So the most powerful lobbyist in Florida who strangely doesn’t have to register as one, made a trip to Tallahassee to talk education with legislators. This from Michael Van Stickler in the Miami Herald on Jeb Bush’s little visit:
Bush hasn’t visited the Capitol since 2010, so he was asked why he was meeting with lawmakers. Bush said as the head of the non-profit Foundation for Excellence in Education, he was there to “say hello to friends and advance the cause of rising student achievement.”
Gaetz met with Bush for more than 20 minutes – twice as long as he met with Weatherford – and discussed more education topics, Gaetz said after the meeting. Like he did after meeting with House Republicans, Bush left by exiting through a door where there were no reporters.
Gaetz said he and Bush first got to know each other in the early 1990s. Gaetz was considering a run for school board in Okaloosa County and his friend, Joe Scarborough, asked him to meet Bush.
“And so the three of us sat in this empty restaurant for about two hours while Jeb Bush gave me all these reasons to run for the school board,” Gaetz said. “We’ve been good friends ever since.”
During Thursday’s meeting, Gaetz told his good friend that a flurry of reforms (Common Core national standards, teacher evaluations tied to pay, end-of-course exams for the FCAT) were proving difficult to implement.
“We have a lot of reform that had kind of shot off like rockets,” Gaetz said. “All of that was coming down now from the sky, in the same place at the same time. And I shared with him my concern that the Department of Education had not done a good job in implementing those reforms.”
He said Bush, who helped push for much of that reform, wasn’t having it.
“He said, ‘Well, you need leadership,’” Gaetz said. “He turned and looked at me like, ‘Gaetz, do your job.”
What’s up with that?
Gaetz wouldn’t be throwing that around irresponsibly. He doesn’t make careless comments. Is Bush telling Gaetz to fix the FLDOE? He has Tony Bennett for that. It’s likeliest that Gaetz got the OK and is signaling to everybody that his desire to slow things down is going to happen.
Has Bush come to agree with Gaetz in that “the whole thing has a chance of imploding?” And he knows his legacy as an education savior is dependent on maintaining the myth that his Florida model is the model. If so, he needs Gaetz to pull his chestnuts out of the fire.