How Jeb Bush’s Foundation Excuses Away the Atlanta Cheating Scandal

They used Rick Pitino’s contract:

Incentive and reward systems comprise the foundation of a well-functioning society. In most professions, there is some kind of financial motivation for good performance, as well as negative consequences for poor performance. While some instances of “cheating” may occur on a small scale, the reward/consequence system has generally worked well as a motivator.

For example, many athletes and athletic coaches have reward systems factored into their contracts. Coach Rick Pitino will receive a $425,000 bonus for leading Louisville to the NCAA National Championship game. There is also a “Performance-Based-Pay” program in the NFL where players can earn additional pay based on their performance during a season. For all (ten of) you NHL fans, there is an entire list of performance based bonus items that could be included in a player’s contract. It includes everything from goals scored, to league rankings, to winning the Stanley Cup. These sorts of incentives create a more fun, competitive sports atmosphere, while encouraging athletes to perform at their best.

For the justification of  Bush foundation policy analyst Alexis Franz to be found credible, Louisville’s head basketball coach, Rick Pitino, would have had to change the score somehow. But Franz, whose salary is paid for by the folks who make money off the tests the adults cheated on in Atlanta, says this:

There will always be those who cheat the system, take advantage of others’ hard work, or lie in order to gain something they think they deserve. While the situation in Atlanta is unfortunate, I don’t think it’s a reason to shy away from accountability systems entirely, or to paint a reward/consequence structure in a bad light.

Besides, if it’s good enough for Coach Pitino, it should be good enough for the rest of us too.


Pitino, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on the day Louisville won the national title, has never erased any scores. To use his contract – which was based on actual wins and not Pearson’s flimsy, benign percentages that had nothing to do with real success – is absurd.

Is this really how Jeb Bush feels when he speaks to legislatures across the nation to sell Pearson’s test-as-the-end-all system?

And they buy it?

A level of denial that’s never been witnessed before in a society with spoken language must be present for Bush’s Kool-Aid to be consumed. Now we’ve really got a willing suspension of disbelief.


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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2 Responses to How Jeb Bush’s Foundation Excuses Away the Atlanta Cheating Scandal

  1. Brochey says:

    My response is this. To become a pro ball player for any sport, much less a starter, you have already proven yourself to be better than approx 180,000 people doing the same thing. Pro leagues do not pick up lame players. So if someone who is already at the top of the pile is paid a little extra for pushing it to the limit, that is earned.

    Unfortunately the same does no apply to school systems.
    A) Not every child is a pro player and every child performs differently at different tasks.
    B) Not every child comes from a financial or social standing that will allow them to compete.
    C) Not every child falls under the normal banner, many of which are handicapped or emotionally challenged, stemming from abuse, drugs, poverty, and violence.
    D) Not all teachers are the same, Career teachers with advanced degrees and years in service should not be bundled into the same, 1 size fits all, bag as TFAs (Teach for America) who’s only concern is to finish their 2 year term and be on their way with their education paid for ( Who are also primarily in our lowest performing schools).
    E) Not all schools are the same and have the same economic or social advantages.

    Jeb and his cronies have made it a point for the last 30 years to destabilize public education and have planned and moved carefully one piece at a time to do so over that time span. There is a reason why the primary target for his programs are urban schools; Because no one pays attention to what is going on in the inner city. Teachers are fleeing low performing schools by the droves to not get their lively hoods caught up in the merit pay sham because they know inner city schools are always going to perform lower. So the good teacher leave and are replaced by TFAs who cycle in and out of the system before achieving any stability in the class room. Inner city schools are also subject to ETO (Educational Transformation Office) which makes the average work way for a teacher 5 times more difficult.

    Then there are the Charter Schools looking to make a quick dollar off of the disparity of the parents in the inner city who lie and trick parents into sending kids to their schools. Then the parents pay the charters tuition with state vouchers (Taxpayer dollars) they keep the kids in the school until FTE money is secured for the year (Taxpayer dollars) which happens usually in the end of November, and THEN they charters kick out the lowest performing students and send them back to their home public schools with no money right before FCAT. (FACT: Charter schools have performed up to 14% below the standards of public schools for the last 13 years over all. Through media manipulation of those with money and vested interests in the companies that own the charters, these numbers are spun to look like increases.)

    Now we face the worst threat to our system: The Parent Trigger Bill, which is nothing more than a way for house Republicans to give their stake holders (Charter Schools) a foot hold on public school property that was paid for by tax payer dollars. Let me reiterate: Charter schools will get free facilities, free tuition, and FTE all paid for by tax payer dollars. No over head equals no risk and straight profiteering with no accountability. Teachers paid even less than they are now, with no union and no protection from their corporate overseers.

    This is the future of your schools.

  2. Teacher111 says:

    The sports analogy is ludicrous. Coaches pick their players. Players aren’t entitled to a spot on the team, so they must perform in order to stay.

    Everyone is entitled to a public education.

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