Did Don Gaetz Get the OK From Jeb Bush to Slow Accountability Reforms?


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.

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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3 Responses to Did Don Gaetz Get the OK From Jeb Bush to Slow Accountability Reforms?

  1. Terry says:

    Bob,
    Don’t forget that Jeb has been heavily pressured by many of his reform buddies and others to totally dump the Common Core. I would think he would be open to delaying it.

  2. Diane Kepus says:

    Implode it must! Looking at the big picture I see Bush has a greater concern right now and that is for Rubio to win the Presidency and if 3/4 of the country are angry at Bush and his Pushy “right hand COS” Levesque, he might want to slow down his whole process allowing people to take a deep breath which would in turn hopefully “make them forget” what THIS Bush has been up to and all the fraud connected with it – because fraud there is.

    In my opinion, the Charter School Scam if anyone was ever brave enough to open the whole “Octopus and his Tentacles”, would be larger than Agenda 21 ever thought about being. I believe there are far more behind the scenes involved in this mess and it goes right to the capital and the governor’s office through Enterprise Florida.

    Just how is the governor sitting as the Chairman of the Board of Enterprise Florida while the state is giving a large chunk of taxpayer money each year to the same?

    Was it not a contrived action for the governor to make his first official act to re-establish the office of Commissioner of Commerce, put the office 2 doors from his and THEN make him the President & CEO of Enterprise Florida? (Swoope)

    I don’ care if they receive any money from Enterprise Florida or not at this point – but I see a direct conflict of interest especially when they bring in $30M with another promised $60M from the COMMUNIST CHINESE to funnel into our Charter school system (and you can bet it is NOT to teach our children Mandarin Chinese) and at the same time claim “confidentiality in regard to the transaction and who is really behind it when inquiries are made.

    The Florida Constitution clearly states Charter schools are “PUBLIC” schools and as such are covered under the Sunshine Laws and FOI Act..

    Is the ultimate goal for our governor to earn the title of the “JOBS” governor or is there something more sinister going on behind the scenes?

    Florida should be asking those questions and so should the same press that hides all of Obummer’s dealings. Wake up Florida – you are being trampled on by Tally!

  3. tom james says:

    poor Jebster doing triage in Tally. Jebby’s message to Gaetz is “pretend everything is going according to plan and I will continue to be the man behind the curtain. Now go reassure everyone everything will be ok as I have my privatization friends whose profits are about to dry up”.

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