The state Board of Education selected Pam Stewart to be interim education commissioner Friday. Some in Florida are questioning this move because of Stewart’s close ties to the Foundation for Excellence in Education started by former Governor Jeb Bush.
Floridians Against Common Core Education (FACCE) is calling for Commissioner Stewart and any members of the Florida State School Board to remove themselves from “Reformers” positions within the Foundation for Excellence in Education under the leadership of Jeb Bush. FACCE states, “Florida needs to remove itself from any question of ethics problems and this is the best place to start.”
Bush’s foundation partners with reformers nation wide to “see student-centered reforms adopted and implemented in their states.” The Bush foundation website has an interactive map listing all the Bush “reformers”. Stewart is a “Bush reformer“.
Jeff Solochek from the Tampa Bay Times reported, “In the Public Interest — an offshoot of the labor advocacy group Partnership for Working Families — issued a press release Wednesday [January 30, 2013] stating that Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education has influenced laws and policies in several states, often in a way that might benefit some of the companies that underwrite its existence.”
Michelle Malkin weighed in on the firing of Tony Bennett and Jeb Bush’s influence on education in Florida.
Malkin wrote, “The resignation of Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett couldn’t have come at a better time. His disgraceful grade-fixing scandal is the perfect symbol of all that’s wrong with the federal education schemes peddled by Bennett and his mentor, former GOP Gov. Jeb Bush: phony academic standards, crony contracts, big-government and big-business collusion masquerading as ‘reform’.”
“Bush’s foundation has now joined with the Common Core-peddling Fordham Institute under a new phony-baloney umbrella group: ‘Conservatives for Higher Standards.’ While its list of supporters includes federal bureaucrats, politicians and business interests, there are no grassroots conservative parents or teacher groups. So beware of this ‘conservative’ front. And remember: Astro-turfing runs in the Bush family. Under George W. Bush, the federal Department of Education paid GOP mouthpiece/columnist Armstrong Williams to shill for No Child Left Behind,” notes Malkin.
Heather Crossin, an Indiana mom who helped spearhead the drive to eject Bennett from office and reject Common Core in her state, put it best:
“This situation illustrates why it is crucial that parents be reinserted into the decision-making process when it comes to the education of their children. When their voices and concerns take a backseat to ‘command and control’ approaches to ed reform, the public trust can easily be broken.”
It’s actually quite elementary, Dr. Watson.
EDITORS NOTE: Florida’s education commissioner was once an elected position. That changed in 2003, due to a constitutional amendment that reduced the number of elected Cabinet members and also created the state Board of Education. Under the current system, the governor appoints seven members to sit on the state Board of Education. The board then selects the commissioner to oversee day-to-day operations at the State Department of Education.