Heads up, North Carolinians.
This post is about ALEC, Jeb Bush and NC GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory.
One of the Republican candidates for Governor, Pat McCrory, is working closely with ALEC and Jeb Bush to continue the dogmatic, corporate push to privatize public education. Jeb Bush is coming to the Angus Barn in Raleigh on April 30 for a reception/fundraiser for McCrory. (Specific details on this event later in this post.)
ALEC has lost eleven corporate sponsors, so far, for their push for "Stand Your Ground" laws and "Voter ID" laws in state legislatures throughout the country; however, ALEC's push to gut public education nationwide is still operating in the shadows.
And one of the main operatives in this relentless push for "bold educational reform" is Jeb Bush. There are others.
In the news lately is that the shadowy American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has lost multiple sponsors, now that the public has discovered the behind-closed-door model legislation that ALEC crafts and spoonfeeds to state legislatures, to pad the bottom lines of corporations desiring favorable legislation to protect the flow of those profits.
Due to erupting public outrage, ALEC now says they will stop their push for "Stand Your Ground" and "Voter ID" laws across the country, and, instead shift their focus from 'social policy promotion' to 'economic policy'. Massive corporate exodus gets ALEC's attention.
The secretive workings of ALEC were first exposed to the public in the weeks after the February 26, 2012 murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida, an unarmed black child, by an armed assailant who claimed "self defense" under Florida's "Stand Your Ground Law". He was not arrested initially, until massive public outrage built to the level of fury. Now, George Zimmerman is in custody.
Jeb Bush signed that infamous "Stand Your Ground" law in 2005.
ALEC and the NRA surely celebrated, along with Jeb's pal at the NRA, Marion Hammer, who was one of the chief architects of the law, which was the first in the country to come out of a state legislature. Thanks to ALEC, this law has metastasized into 30+ additional state legislatures across the country and is now law.
Finally, the poisonous effects of ALEC are becoming widely known. And it took the murder of an innocent unarmed child in Florida to do it.
ALEC stops pushing 'Stand Your Ground' laws (and Voter ID), April 18, 2012
ALEC and Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law came under public scrutiny after an unarmed black teenager was shot to death by a neighborhood watch captain. Police in Sanford, FL, used the law as justification for not arresting or charging George Zimmerman, 28, who admitted to shooting Trayvon Martin, 17, to death on Feb. 26.
"We may never know how many families will be denied justice because of the 'Stand Your Ground' laws that continue to put communities in danger," NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said.
The group has also been pressured for its support of Voter-ID laws, which civil rights organizations say wrongfully deny some citizens the right to vote.
"To simply say they are stopping non-economic work doesn't guarantee that ALEC will not continue to push laws that endanger African-Americans and trample our voting rights," said ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson.
On Tuesday, Blue Cross Blue Shield became the 11th company to part with ALEC. Other companies who dropped their association with ALEC include Mars, Inc., the Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Wendy's International, Kraft Foods, Intuit, McDonald's, American Traffic Solutions, Arizona Public Service and LexisNexis.
With more than 2,000 members across the country, ALEC is a legislative association that aims to promote free-market, limited government, pro-growth policies.
So, ALEC has dropped its push for "Stand Your Ground" gun laws and punitive "Voter ID" measures. That's very good news.
What we need to turn our attention to is the pervasive and ominous influence of ALEC, in pushing the privatization of public education, via the rapid push for charter schools, voucher programs, standardized testing, erosion of teachers' unions and steering massive profits into the hands of private corporations. Those corporations want access to the pot of public money that was created to support and maintain public education for everyone since this country's founding.
Enter: one Jeb Bush, dragging his "educational policy" think-tanks behind him--- the Foundation for Excellence in Education, the Foundation for Florida's Future, and its gaggle of operatives.
The Foundation for Florida's Future was behind the push for the "Parent Trigger" bill that Jeb Bush fiercely tried to jam through the Legislature in Florida last month. When moderate Republicans joined Democrats to stop the bill from passing, Jeb promptly went to work intimidating one of the Republicans to change his "no" vote.
As we continue to see, when it comes to starving public education, Jeb Bush never quits.
For Jeb Bush, the profit motive is a close second to the ultimate power motive.
Jeb Bush and ALEC: a symbiotic relationship
Bush is drooling over the prospect of following in his dad’s and his brothers’ footsteps. For a long, long time, he’s been running a clandestine campaign for president. Ever hear of the Foundation for Excellence in Education? Jeb Bush is Founder and Chairman. The primary reason for the existence of this ‘foundation’ is to serve as a pathway to the White House.
The Foundation for Excellence in Education holds a national summit on education reform every year patterned after similar events hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Like ALEC, FEE provides ‘scholarships’ for certain expenses to highly placed state education officials such as Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Bennett.
Last year’s San Francisco summit, featured 10 strategy sessions over a two-day period with moderators, panelists and speakers. Rupert Murdoch spoke and Melinda Gates keynoted one of the dinners. The last session was entitled, Got Choice? Get Choice! A panelist from an earlier session is someone you’ve never heard of; Fernando Zulueta. His companies manage charter schools and represent the wave of the future if right-wing corporatists continue to grow in strength and influence in education. Fernando and his brother are directing many millions of taxpayer dollars straight to their for-profit bottom lines.
In addition to serving as a presidential stalking horse, the Foundation for Excellence in Education is a national powerhouse for school choice, vouchers, tax credits and privatization. Both Jeb and brother George W. have deep connections with the infamous ALEC, having personally appeared as speakers at key events. Jeb wrote the forward for the 16th Edition of ALEC’s Report card on America’s Education. He also sent a letter to an ALEC education subcommittee on July 29, 2011 decrying national education standards and urging the subcommittee to leave the matter up to the states.
Like any good candidate, Jeb Bush cruises the country trolling for votes. In 2011 alone, he could be found coast-to-coast, border-to-border and at all points of the compass, even an ocean trek to Honolulu and back.
We've been watching what Jeb Bush has been doing to cripple public education, particularly since he left office in early 2007.
Whether it was pushing for the removal of the constitutional separation of church and state so he could forcibly enable school vouchers to siphon money from public schools; leading the charge to repeal smaller class sizes; setting up multiple stealth foundations to "reform" education; or empowering his operatives to continue pushing his agenda even after leaving office in 2007, it has been painful to watch the zeal with which Jeb Bush pursues the dismantlement of public education.
These things about Jeb Bush's continuous toxic influence on many issues, most especially on public education, must become common knowledge before it is too late.
Jeb Bush flimflams Minnesota lawmakers on "bold educational reform", May 12, 2011
Jeb Bush, Education Fixer, hard at work in California, September 27, 2011
Jeb Bush Slams Crist's Veto Of GOP-Backed Education Bill (would have abolished teacher tenure and forced a strict merit pay guidelines), April 16, 2010
Jeb Bush has since pursued a vindictive vendetta against former Governor Charlie Crist for defying Bush's vision to weaken public education.
Back to Jeb Bush's tight links with ALEC:
From the forward for the 16th Edition of ALEC’s Report card on America’s Education, written by Jeb Bush:
(On pages 8-9 of the above pdf)
The United States is in an educational arms race.
I have seen first-hand the powerful effects
that real education reform can make. A decade
ago, Florida’s schools ranked near the bottom in
nearly every national survey. More than half of
the state’s public school students could not read
or do math on grade level. More and more students
were dropping out and high school graduates
only had to demonstrate the aptitude of an
eighth-grader to earn a diploma.
Then, in 1999, we stopped accepting excuses
for poor performance and embraced the core belief
that all children can achieve when schools organize
around the singular goal of learning. During
the decade that followed, we ushered in sweeping
reforms that fundamentally changed Florida’s
education system. Our plan set high standards
and expectations, established clear accountability,
created rewards and consequences for results,
and provided an unprecedented array of alternatives
to traditional public school.
While much progress has been made, we have
so much further to go to ensure that all children
receive a world-class education in Florida and
across the nation.
ALEC’s Report Card on American Education is
a helpful guide for anyone who wants to achieve
a quality education for all students. The book
answers two questions facing everyone involved in
the education reform debate: Where are we today?
Moreover, where do we need to go? It explains
why the status quo is unacceptable, and offers a
blueprint for reform to create the kind of education
system and learning opportunities American
I can tell you from experience: Enacting reform
is difficult. There is a huge difference between the
theory of reform and the reality of it—it is a lot
harder than it looks. It requires full transparency,
unyielding tenacity, continuous communication,
relentless advocacy, and the courage to measure
progress and then deal with the results, whatever
they may be.
Ah, yes, here is what happened to Florida with Jeb Bush's "experience" during his 8 miserable years in the governor's office.
During the alleged wonder years of Bush's governorship, Florida's graduation rates remained in the tank: 52.5 percent (1999), 52.5 percent (2000), 53 percent (2001), 56.3 percent (2002), 57.5 percent (2003), 60.5 percent (2004), 60.8 percent (2005). More than percentages, the dismal numbers tell the dead-end story of anywhere from 47.5 percent to 39.2 percent of Florida students yearly who don't graduate and whose chances of success in a competitive global economy are nil. This year alone, Diplomas Count estimates that 104,000 Florida students won't graduate.
..... Link to more of 2009 article
ALEC Report Card on American Education
Gates Foundation Will No Longer Make Grants to ALEC Nonprofit
But, what about WalMart?
Walton Foundation Funding Jeb Bush-connected Florida Education Groups, March 9, 2012
The Foundation for Excellence in Education received $1.55 million from the Walton Family Foundation in 2011, according to a rundown on the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush started the Foundation for Excellence in Education to push new education policies — some of which were pioneered in Florida during Bush’s two terms.
Step Up For Students, the Tampa non-profit that administers the state’s private school scholarship program for low-income students received $1.23 million. The Florida Charter School Alliance, a new group that shares leadership with Bush’s network of foundations, got a $159,743 grant.
Who won millions in Walton Foundation grants in 2011, March 7, 2012
The pro-charter Walton Foundation handed out more than $159 million in 2011 in 16 metropolitan areas around the country to promote school choice. It also committed to giving $49.5 million to Teach for America over five years to double its teaching corps and $25.5 million over the same period to the KIPP charter school network to double the number of students it educates.
The foundation is one of the three big family education philanthropies — the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation are the other two — and the one that gives the most money to initiatives involving the school choice movement, such as vouchers and charter schools.
The overall sum for 2011 was a few million more than the foundation handed out in 2010. The largest single grant given last year was $22.9 million to the Charter School Growth Fund, a non-profit venture capital fund that invests in charters. The second single largest award went to Teach for America — $12.6 million in its first installment of the multiyear grant, and the next largest was $11 million to The Children’s Scholarship Fund, a school voucher organization.
The foundation’s strategy is clear from the grants: It is funding organizations that it thinks can help scale charter schools quickly and rapidly increase the pool of voucher students.
It concentrated on 16 regions of the country in 2011, nine more than in 2010. Los Angeles topped the list, winning $9,643,100; the next largest amount — $8,370,944 — went to Washington D.C.
For widespread perusal:
ALEC Politicians This list has the names.
Now, back to Jeb Bush and Pat McCrory.
Team McCrory: The influence of ALEC pervades throughout it.
On Monday, April 30, 2012, a fundraiser/reception for North Carolina GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory will be held at the Pavilions at the Angus Barn in Raleigh, NC. The "Special Guest" is ---wait for it--- Mr. 'Bold Educational Reform' himself, none other than Jeb Bush.
As detailed earlier, Jeb Bush wrote the forward to the 16th Edition of ALEC’s Report card on America’s Education (pdf), pp. 8-9
So, while everyone focuses on ALEC's loss of eleven corporate sponsors so far, due to public disgust and outrage over ALEC's secretive influence over state legislatures, ALEC and WalMart are still feeding money and influence to Jeb Bush in the ultimate corporate push to destroy public education.
I want to be very wealthy, and I'll be glad to tell you when I've accomplished that goal.---John Ellis Bush, son of the president
These people will not stop their rampage of greed. It is up to the people to put a stop to this.
And the people will. We have had enough.
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