What did Jeb Bush create?

From the Current by James Call

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush used a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention to further his reputation as an advocate for reforming public education. He called it “the great moral and economic issue of our time.”

In a 15-minute speech Thursday night, Bush called on the nation to set high standards for education and provide an equal opportunity for all students.

“The sad truth is that equality of opportunity doesn’t exist in many of our schools. We give some kids a chance, but not all,” Bush said.

While in the governor’s office from 1999 to 2007, Bush pushed for an accountability system that included grading schools based on student performance on standardized tests and proposals that funneled tax dollars to private schools. A coalition of groups including the state teachers union challenged the voucher program and the Florida Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. Bush referred to the union on Thursday as a “politically powerful” group that is a “master of delays and deferrals.”

“It’s what we’ve been hearing from Jeb Bush for a decade and half,” said Mark Pudlow, spokesman for the Florida Education Association, the statewide union representing teachers and school employees.

“The Legislature is two-thirds Republican. Teachers and educators and school employees have not ever been consulted about the direction that we’ve taken in education for Florida for the past 15 years. I think a political powerful entity would not be in this situation,” Pudlow said.

Once he left the governor’s mansion, Bush formed the Excellence in Education Foundation to continue advocating for higher standards, accountability and school choice. In his convention speech, Bush suggested that failure in the public education system is excused because children are judged “based on their race, ethnicity, or household income.”

“That is kind of an insult to the teaching profession,” said Pudlow, who contends that Bush continues to influence, if not set, education policy in Florida.

“This is his (Bush’s) system and it still has many problems,” Pudlow said. “It’s underfunded, parents have shown how dissatisfied they are with the changing rules on standardized tests, teacher morale is horrible, administrators feel powerless and the only people who seem happy are the for-profit institutions that are making a play for our public education.”

Bush in his speech, however, drew attention to reform-minded Republican governors in nine states, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott, whose leadership he said has resulted in more students reading at grade level and graduating from high school.

As for his critics, Bush said, “You can either help the politically powerful unions. Or you can help the kids.”


One Reply to “What did Jeb Bush create?”

  1. This specious speech by John Ellis Bush (Bush The Third) is a classic illustration of how a member of a self-appointed "Royal Family" uses nice-sounding language, a "reassuring" tone, and a plethora of false or highly misleading numbers to hide his real beliefs and his real intentions.

    Bush does not care about school children or their families—unless they can somehow be used to further the interests of the Bush Dynasty and/or the small, elitist circle around them.

    The real objective of Jeb Bush's "education" crusade is to neuter the ability of schools to teach children in a way that gets results and prepares them with what they'll need to actively participate in our country's democracy.

    Like most wealthy elitists, Bush wants "The Little People", as he thinks of 99% of us, to be compliant, obedient, and learn nothing beyond the basic skills required for most jobs at Walmart.

    This would be bad enough. But Bush has another, more malevolent objective regarding our schools: He wants to get rid of elected school boards, fire all experienced teachers and principals, and hand our schools over to private, for-profit interests. Bush wants Corporate Control of our public schools.

    Bush and his elitist, ultra-wealthy allies, have already "privatized" large segments of our country; the resources that we all share in common which benefit all citizens. Large parts of our country's military—for instance—is now run by private contractors who cost significantly more than our committed and brave soldiers and officers. But, those soldiers and officers didn't have the money for legal bribes (A.K.A. "Campaign Contributions") that come from these private companies.

    So now, Bush is the Front Man in the next "piece of fruit" that the 1% wants to take from us, and use to enhance their own concentrated wealth and power. And, by using such "sweet and caring" rhetoric, Bush is able to pose as "the GOOD Bush" who, unlike his miscreant brother, "is really intelligent and so genuinely concerned". It's putrid. It's so transparent to anyone paying attention.

    Bush is going to try and capitalize on the upcoming propaganda film, "Won't Back Down" as a way to ramming through more of these odious, deceptive "reforms" in our schools.

    But he didn't count on the NEW group of people who are getting involved in all of this: PARENTS. And I'm one of them. A year ago, I knew nothing about these issues. Also, I've never been a teacher nor a union member. And neither has any member of my extended or immediate family.

    We're PARENTS. And we're dedicated to a good education—not just for "MY KID!", but for ALL KIDS, in my child's school and in all schools.

    A message to Jeb Bush and all "reformers": Stay away from our schools. And stop meddling in our business. (Don't you have fancy, private schools that serve you, and your family? Go help them out!)

    And if you think, any of you, that you're going to come into our schools, take control from we parents, and impose a corporate control structure on us, you might want to consider this: You'll have to do it, quite literally,
    over our dead bodies.

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