Archives for category: Bush, Jeb

Edd Doerr is the president of Americans for Religious Liberty and a strong proponent of separation of church and state. In this paper, he gives a brief overview of the history of this infra, explains why vouchers are a very bad idea, and reviews the 27 state referenda on vouchers or variant on public funds for religious schools.

 

Since his paper was written in 2012, a proposal to amend the Florida state constitution to permit vouchers (called the Religious Freedom Amendment) was defeated in 2012 by 55-45%, despite a vigorous campaign by Jeb Bush and Michelle Rhee on its behalf, and despite the deceptive tactic of asking voters whether they support “religious freedom.” This past election, voters in Oklahoma rejected a constitutional amendment that would “have stripped the provision in the state constitution that prevents public money or property from being used to support religion and religious institutions.”

 

Wherever vouchers exist, they have been authorized by state legislatures, never by voters. State legislatures are influenced by political contributions and are easier to manipulate than voters, as Dick and Betsy DeVos learned when their own state voucher proposal in Michigan went down to defeat in 2000.

 

In Doerr’s paper, he shows how voucher advocates ignore the Founding Fathers’ conviction about religious liberty. He cites Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia legislation called “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom.”*

 

Doerr quotes a section of the bill:

 

This Act ended legal compulsion to attend church services and barred tax support for religious institutions. It provide that “no man . . . shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or beliefs, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.”

 

Doerr goes on to write:

 

While the Constitution drafted in 1787 did not grant the federal government power to deal with religion in any way, it proscribed religious tests for public office, and provided for an affirmation instead of an oath of office. The absence of a specific religious freedom guarantee bothered Jefferson and others. Six states ratified the Constitution but insisted on a religious freedom amendment. Rhode Island and North Carolina declined to ratify it until a bill of rights was adopted. Shortly after his election to the House of Representatives Madison introduced a compilation of proposals for a bill of rights to be added. Several versions of a religious liberty provision were considered before the following wording of what is now the First Amendment was adopted: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

 

President Jefferson, in a carefully thought-out 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, declared that these words built a “wall of separation between church and state.” Supporters of church-state separation hold that the “no establishment” clause was noted by the Supreme Court as early as 1878, but was best and most succinctly interpreted by the Supreme Court in the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education ruling. The Court stated:

 

“The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and state’.”

 

So bear in mind as Trump and DeVos and others promote vouchers that would divert money from public schools to religious schools, they are at war not only with voters but with the Founding Fathers.

 

*Doerr cites the wrong date for passage of the bill in Virginia, which was 1779, not 1786.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please watch the 10-second video at the end of this post. You will love it!

Emily Talmadge, a teacher-blogger in Maine, used to worry about the dangers inherent in a Clinton administration. Now she warns that the threat of competency based education–delivered online, all the time, profiting a few, bad for humans–will thrive in a Trump Administration.

“The real agenda – the ongoing march toward a cradle-to-grave system of human capital development that relies on the most sophisticated data collection and tracking technologies to serve its unthinkably profitable end – is fueled and directed by a multi-billion dollar education-industrial-complex that has been built over the course of decades.

“It’s an absolute beast, an army of epic scale, and it’s a system that has the same uncanny ability to blend in with its surroundings as a chameleon.

“Take, for example, the new “innovative assessment systems” that are being thrust on us every which way in the wake of ESSA. Under the banner of free market ideology, the far-right American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is promoting the very same assessment policies that far-left groups like the national unions and the National Center for Fair and Open Testing are now pushing. And though some claim that one ideology is merely “co-opting” the ideas of the other, the reality is that they lead to the same data-mining, cradle-to-career tracking end.

“Consider, too, the massive push for blended, competency-based, and digital learning – all unproven methods of educating children, but highly favored by ed-tech providers and data-miners.

“Most of these corporate-backed policies were cooked up in Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, and then made their way not only to the far-right ALEC, but also to left-leaning groups like the Center for Collaborative Education, the Coalition for Essential Schools, and the Great Schools Partnership. Depending on what sort of population each group is targeting, these wolves will dress themselves up in sheep’s clothing and make appeals to different values. For the right, they will package their policies in the language of the free market and choice; for the left, they will wrap them in a blanket of social-justice terminology.

“Pull back the curtain far enough, however, and you will see they are selling the same thing.”

Emily lives in Maine, whose Tea Party Governor Paul LePage was one of the first to jump on the Jeb Bush “Digital Learning Now!” bandwagon.

It was exposed in a wonderful, prize-winning “follow the money” investigative report.

Jeb Bush has been advocating everything related to corporate reform for many years. As Governor of Florida, he imposed high-stakes testing, charters, simplistic accountability measures, letter grades for schools, and did whatever he could dream up to promote competition and choice. He tried to get vouchers, but was only able to get vouchers for special education (a program once described in a prize-winning article as a “cottage industry for graft”). He sought a constitutional amendment to make vouchers possible, and Michelle Rhee joined him to promote vouchers. But in 2012, voters said no by 58-42.

This fall, this hater of public schools will teach at the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance, which is supervised by voucher advocate Paul Peyerson. Students will no doubt learn that public schools must be replaced by a free market. They will learn that choice will create Mira Les. They will learn that families should schools just as they choose milk in the grocery store: whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, chocolate milk, buttermilk. No one will tell Jeb about Sweden and Chile.

Saddest of all is that he is giving the annual Godkin Lecture, an honor once reserved for distinguished scholars.

As the evidence piles up that choice is no panacea, do you think he will apologize for the schools and communities he has disrupted?

Valerie Strauss found many ironies in Donald Trump’s decision about where to give his big education policy speech.

To begin with, he parroted Jeb Bush’s line about public schools as a government monopoly. He mocked him in the debates, now he steals his lines.

Next, he made his speech in Ohio, which has been celebrated for the public exposure of numerous charter school scandals. The biggest charter operators have the worst schools and donate the most money to Republican politicians.

And amazingly, he chose a for-profit charter as his venue, which recently was given an F by the state for poor student growth.

Another irony: the absurd idea of rating schools with a humiliating letter grade was devised by none other than “low energy” Jeb Bush, who has not endorsed Trump.

The Foundation for Excellence in Education announced the return of its founder, ready to fight for privatization, high-stakes testing, and the end of the teaching profession.

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 24, 2016 Contact: Press Office
850-391-4090
PressShop@excelined.org

 

JEB BUSH TO SERVE AS CHAIRMAN OF THE FOUNDATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION

 

 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today announced the election of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as Chairman and President of its Board of Directors. Governor Bush replaces Dr. Condoleezza Rice, who has served as Chair since January 2015 and remains a member of the Board of Directors.

 

 

“One of the greatest challenges and opportunities we have in America today is to create a 21st century education system that ensures all students have the skills, teachers and educational options they need to succeed in life,” said Governor Bush. “Too many children right now are failed by a deeply flawed bureaucratic system, but I’m optimistic about the future because I’ve seen the great results produced by states across the country. It is an honor to rejoin ExcelinEd as we continue to support states in bringing choice, innovation and accountability to the classroom. I am thankful to Dr. Rice and this exceptional board for their leadership over the past year.”

 

 

Since 2008, ExcelinEd has worked in 48 states across the country to champion state-driven, proven transformational education reform policies that lead to rising student achievement. Because of these reforms and hard work by state leaders and educators, students have achieved remarkable academic success. Last year, as a result of active engagement by ExcelinEd and ExcelinEd in Action, 43 education laws were adopted in 15 states to improve or enact new reform policies.

 

 

Governor Bush also has been elected to the Board of Directors of Excellence in Education in Action (ExcelinEd in Action). The sister 501(c)(4) organization to the Foundation for Excellence in Education, ExcelinEd in Action helps advance legislation at the state level to improve the quality of education for every child. Governor Bush launched ExcelinEd in Action in 2014 and will serve as the organization’s Chairman and President.

 

 

*****

 

 

BIOGRAPHY: Governor Jeb Bush

 

 

Jeb Bush was elected the 43rd governor of the state of Florida on November 3, 1998, and was re-elected by a wide margin in 2002. His second term as governor ended in January 2007.

 

 

Jeb earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and moved to Florida in 1981. With partner Armando Codina, he started a small real estate development company, which grew to become the largest, full-service commercial real estate company in South Florida.

 

 

Jeb served as Florida’s Secretary of Commerce under Bob Martinez, Florida’s 40th governor. As Secretary of Commerce, he promoted Florida’s business climate worldwide. Following an unsuccessful bid for governor in 1994, Jeb founded the nonprofit Foundation for Florida’s Future, which joined forces with the Urban League of Greater Miami to establish one of the state’s first charter schools. He also co-authored Profiles in Character, a book profiling 14 of Florida’s civic heroes–people making a difference without claiming a single news headline.

 

 

After his election in 1998, Governor Bush focused on reforming education. Florida students have made the greatest gains in achievement, and Florida is one of a handful of states that have narrowed the achievement gap. In addition, he cut taxes every year during his tenure as governor, and Florida led the nation in job growth seven out of eight years. Governor Bush put Florida on the forefront of consumer healthcare advances by signing Medicaid reform legislation “Empowered Care” in June 2006.

 

 

Before launching a run for the Republican presidential nomination in June of 2015, Governor Bush led his own successful consulting business, Jeb Bush and Associates, whose clients ranged from small technology start-ups to well-known Fortune 500 companies. He also served as the chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education; co-chairman of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy; and chair of the National Constitution Center.

 

 

He is the co-author of Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution (2013) and author of Reply All (2015).

 

 

Governor Bush is the son of former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. He lives in Miami with his wife, Columba. They have three children and four grandchildren.

 

 

For more on the ExcelinEd Board of Directors, visit: http://www.ExcelinEd.org/board-corner/board-of-directors/. For more on ExcelinEd in Action, visit http://www.ExcelinEdInAction.org.

 

 

###
The Foundation for Excellence in Education is igniting a movement of reform, state by state, to transform education for the 21st century economy by working with lawmakers, policymakers, educators and parents to advance education reform across America. Learn more at ExcelinEd.org.
 

CONTACT US
P.O. Box 10691
Tallahassee, Florida
32302-2691
850.391.4090
info@excelined.org

Copyright © 2015
Foundation For Excellence in Education

Mercedes Schneider is a close Jeb! watcher. She recognized that he was the godfather of many of today’s most damaging corporate reforms. He linked arms with Michelle Rhee to push for vouchers in Florida (but the voters turned him down). He begat the idea that schools should be given a single letter grade, based mainly on standardized test scores. He has been an enthusiastic cheerleader for school choice of all kinds, especially charter schools and for-profit charters. He cheered the Common Core standards more than anyone. He created an alliance between ALEC and his own organization, the so-called Foundation for Educational Excellence.

 

He started his presidential campaign with more money than anyone else. But voters didn’t want another Bush. They wanted a reality TV star.

 

We can hope that the dimming of his presidential prospects also dims the luster of his faux education reforms, which were always about privatization and profit, not students or education.

Governor Paul LePage is a Tea Party guy who has twice been elected governor of Maine. He prevailed each time in a three-way split.

As Peter Greene notes, Governor LePage is known for his bizarre statements. Among other things, he refused to attend an event honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

One of his first acts as governor was to refuse to attend a Martin Luther King Day breakfast and, when called on it, to tell the NAACP to kiss his butt. He also undid decades of environmental reguations, and took down a mural of labor history in the capitol, comparing it to North Korean brainswashing. He sabotaged a $120 million wind power plan.

He has gone through six education commissioners in three years. The last nominee might have had some trouble getting approved by the State Senate because he is a creationist.

Governor LePage is a strong supporter of charter schools, choice, digital learning, and competency based education (nonstop assessment by computers). He views public schools with contempt.

Early on in his first term, he embraced Jeb Bush’s digital learning plan and set about implementing it. One of the best exposes of our time was written by Colin Woodard about “The Profit Motive behind Virtual Schools in Maine.” That’s when many people recognized that the tech companies were giving money to Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Educational Excellence, and FEE was promoting the tech companies’ products. And it was all about profit.

Greene thinks that Governor LePage may crown himself King of Maine. One hopes that he will have only one opponent in the next election. He is an embarrassment to the state of Maine.

The Foundation for Education Excellence, the organization founded by Jeb Bush to turn education into an industry, is holding a boot camp to teach newcomers how to shape their message of privatization and call it “reform.”
The teachers are not educators–who cares what they think?–but PR specialists who know the tricks of their trade: how to sell ice to Eskimos, how to sell a defective used car to unwary buyers, how to persuade people that the moon is made of cheddar cheese. 

Politico.com reports that the Council of Chief State School Officers is partnering with Chiefs for Change, the group created by Jeb Bush to promote school choice, digital learning, and high-stakes testing, as well as Achieve, one of the groups that created the Common Core standards, to help states make the transition to ESSA. I can’t confirm which state superintendents belong to Chiefs for Change because its website is down.

 

Mercedes Schneider wrote that the Gates Foundation recently gave $15.4 million to CCSSO, so you can see where this “assistance” is going.

 

 

FIRST LOOK: GROUPS TO HELP WITH ESSA TRANSITION: The Council of Chief State School Officers is partnering up with a number of groups in a new initiative this year to help states transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act. The group is teaming up with Chiefs for Change, Achieve and Ed Counsel to help states design new accountability systems, for example. A working group of state chiefs and district leaders will do a deep dive into the accountability design process, looking at “their vision for school improvement in their state, the systems they need to achieve that and the strategies they need to do it,” Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee told Morning Education. Former Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman has also been tapped as a consultant for the new initiative. CCSSO said the groups hope to provide sample accountability models and best practices for states. And they’ll be holding meetings and conference calls with states in the coming months to provide guidance and feedback as states develop new accountability frameworks.

 

 

– CCSSO will also work with states in its Innovation Lab Network [http://bit.ly/1m4RI8C ] – like California, Kentucky and New Hampshire – to share ideas and best practices to help states that may be looking to participate in new innovative assessment pilots under ESSA. And CCSSO hopes to work with states as they refine – and possibly look to change – teacher evaluation systems under the new law.

Jeb Bush hasn’t made much headway in the polls but he is hanging in there, the favorite of the GOP establishment and the best-funded.

 

He recently announced his plan for reforming American education, and it is a paean to school choice. He just doesn’t like public education, period.

 

Peter Greene has performed a public service for us by reviewing Jeb’s proposals. He does so in part 1 and part 2.

 

i will give you some pithy excerpts and encourage you to read the whole thing by yourself.

 

This is from part 1:

 

“For all the conservative love for choice and freedom, it never seems to include the choice and freedom to do things that conservatives believe are Very Wrong, or to say, “We will pick our own choices to choose from, thanks.” That’s in part because the very idea of school choice is fundamentally flawed.

 

“First, nobody wants choice. Rich kids don’t have an advantage because they have choice– they have an advantage because they have access to an excellent education. People want a good school. That’s it. If someone gets a restaurant meal that is undercooked and cold, they don’t say, “Bring me a dozen mediocre meals to chose from.” They want what they want, done right.

 

“Second, choice is not “budget neutral.” When facing a tight budget, no school district says, “No need to shut down any buildings. It wouldn’t save us any money.” You can’t operate several sets of schools (with several sets of administrators) for the cost of one. Anybody who tries to set up a choice system without a plan to fully fund it is smoking something.

 

“Third, choice as currently conceived, disenfranchises a huge part of the electorate and cuts social responsibility out of the picture. If you don’t have a child, you don’t have a say in how tax dollars are spent. Choicer “it’s the family’s choice” rhetoric only goes so far– nobody is seriously suggesting that vouchers be literal vouchers that students can use to go to school, buy a car, or take a vacation in Europe. Choice never seems to include “I choose no school at all.” Choicers haven’t suggested doing away with compulsory education, but they can’t admit that it’s because the students have a level of responsibility to the country that’s paying for their education, because that would mean admitting that families are not the only stakeholders in education, which would conflict with the “the money belongs to the family” theory.

 

“But even if we get past those, we arrive again at the conservative conundrum– if you allow freedom and choice, you have to accept that people may choose things you don’t like, including NOT having a bunch of choices. Conservatives– and Bush is no exception here– keep calling for a system of imposed choice, which is a big screaming oxymoron.”

 

This is from part 2:

 

Bush wants more money for more charter schools, although he reminds us that money is not the answer.

 

Greene goes through the various proposals and here is the bottom line:

 

“Bush is being direct and clear– he would like to get rid of traditional public education. He thinks schools still work like they did two generations ago (there is no excuse for this belief). And he likes blended learning and competency based education, which means he is destined to meet the same people who hammered him over Common Core, only they’ll be carrying different signs.

 

“Also, remember– it’s important to give parents and students a choice, as long as they choose the choices that Bush chooses for them. Under Bush, you can have lots of choices– except for a traditional public school.”