Friday, March 9, 2012

Jeb Bush attacks SOS, League of Women Voters, over "Parent Trigger"

Former Florida governor and Bush family scion Jeb, has for some reason found it necessary to launch an  attack on Save Our Schools (SOS) as part of his campaign to import the Parent Trigger into his state.

Patricia Levesque, executive director of Bush’s Foundation, sent out a blast e-mail to supporters this week, asking them to contact their senators to urge them to vote for the so-called Parent Empowerment Act which comes up for a vote today. The proposed legislation would allow any group of parents at any public school to have their school closed and turned over to private charter school operators. It is a divisive act designed to pit parent against parent and open the way for total privatization of Florida schools.

Blogging at the Palm Beach Post, Dana Karn writes:
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.
Levesque's memo fires a shot at SOS and other groups opposing the Parent Trigger bill, calling them "vitriolic" agents of the "status quo."
You will not find the vitriol... 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.”
I'm not sure what "success" Levesque is talking about. Florida's school system under the Bush regime, was a nightmare and the Parent Trigger has failed to do anything positive for California's schools since its conception two years ago.

How ironic then for Bush to label parent groups and grass-roots school activists as "status quo." His 8-year rule over the state's education system became notable for widening the so-called achievement gap. Bush gave his schools A or B grades, even while they were getting F's by his own brother's standards under No Child Left Behind. The state has become a prime example of testing madness, teacher bashing, and privatization of public school under current Gov. Rick Scott whose chief education adviser is Michelle Rhee.

The Parent Trigger is seen by Bush, Scott and Rhee as an essential tool in privatizing the state's public schools and breaking the back of the teachers union. Back in March, Scott, signed into law one of the first and most damaging of the current wave of anti-teacher, anti-union bills passed by any state legislature. Among other things, the new law took away teachers' collective bargaining rights and has them working for "merit pay" based on their student's FCAT scores. The bill was crafted with Rhee's help.

Bush may also be firing at SOS, the League of Women Voters, the unions, and parent groups in order to appeal to his conservative base and to gain T-Party backing for his own presidential run.

Surprisingly, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who also has presidential ambitions, has found it convenient to jump into the middle of the Florida "kerfulle." Rahm's pushing of the Parent Trigger in Chicago has long been met with vocal opposition from local national parent and community groups.

*See "Jeb's Florida 'miracle' coming to a state near you?" by Teacher Q in the June 30, 2011 Daily Kos. .


  1. File this charge under crimes against humanity.

  2. If parents pull that "trigger" they are committing school-icide and suicide at the same time.

  3. Hmmm...the next to the last paragraph has an interesting aside
    about our mayor. Funny, too, that he's been palling around w/Bloomberg--a GREAT friend of NYC education! (For those who aren't familiar w/Bloomberg vs. NYC ed., I am, of course, being sarcastic.)

  4. Bonnie in FloridaMarch 10, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Florida says, not today jeb… not today.

    Maybe there was a day… We remember 2010. We remember Jeb robocalling FL residents. We remember him calling us teachers and parents a ‘massive campaign of misinformed’. Now, we remember this year. We remember his foundation emails used the word ‘vitriol’, as defined in the dictionary: bitterly abusive.

    Wow, really, jeb? Gee, that hurts…

    See, we may not have as much money as these corporations pushing charter schools and standardized tests… but, the beauty of being a ‘citizen lobbyist’ is that we work for free.

    And, we work overtime.

    And, sometimes, just sometimes, all our hard work pays off…

    Yesterday, Florida parents, teachers, PTA, FEA, unions, associations, and grassroot activists joined together in the Capitol and online to raise their voices. This time, we were heard. The “Parent Trigger” bill was killed with 20-20 vote on 3.9.12.

    Not feeling too misinformed or bitter today … you?

    a proud FL parent, teacher and PTO, FEA member


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