StateImpact’s John O’Connor reported on the start of a new TV advertising campaign from one of Jeb Bush’s foundations to promote Common Core Standards:
The education foundation founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has launched a new web site and advertising campaign to support the Common Core math and language arts standards facing criticism in many states.
The web site features videos of teachers (they volunteered) answering common questions and explaining the standards, and interactive maps showing where the standards have been challenged. An ad began airing yesterday on television and cable and will run for 10 weeks, said Allison Aubuchon, a spokesman with the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which is sponsoring the campaign.
The advertising campaign in the Tampa Bay region targets local news and cable networks such as Animal Planet, HGTV and The Family Channel.
“It is important that all Floridians continue to learn about the countless academic gains our state has made and the direction we’re headed as we move to higher standards,” Aubuchon said in a statement. “The campaign and site provide resources and tools to make learning and sharing this information easier.”
The ad references a suit of policies pushed by Bush, including the use of statewide tests to measure student performance and grading schools, based in part, on those testacher results.
The teacher’s introduction of the website is limited to their support for Common Core Standards, but their messaging via Twitter involves the advancing talking points which support Bush’s record on education policy. One of those points has already been dispatched. Integrity in Education caught Bush’s new organization in a false claim about Florida’s state ranking.
There are few political pundits who don’t think that Jeb Bush is running for president in 2016. The four teachers have placed themselves – voluntarily, it seems – in a position where they are making political statements. It’s fair to shed some light on who they are.
Of the four teachers, only two are actually in the classroom; and only one works in a traditional public school setting.
The first, Faye Adams, appears to be a teacher at the charter school founded by Sen. John Legg’s (R-Lutz), Dayspring Academy. Legg and his wife still are listed as administrators on Dayspring’s website. John Legg is chairman of the Senate Education committee and also sits on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
The second teacher, Angela Anchors, teaches at a Charter Schools USA franchise in Duval County. The CEO of Charter Schools USA is Jonathan Hage who is a past financial sponsor of FEE. Hage remains close to Bush and donates heavily to Florida republican candidates.
The resume of the fourth teacher, Rian Meadows is the one most difficult to discern. While listed as a Government and Economics teacher for Florida Virtual School, a LinkedIn profile recognizes her as Teacher Ambassador with the Florida Department of Education. Another LinkedIn profile identifies her as an “Accounts Manager” for Florida Virtual and as Adjunct faculty at Florida State University. Meadows was interviewed in 2011 for an article to support online education.
I hope the four were fully aware of what they were signing up for as it’s clear FEE is using them to advance poltical talking points which support Bush’s image as a successful education reformer. Here are some of the teacher’s Tweets that go well beyond their statements of support for Common Core.
DID YOU KNOW: FL grad rates are up 25%. FL public schools are ranked top 10 in the US. (Anchors)
Grad rates are up 25% in FL. Florida Core will help students be college/career ready when they graduate! (Meadows)
Bet you didn’t know FL 4th graders scored the 2nd highest in the world on an international reading test. It’s true! RT to share! (Meadows)
Testing is a part of life. Let’s make sure our kids’ tests are asking the right questions (Smith)
Did you know: FL Hispanic students improve a grade level every year? FL has come a long way! (Adams)
It’s clear the four are advancing the same talking points, and only one, Adams, is making independent Tweets.
While State Impact indicates that the teachers volunteered, the path to their recruitment smells political. One teacher works at the same school which also employs the powerful chair of a senate education committee. Another works for one of many charter schools belonging to a well-connected political donor. A third has strong ties to the FLDOE and to the for-profit online education industry. Only one in four, is part of a traditional public school.
This current propaganda effort by one of Bush’s foundations looks to be as flawed as last year’s faux parent video to push parent trigger. Or the fake email list that Michelle Rhee delivered to Sen. Kelli Stargell (R-Lakeland). This may turn out to be the most catastrophic as it involves expensive TV ad buys that Bush’s corporate backers paid for.