other states, I’ve been though those involving FEE’s contact with FLDOE staff. I’ve yet to find anything written by Public Interests which accuses Bush of personally profiting. For the Bush Foundation to make this claim about the report is a clear attempt at spinning what’s found in the emails.

There were four mothers of public school children taking part in the phone conference when the report was released this week. The Bush Foundation doesn’t want the public to know that real parents are opposed to their agenda and always play the union card when  backed into a corner. And if they really didn’t believe there was an appearance problem with their donors, they wouldn’t have taken the list down from their website last year. Unlike the watchdog group they falsely disparaged.

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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4 Responses to Ignoring Moms in the Room, Bush Foundation Blames Unions for Watchdog Report

  1. Tom James says:

    Poor Jebby has the “conspiracy complex”! Everything that happens in public education is because of those bad old unions and bad old union teachers.
    Now that Jebby’s been exposed as a fake and a fraud he has his sychophant do the talking for him as if he’s above the fray.
    Jebby will be working fevorishly this year as he sees his empire crumbling but we will be working more fevorishly defeating his corrupt privatizing agenda. We will NOT be denied!

  2. Diane Kepus says:

    Always go for whomever you can dump on when you are backed into a corner! I have read and saved every one of those e-mails and looked up the original news articles. How he can even begin to imply they are the results of the Union being involved is Kids play. Even if the Unions are behind In the Public Interest no one ever said everything about the Unions is bad or wrong but we certainly are seeing that Jebby, brothers and father have a knack for keeping their noises in dirt holes.

  3. I’m still chuckling at Patricia Levesque talking about online ed “revolutionizing” education and that we’re already seeing that at the college level. What BS! All teachers (and an awful lot of non-teachers) know that the only thing online ed is “revolutionizing” is cheating. I cannot tell you how many firsthand stories I know of cheating in online classes that has never been caught…because, depending on how the course is set up, it can be almost impossible to catch, since the “student” (whoever that may be) is an anonymous person sitting behind a computer. Personally, if I were in a position where I had to hire people for a position that required a college degree, I would never hire someone who had a diploma from an online university like University of Phoenix. Never. Nor anyone who had done the majority of his/her classes online. Why? Because you learn little (even if you are really doing all the coursework yourself) since it is essentially reading and answering questions, so in essence you’re doing no more than anyone could do on their own with their own resources like a library; and even more importantly, because there is absolutely NO PROOF that the student did the work for the courses in question. Enough cheating happens in a face-to-face environment; when the obstacles there are in that setting are erased, like in an online setting they are, it’s a free-for-all. And it happens every day. I personally know of 2 different adults who completed ALL the coursework for online courses…for other people. One was paid to do it, one was not. When I taught high school, it was well-known that kids paid each other to take online tests for each other. So the idea that this is somehow a “revolution” in education is a sick joke. It is only revolutionary for the corporate interests profiting heavily off it.

  4. Kenny Blankenship says:

    Ha, ha, ha… sounds like my daughter when she trying to deflect attention onto my son gets called on the carpet!

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