Has Jeb Bush’s Foundation Created a Faux Parents Group to Support Parent Trigger?

Scathing Purple Musings discovered last August that Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future (FFF) had created a petition to support its efforts to pass Parent Trigger. Not many had signed the petition and many of the one’s who did were employees of one of Bush’s two foundations. At the time of the post, top Bush advisor Patricia Levesque even signed the petition twice. Shortly after the August post was published, Levesque’s June 12 signature disappeared.

At any rate, the petition is back. Only this time with new packaging. Sunshine Parents has this mini-documentary film  that was sent to legislators during the past week and includes  this note:

We want to be sure our sons and daughters are getting the very best educational opportunities, regardless of circumstances. The voices of all families should be heard in decisions about how to improve schools and where and what type of school our children attend. Senate Bill 862 and House Bill 867 give us actual political power to transform our child’s low performing school.

The Sunshine Parents are saying that it is time that politicians listen to us. We are saying:

We must insist on high quality teachers.

Parents are the best advocates for their children.

Parent Empowerment transforms communities.

Parent Empowerment allows parents to dream.

Parents deserve a voice at the table.

The PTA does not speak for ALL parents.

After watching the video, there are many ways you can support Parent Empowerment legislation in Florida.

1. Call you State Senator and tell them to support and VOTE YES on Senate Bill 867 because it gives parents real political power. Click here to find your State Senator.

2. Call Governor Rick Scott’s office and tell him to sign the bill once it has passed the Legislature. Call him at (850) 488-7146

3. Add your name to the thousands of parents that support Parent Empowerment legislation in Florida. Click here to sign.

4. Share the video link with family, friends, other parents, and people in your organization and encourage them to contact their Senator and the Governor.

Will you join us?

The Sunshine Parents


The mothers in The Sunshine Parents in the video make no mention of Parent Trigger or reference any piece of legislation. But they do make sure to bash the PTA as a “social club” and only exist to “bake cookies.” (House sponsor Carlos Trujillo uttered the same thing during testimony).  For the most part the they seem to be concerned and involved mothers who are sharing their vision of what an ideal community school should be like. The mothers make no reference to the petition either. That’s in the email, and it’s the same one which FFF created last summer.

Here’s the link in the email. Here is where access to the same link is .on FFF’s web site.

Here’s some troubling contradictions.

* FFF says that 488 people have signed the petition while only 116 are in the actual petition they link.

* At least nine of the 116 signatures belong to employees of one of Bush’s foundations.

* Former StudentsFirst representative and current Step Up for Students operative Catherine Durkin Robinson’s name appears twice.

* Fourteen of the 116 signatures come from someone listed as Anonymous.

* Only 17 “Likes” appear on its Facebook page that’s existed for one month.

* A few signatures come from parents of special needs kids. One actually includes a expletive-filled rant about testing.

* Since the origination date of The Sunshine Parents FB page, only 26 signatures have been added.

Senator Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) made the observation yesterday that the only people who want Parent Trigger are the republicans in the legislature. She didn’t know at the time just how right she might be. If FFF, the major sponsor of Parent Trigger, can only generate a few signatures on its website and are reduced to creating shadow groups, Parent Trigger’s support is narrow indeed.

And what of the numbers proponents claim that support Parent Trigger?  FFF claims 488, but has only 116 in its petition. Trujillo claimed that he has 800 signatures of support, while Senate sponsor Kelli Stargel claimed to have 1400 yesterday. Perhaps these exist as letters or emails of support. If this is the case, they are obliged to reveal the numbers of those who oppose their bill.

Show us the signatures. .

Or is this a dress rehearsal for a Parent Trigger petition effort in Florida where people can sign twice, sign anonymously or get paid to sign?


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 Has Jeb Bush’s Foundation Created a Faux Parents Group to Support Parent Trigger?

  1. Looks more like Neaux parents’ group. Or tres, tres petit. I wouldn’t call it “faux,” just bought and paid for. I maintain that the PTA is the most democratic institution on the face of the earth. Anyone can get involved, but it takes leadership, dedication, and a willingness to work collaboratively with others. But, unlike leadership in the Bush groups, PTA leadership doesn’t entail pecuniary reward.

  2. tom james says:

    Bob: you should forward this to the key legislators. I would recommend sending it to some moderate Senate Republicans who can help us put a fork in this thing for the second year in a row.
    I already saw where Latvala and Gardiner were going to vote against it if the bill isn’t stripped of Benquisto’s amendment to allow the state board to decide what method will be utilized for failing schools who have turnaround options.

  3. Pingback: 13634rhonecircle.com | Tallahassee Roundup: Week 8

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