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.
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. .