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Jeb Bush foundation using ‘parent trigger’ to trigger donations

by Dara Kam | March 6th, 2012

The controversial “Parent Empowerment” proposal isn’t just causing a bipartisan kerfuffle in the Senate where critics say the measure is a cash cow for for-profit charter schools and private management companies.

But the “parent trigger” measure could also make hay for Gov. Jeb Bush’s non-profit Foundation for Florida’s Future. Bush is backing the bill, pushed by Los Angeles-based Parent Revolution and education reformer Michelle Rhee and fiercely opposed by a teachers’ unions and a Florida coalition of parent-led groups, including the PTA.

Patricia Levesque, executive director of Bush’s Foundation, sent out a blast e-mail asking supporters to contact their senators to urge them to vote for the bill. But that wasn’t all.

“Additionally, won’t you help us in our efforts to fight those opposed to parents’ rights? Please consider making a one-time contribution of $500 or $1,000 or a monthly contribution of $50 or $100 to the Foundation for Florida’s Future. With your support, we can ensure that parents have representation and more options as it relates to their child’s education,” Levesque wrote.

Levesque sent out the missive in response to a blast message from left-leaning Progess Florida condemning the bill.

According to the exchange, the forces lining up on either side of the issue range from Koch brothers to the League of Women Voters.

“Anti-public school extremists in the Florida Senate are trying to pull a fast one, and we need your help right now,” the Progress Florida e-mail began. “So, if not parent groups, who is really behind this latest attack on public schools? According to Parents Across America “model legislation based on the Parent Trigger has been written and promoted by ALEC, the shadowy organization backed by the Koch brothers that has a radical right-wing agenda.” And who profits? Not parents and students. No, the ones who profit are unaccountable corporate charter school operators who aren’t held to the same standards as public schools and don’t necessarily have the best interests of students, parents or teachers at heart.

That prompted the e-mail from Levesque:

“Yesterday, the Foundation for Florida’s Future tweeted “Conspiracy theories and outright lies—who knew #edreform would be so exciting?” This was in response to emails, like the one below, that are being sent in opposition to the Parent Empowerment Act. You will not find the vitriol in the below email surprising. Despite incredible successes over the past 10 years, those who seek to protect the status quo are as passionate as ever. This includes the League of Women Voters, AFL-CIO, Florida Education Association and local affiliates such as Fund Education Now and Save our Schools.”

The Senate is set to take up the measure on Thursday and an ugly committee meeting – along with the above exchange – set the stage for what will likely be a heated debate before a vote on Friday.

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10 Responses to “Jeb Bush foundation using ‘parent trigger’ to trigger donations”

  1. RPOF MUST GO Says:

    The Republican Party of FASCISTS will have its day.

    And then we will send them packing for DESTROYING OUR STATE and handing over our children and our future to corporate fascist profiteers like the Koch Brothers. Who are ALREADY BILLIONAIRES. Why do they need MORE money?!?!?!

    This was always their plan. Get elected on JOBS and “fiscal responsibility”, and then turn the keys of the legislature over to the Koch Fascists.


  2. Downtown Danny Says:

    Another Bush stealing from the public to enrich himself. It’s bad enough his wife thinks she doesn’t have to pay taxes, now Jeb wants to steal our tax money for schools and put it in his pocket. They act like every public school in Florida is horrible. My school is fantastic. All they want is the money – they don’t care about students.

  3. Dave Says:

    Without a doubt the dumbest, most self serving law I have ever seen in the realm of education. Bush butchered Florida education while he was governor, and the carnage continues.

  4. Douglas Michie Johnson Says:

    They have failed (so far) to privatize the prisons for profit, now they are going after the schools. Dick Cheney made a fortune on a privatized prison in Texas, and now they have their puppets in Florida trying to generate profit centers. Vote them out!

  5. FormerDropout Says:

    That’s a great theory, but what about folks like Democrat National Convention Chair, Obama Campaign Co-Chair and Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, who has spoken out in favor of this legislation?

    Furthermore, why do those who oppose this bill feel the need to misrepresent what it does? After all, if the bill is so bad, wouldn’t it be self-evident?

    First of all, this bill merely gives parents input into what is done to turn around a failing school, out of the options already required by law! That’s right, this is ONLY ABOUT FAILING SCHOOLS!!!

    Even if the failing school is converted to a charter, FL charters ARE NOT PRIVATE SCHOOLS – they’re public! (see FL statute 1002.33:

    And what about the ACTUAL PARENTS of kids in these failing schools, who are often low-income minorities and don’t have millions to spend on lobbyists and robo-calls? The ones who have come out by the thousands, some driving to Tallahasse from across the state, in support of this legislation which finally gives them a seat at the table?

  6. Mark Woodland Says:

    The point is, we do not need for-profit corporations running our schools. While they are, is part, accountable to local school boards, they have a great deal of latitude in how they operate; corporatizing our school system has done huge amounts of damage in my county, cost tens of millions of dollars in wasted expenditures, and produced poor results. School systems are not corporations and are not meant to be run as such. I strongly oppose anyone making a profit in public education. Yes, there are plenty of successful charter schools to point to, but I’ve yet to hear of one that’s operated for profit being among them. We do not need per-student spending to be reduced to pad the bottom line of any corporation. You would think that Florida might have learned its lesson from the well-covered-up debacle involving Neil Bush and the FACT, but apparently the Bush attacks on our schools are not over.

  7. RPOF MUST GO Says:

    Profiteering pro-profit “education” is FASCISM.

    Corporations RUN THIS STATE!


  8. FormerDropout Says:

    Well, if your concern is removing privatization from education, that is one thing, but it has nothing to do with the Parent Empowerment bill.

    Why strip low-income and minority families trapped in failing schools of the opportunity to take action by spreading misinformation about a bill that has nothing to do with your real concern?

    However, if you are genuinely concerned about equal opportunity and quality education, you need to read this:

  9. joan grim Says:

    Jeb Bush’s shameless selling our public schools for personal gain is in his DNA. Trading influence for profit by robbing the public coffers and destroying political critics is the Bush family M.O.If it was the Mafia the FBI would call it influence peddling.

    Former Republican strategist and historian, Kevin Phillips, has an excellent historical analysis of the family in his book:
    “American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush”

    An Amazon reviewer critiqued it here:

    “Republican strategist Phillips reveals how four generations of Bushes have ascended the ladder of national power since World War One, becoming entrenched within the American establishment—Yale, Wall Street, the Senate, the CIA, the vice presidency, and the presidency—through a recurrent flair for old-boy networking, national security involvement, and political deception.”

  10. business Says:

    Hello there I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts. I’m thinking about beginning my own blog next week Best Wishes.

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