Stinging from the bad publicity his company got in the Pembroke Pines affair, Charter Schools USA CEO Jonathan Hage penned a column this morning in his home town newspaper, the Sun Sentinel. Of the affair he writes:
The reaction to the city’s invitation (for CSUSA’s bid) was mixed. While we saw and heard from many teachers and parents who supported our involvement, we also were disappointed to see a well-coordinated, knee-jerk backlash filled with political clichés, fear-mongering and untruths.
Ironically, a viable solution became the lever to make the parties compromise and keep the schools alive, at least for 2 more years. The bottom line: from the onset our interest has been to find a solution that positively impacts students and ensures that schools operate at a high-level. In order to do that here in South Florida and across the country, we need to keep every option on the table.
Hage doesn’t say what exactly it is he found to be “well-coordinated, knee-jerk backlash filled with political clichés, fear-mongering and untruths.” One must assume he’s referring to all opposition to CSUSA’s involvement as blanket innuendo. At any rate, it obviously didn’t keep him from patting himself on the back for being the instrument with prompted the deal.
Finishing with some real chutzpah, Hage writes:
We are hopeful that leaders are willing to put students above politics, money and unfounded fears. Our children deserve it.
Hage has donated over $200,000 to Florida republicans and education interests who help advance his business. He also contributed $15,000 to current Florida education commissioner Tony Bennett’s ill-fated Indiana campaign last year. Few education executives have so overtly made such investments in politics. For him to accuse and then condemn others for what he does makes the smarmiest of politicians blush.