This is not a new article but it remains timely and worthy of your attention.
Jeb Bush runs an organization called the Foundation for Educational Excellence. Betsy DeVos was a member of his board. FEE receives corporate contributions. It works closely with ALEC, the rightwing corporate-sponsored organization that lobbies for charters, vouchers, and against teachers’ unions and tenure.
In the Public Interest was able to obtain a trove of emails that revealed the influence of FEE in several states, including Florida, New Mexico, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Rhode Island.
The e-mails are between the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) and a group Bush set up called Chiefs for Change, whose members are current and former state education commissioners who support Bush’s agenda of school reform, which includes school choice, online education, retention of third-graders who can’t read and school accountability systems based on standardized tests. That includes evaluating teachers based on student test scores and grading schools A-F based on test scores. John White of Louisiana is a current member, as is Tony Bennett, the new commissioner of Florida who got the job after Indiana voters rejected his Bush-style reforms last November and tossed him out of office.
Donald Cohen, chair of the nonprofit In the Public Interest, a resource center on privatization and responsible for contracting in the public sector, said the e-mails show how education companies that have been known to contribute to the foundation are using the organization “to move an education agenda that may or not be in our interests but are in theirs.”
He said companies ask the foundation to help state officials pass laws and regulations that make it easier to expand charter schools, require students to take online education courses, and do other things that could result in business and profits for them. The e-mails show, Cohen said, that Bush’s foundation would often do this with the help of Chiefs for Change and other affiliated groups.
from sarah http://ift.tt/2ppVoZ8