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Feb 27 2013

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TSTA: The real Florida story – Jeb Bush promotes school privatization; students do not benefit

Although former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may be hailed as an education “reformer” when he testifies today before the Senate

Education Committee, he is not a reformer. He is, instead, an outspoken advocate of school privatization, intent on further enriching corporate donors to his pseudo-educational foundation. And, based on the facts in Florida, Jeb has nothing to offer that would improve the learning atmosphere for Texas students.

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), which Bush founded and chairs, and its affiliate, Chiefs for Change, are conduits for letting their corporate donors connect with and privately influence state policymakers on expanded testing, expanded online instruction, private school vouchers and other privatization raids on public tax dollars.

In the Public Interest, a privatization watchdog group, has documented FEE’s role in seeking to boost profits for its corporate donors at the expense of taxpayers in a recent report based on emails between foundation officials and state school superintendents and education department directors in several states. In the Public Interest obtained the emails through public records requests.

“Privatization is not reform,” said Texas State Teachers Association President Rita Haecker. “Privatization puts the interests of corporations above those of school children, their parents and other Texas taxpayers. TSTA calls on the Legislature to restore the $5.4 billion cut from public schools two years ago and quit trying to experiment with unproven privatization schemes.”

As governor of Florida, Bush gave a high priority to creating the first private school voucher program in the country. Subsequent studies have found no evidence that low-income students receiving vouchers to attend private schools do any better at reading or math than children in public school.

“For-profit companies are hiding behind FEE and other business lobby organizations they fund to write laws and promote policies that enrich the

companies,” said In the Public Interest Chair Donald Cohen.

Here is a link to the watchdog group’s report:

http://www.inthepublicinterest.org/blog/bushs-education-nonprofit-and-corporate-profits

See attached document for more on Bush’s Florida record.

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