This week’s report that the Jacksonville Public Education Fund is proposing a new school grade formula marks the second time the think tank founded and financed by chairman of Florida’s board of education, Gary Chartrand, has flexed it’s muscles. In June, JPEF’s top policy wonk, Jason Rose was on Tony Bennett’s cozy little “task force” that Chartrand ordered to ironically look into changing the formula. At the time Chartrand said, “it may be late, but it’s not too late. From Scathing Purple Musings:
Along with five hand-picked district superintendents, the task force includes education commissioner Tony Bennett FDOE Deputy Chief of Staff Will Krebs, Education Coordinator, Governor’s Office Kim McDougal, Director, Data and Policy, Jacksonville Public Education Fund Jason Rose and FDOE Chief of Staff Dale Chu.
While it’s clear the task force could be dominated by Bennett – he brought Krebs and Chu with him from Indiana – it’s shocking to see no policy wonks from either Bush foundation. Over the past decade no quorum of this level didn’t include top Bush advisor Patricia Levesque. No one would have dared not.
There is one non-governmental representative in Jason Rose from Gary Chartrand’s Jacksonville Public Education Fund. Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education has several policy wonks. Is this some sort of changing of the guard or a snub? Has Levesque become a lightening rod?
One month later, Tony Bennett and one other member of the task force, Dale Chu, resigned for changing the grade of the Indiana charter school belonging to a contributor to Bennett’s campaign.
While Chartrand, who is in deep with Jacksonville’s KIPP school, is emerging as a major player in Florida education policy-making, he now has an irreconcilable conflict of interest. A member of a state board of education – let alone its chair – cannot be a major player in a think-tank that writes policy they rule on.
Floridians find themselves faced with this reality on Chartrand: He’s associated with a for-profit charter school and has a think-tank which writes policy that a state board he presides over rules upon.