Jeb Bush continues to defend the indefensible. He may have lost his mind. (rough draft)

Jeb
Bush continues to defend the indefensible. He may have lost his mind.
Coming
to an editorial page near you is a piece from Jeb Bush defending Tony Bennett.
You know the former education commissioner who resigned in disgrace after it
was revealed he changed a charter school grade to benefit both a campaign donor
and his pro privatization ideology. Later it came out that his wife took a lucrative
job at a company he steered business to and when public schools in Indiana
found themselves in the same position as his donor’s charter school he didn’t
lift a figure to help them.
Despite
all this Bush has cast aside reason and continues to support Bennet. To give
you some context about the depth of his depravity he has also recently said
picking a school should be like buying milk and the Florida’s colleges of
education should be blown up.
I
almost feel sorry, as this megalomaniacs world crumbles around him as more
people realize his warped ideology, not what is best for students drives his
motives.  Almost, but then I think of
all the teachers forced out of the profession and all the students who have been
shortchanged by his privatization policies.  
He starts his piece in the Miami Herald with a veiled dig at
teachers. Transforming education to a system that is focused on
students, not adults, hardly seems a radical notion. But it is not a job for
the faint of heart. There are many entrenched interests with a great deal of
money invested in the status quo. Making progress in this environment is a
constant battle.”

He is saying, all those selfish (union) teachers with their ten-year-old cars
and hundreds of dollars in their bank accounts need to stop thinking only about
themselves and to start caring about children. Bush first thinks teachers only became so because they could not do anything else and then all they do is sit around all day with their feet up planning their summers.
Bush continues: “Students don’t have lobbyists. They don’t have
unions. Parents want their children to earn diplomas and to attend college
without going through a gauntlet of remediation courses. Low-income parents who
dream of sending their children to better schools can’t afford campaign
contributions. They want change but confronting bureaucracies and policies is
difficult and daunting.”
He
is right students don’t have lobbies but do you know who does? Charter schools,
virtual schools, and testing companies, or who Bush likes to call his top
supporters. As for confronting bureaucracies and policies, the Republican Party
has been completely in charge of education at the state lever for the last 15
years. Shouldn’t they not teacher’s unions, who have been stripped of the right
to strike, the only real bargaining chip a union has, be held responsible for
the education problems Florida has? What am I missing here? When a war goes bad
do you blame the generals or the privates?
He then tries to use Bennett’s resume as some kind of banner
of excellence. He writes: “In Indiana, with
Gov. Mitch Daniels, he changed policies and reformed practices, ushering in a
new era of parental choice and focus on student achievement. He held schools
accountable, began modernizing the teaching profession and led the charge for
higher academic standards. Results quickly followed. Indiana’s graduation rate
increased every year he served as superintendent of public instruction. The
number of students dropping out of school was cut in half. The number of
students passing the state’s mathematics test increased 9 percent, with 81
percent of students passing last year.”
I have to believe he has
somehow twisted the numbers because what Bush doesn’t mention is the people of
Indiana were so impressed with Bennett they voted him out after one term as
education commissioner, a race he lost despite out spending his competition by
over a million dollars. He was so unpopular that a democratic union member beat
Bennett in this reddest of red states. Bush also doesn’t
mention how the
amount of students taking remedial classes once they started college increased
exponentially under Bennett’s watch.
Bush then rewrites history: A man accused
of trying to undermine public education, in fact, had dramatically improved it.
He took on both the political left and the political right, and that cost him
his job. Nobody who objectively assesses the job Tony has done in Florida can
conclude he should be leaving it.”
First
I would like to point out he resigned and after only two days. Who thinks they
did nothing wrong and then quits after just two days of criticism? Anthony
Weiner had pictures of his junk floating around and he held out for over a
week. Furthermore he resigned because he was caught red handed. Bennett’s own
words were:  “I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not
excuses and/or explanations for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I
have told over the past six months.” 
Each e-mail he wrote was more damning than the last.
As for nobody
objectively assessing, what about Bush’s friend, supporter and board of
education member, Kathleen Shanahan, who said, 
“We have a mess on our hands,” adding
that “I don’t think we can wait” to address growing public concerns
about how students, teachers and schools are evaluated. She is far from the
only one who has questioned Bennett too. He has been the subject of dozens if
not hundreds of editorials, since the scandal was revealed. Now the mess did
not start under Bennett but he certainly exacerbated it
At this point
Bush’s meds must have worn off because he wrote: 
Florida’s students will feel the loss of his leadership the most. Those
who stooped to nasty political tactics to undermine Tony should be ashamed.
They protect their self-interest at the expense of our next generation.
Whose reputation is Jeb really trying to defend here? The
Washington Post said Bush was the biggest loser in the scandal, something ultra
conservative columnist Michelle Malkin said too, and I doubt those two agree
very often. Furthermore if his rantings are starting to sound like a man who is
grasping at the straws of self-preservations to you, please know you are not
alone. As for nasty tactics Bush must mean the news simply reporting what
Bennett said and did. The truth is this editorial was not about Bush sticking
up for his friend; this was about Bush standing up for his crumbling ideas.
This is about Bush’s self-interests which he has been putting them ahead of
what is best for kids for years. If anybody should be ashamed it is him, though
after reading his letter I doubt he is capable of it.
Finally his rant hit a crescendo
of psychosis where he applauded Bennett’s efforts to mitigate poverty:
A quality
education can change a life. It is the only real solution we have to counter
the devastating effects of poverty. The sad reality is that if you are born in
poverty today, you are more likely to stay there than at any time since World
War II. Tony started every day determined to change that. He inspired others to
do the same.

Does the A-F school
grading policy address poverty? No, it just shows what schools are in neighborhoods
mired with poverty and what schools aren’t. Does merit pay address poverty? No,
it just assures our best teachers will never want to work at our neediest
schools. Do charter schools help students who live in poverty? No, studies show
despite huge advantages, kids that attend them as a group lag behind their
public school peers. Do vouchers mitigate poverty? No, there is no study that
points to kids who attend private schools with vouchers having better education
outcomes. How has Bennett and for that matter Florida addressed poverty again?
I mean other than to ignore it and to put additional roadblocks in the way of
kids who live in poverty.
Florida will not miss Bennett as Bush proposes and nor will
they miss Bush when his fifteen minutes are finally up.

To read Bush’s entire
letter click the link:
http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/05/3543741/jeb-bush-tony-bennett-paid-price.html

One Reply to “Jeb Bush continues to defend the indefensible. He may have lost his mind. (rough draft)”

  1. Dear anonymous, I would be glad to print your opposite point of view if you would just put your name to it. And are you kidding me? Have you followed the news at all? The ed super in Indiana said today there is evidence of maleficence, you have bet on the wrong horse.

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