As I sit here thinking about Sandy Hook it came to me that as with everything else happening in America today the powers to be are focusing on the wrong things – they want our guns – the Progressives do and they will use whatever tool they have at hand.
Many of us have tried to inform the general public what is happening to our country but they chose to ignore the warnings not wanting to “get involved” or “stir the pot”! This is even the case when it affects their children.
I have warned and warned for the past 2 years about Jeb Bush and his “buddies” especially here in Florida and the parents pull the wool over their eyes and go about their day-to-day events depending on someone else taking care of the problems for them.
Well Florida has been “BUSHWACKED” ONCE AGAIN by the decision of the Florida State School Board hiring Indiana’s throw – a – way Tony Bennett as the new Florida Commissioner of Education.
If the national movement to “reform” public education through vouchers, charters and privatization have a laboratory and it is Florida. It was one of the first states to undertake a program of “virtual schools”—charters operated online, with teachers instructing students over the Internet—as well as one of the first to use vouchers to channel taxpayer money to charter schools run by for-profits.
Bennett and his Jeb Bush crony business partners are despised by Indiana voters – parents and teachers alike as shown in how the November election went. It was not a party thing either since most of the state percentage that voted Bennett out of office also voted for Romney.
Indiana is one of 14 states of which elects their Commissioner of Education and this writer certainly wishes Florida would begin to ELECT their Education Commissioner since it puts the loyalty of the Commissioner in the hands of the people and not a Jeb Bush favored School Board.
Indiana, we are happy you stood up to Jeb Bush and Tony Bennett. Sadly, your gain is now Florida’s loss. So now, as Floridians, we’ve got yet another failed Jeb Bush operative turning up here, very predictably, to continue the assault on our children, public schools, and teachers, at his behest. It seems the proverbial shark never stops chewing at the perimeter. In case you missed it Jeb Bush is the SHARK and from the actions of everyone from the governor of Florida to the Florida State School Board, Jeb Bush is still operating as the governor of this state.
Let’s take a look at what upset the voters of Indiana so much.
First of all the voters soon realized that Bennett is merely another one of the long line of “puppets on a string”. He does as he is told – you sometimes have to wonder if they really believe in what they are pushing or is it just the money because Education is certainly a hot commodity – the fastest growing “get rich quick” deal out there.
Secondly, Bennett’s push for information on every Indiana teacher so he can deem them “unaccountable” and replace them with Teach for America recruits on their temporary stop in the schools before they head off to Wall Street. He wants data on all students, so that he can declare schools as “broken” and package them up for the privatizers (Charter Schools). He is a strong supporter of school vouchers especially to be used for private and religious schools – similar to what was proposed in Florida in their Amendment 8. There is more than one lawsuit from around the country currently protesting this practice as being unconstitutional.
Challengers say using tax dollars to pay tuition at religious schools is barred by state Constitution’s prohibiting compelling a person to “support any place of worship … against his consent,” and its ban on using state funds “for the benefit of any religious or theological institution.”
Those in favor of the voucher law say it doesn’t violate the state constitutions because taxpayer dollars aren’t flowing directly into parochial schools but that it is being paid to the parents. Many see this was a smokescreen and just a way of creeping in by a backdoor!
Third, Tony Bennett, as well as Florida’s two previous Commissioners of Education Gerard Robinson and Eric Smith, are a Jeb Bush “Chiefs for Change. Bennett is also the newly appointed by Jeb Bush “boss” of the chief’s. Sitting alongside the previous mentioned three are Maine’s Steven Bowen and former Edison Schools’ Chris Cerf (now New Jersey’s commissioner of education) who profited handsomely when the then-Florida governor Jeb Bush bought out the company’s failing stock with teachers’ retirement funding, a maneuver sticking state pensioners to this day with a $182 million investment in a company out to destroy public education and unions. And Bush friends at Charter Schools USA have been given several so-called failing schools in Indiana, where parents have recently been protesting the corporate takeover.
All of this mess in Indiana has already been tried here in Florida and some of it is already in effect. Now Floridian’s get to play footsy with another Jeb Bush operative.
Involved in the election to keep Tony Bennett in Indiana was of course, your friend and mine, Patricia Levesque. Levesque directs Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education and his Foundation for Florida’s Future and in addition owns her own lobbying company Meridian Strategies in Tallahassee of which she uses to push Virtual and Charter schools.
Levesque, who also lobbies on behalf of many virtual schools, outlined a new strategy in October 2010 at a school reform conference to privatize public schools. In an article entitled “How Outline Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools,” The Nation’s Lee Fang writes that:
Levesque noted “reform efforts have failed because the opposition had time to organize.” Next year (2011), Levesque advised, “reformers should “spread” the unions thin “by playing offense” with decoy legislation,” stating she planned to sponsor a series of statewide reforms, like allowing taxpayer dollars to go to religious schools by overturning the so-called Blaine Amendment, “even if it doesn’t pass…to keep them busy on that front.” She also advised paycheck protection, a union busting scheme, as well as a state-provided insurance program to encourage teachers to leave the union and a transparency law to force teachers unions to show additional information to the public. Needling the labor unions with all these bills, Levesque said, allows certain charter bills to fly “under the radar.” (Does this sound like this happened in Florida with Amendment 8?)
How many times do I have to remind you all that Charter schools are “for profit”, “public-private partnerships”! If you want to get rich these days you would go into some form of business that deals with education.
I will never say the “intent” of ALL Charter schools is bad! I will tell you the true object behind the idea of Charter schools is to remove taxpayer input and oversight from the public schools giving the control of your children’s education to private businesses. Now you have the Communist “school – to – work program that was first brought to light in Cuba with the kids going to school for 2-3 hours and then working in the cigar factories for the rest of the day for FREE! Bushites are not about educating our children; they are about money, power and control.
These are cold, calculating individuals no different from what we have in the White House and surrounding buildings.
There is at this time an investigation going on in Indiana looking into the corporate dealings between the Indiana Department of Education and Bennett’s Jeb Bush corporate friends. There is a strong cronyism connection which can be followed through the donations being given to any and all supporting Bush’s idea of Education Takeover.
Largest push for Charter schools and the Voucher way is coming from the American Federation of Children which has worked for years to expand educational options for all children. Chairman of the Board Betsy DeVos is heading up the DeVos Family crusade to eradicate public education. When challenged about her political and financial connections, DeVos recently stated, “I know a little something about soft money, as my family is the single largest contributor of soft money to the Republican National Party. I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return.” OUR CHILDREN!
This is being marketed as a solution to save public schools, but the big donors are tied to right-wing think tanks that openly advocate, and strategize, the end of public education. How can vouchers improve public schools if the people mobilizing the movement intend to eradicate public education? Regardless of your personal stance on “school choice,” it’s important to know who is behind the voucher movement and the agenda they don’t share with the public or advertise in their media campaigns.
Somehow we must work together to inform parents and support teachers so they may pull away from the deliberate plan to ruin our children. You have unions on one side wanting it their way and the money brokers on the right wanting to play their game and the kids are the “rope” in the middle being pulled back and forth.
In part two of this posting I will address further the cronyism and the flow of heavy money into the pockets of our elected officials.