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Posted by seafan in General Discussion
Thu Mar 03rd 2011, 01:23 PM

(Photo: Mark Wallheiser) via Florida Trend
"Our digital learning bill will really change the way our school districts think about and hire teachers." ---- Patricia Levesque

(Chairwoman, Gov. Scott's educational transition team and executive director of Jeb Bush's "education" think tanks)

Cynthia Barnett writes in Gov. Rick Scott's Take on Education Reform is Textbook Jeb, in Florida Trend:

March 1, 2011


(Governor Rick) Scott's decision to tap Patricia Levesque to chair his educational transition team makes clear his commitment to the school reform trail blazed by former Gov. Jeb Bush. Levesque is executive director of the national Foundation for Excellence in Education and the statewide Foundation for Florida's Future, both created by Bush after he left the governor's office.

The national think tank has brought sweeping educational policy changes to state capitols across the country. The state group lobbies to continue building reform here in Florida. The reforms are based on greater competition and choice for parents. But they have proven polarizing for many public-school educators.


In December, Bush and former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, a Democrat, joined in a national call for digital learning in a report that urged states to open competition for online content that could become as effective and user-friendly as is for shopping. They also urge replacement of textbooks with digital devices that are cheaper for taxpayers and more relevant to today's students.

Despite Scott's support, a virtual-learning overhaul faces hurdles, including opposition from textbook companies and the state's teachers union. Virtual-learning bills sponsored by state Sen. John Thrasher and Rep. Erik Fresen, both Republicans, died in last year's session.

But it is being ruthlessly resurrected right now.

Since his time in office and now that he's unencumbered, Jeb Bush has steamrolled the push across the country for school vouchers and digital "virtual" learning instead of textbooks in the classroom.

How nice this must be for brother Neil Bush, and for those who want our kids' teachers out of the picture permanently.

In the meantime, Jeb Bush hired Tom Vander Ark to infiltrate State Houses, as a bludgeon to push virtual learning onto the unwilling populace.

Dan Popkey writes in the Idaho Statesman:

February 24, 2011

A man Newsweek once called America’s most influential baby boomer in education comes to the Idaho Statehouse Thursday to support online education and Idaho schools chief Tom Luna’s reform bills.

Tom Vander Ark, who oversaw $3.5 billion in grants as head of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, calls himself a “frustrated independent” unattached to a political party.

He now works on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s “Digital Learning Now” project and is a partner in Learn Capital, a private equity investor concentrating on education innovation worldwide.

He was invited by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank, lobbying group and news outlet, which paid travel expenses. He spoke with the Statesman Wednesday.

Q: How did the Freedom Foundation convince you to come to Idaho?

A: “I spend most of my time advocating for more and better online learning. I was in Tallahassee (Fla.) doing the same thing yesterday.”

Q: You’ve never met or spoken to Tom Luna and weren’t consulted in the drafting of his plan. What prompted you to support his “Students Come First” bills?


Vander Ark ran over to the Huffington Post to push Jeb's snake oil "Digital Learning Now" agenda.

Students Come First Plan Deserves Support in Idaho, February 19, 2011

Utah Poised to Lead in Online Learning, February 12, 2011

At the outset, if Jeb Bush can't push "Digital Learning Now" successfully in Utah and Idaho, he will fail everywhere else. What we are seeing is the coordinated offensive to destroy public education as we know it in this country. And Mr. Vander Ark is taking Jeb Bush's *educational innovation* worldwide, via his work at 'Learn Capital'.

Radical conservatives' campaign of carpetbombing workers' unions, public education, people's access to health care, employment and equal representation of the people in our government is now in full view.

These radical conservatives are eating our seed corn.

Working people of America, parents, students, seniors, women, minorities, gays and lesbians, immigrants, listen up.

Radical conservative war has now been declared on all of us.

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