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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Jeb Bush's foundation calls allegations of profiteering "beyond ridiculous"



As we told you Wednesday, a union-backed D.C. advocacy group has accused Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education of improperly influencing legislation around the country to benefit its corporate backers. 

Foundation spokeswoman Jaryn Emhof issued a statement that rejected the profiteering allegations while also acknowledging what has never been hidden, that the group does indeed help states draft bills that would promulgate the ideas the foundation espouses. Bush himself is in the news almost weekly for his advising lawmakers on how to pursue what some now call the Florida model.

We know this because the foundation regularly sends out advisories with links to the reports.

Here's what Emhof had to say: 

"It certainly is not surprising that In the Public Interest, a union-backed organization, opposes school choice and the expansion of digital education.

"And, it is hardly a secret that the Foundation for Excellence in Education (Excel in Ed) is committed to school choice and openly offers its expertise to legislators and policy makers interested in improving their education systems. It’s on our website.

"The majority of Excel in Ed’s operational expenses, including salaries, are funded by private foundations, non-profits and philanthropies which do not sell to the K-12 market. We do accept sponsorships from corporations to help fund our annual Excellence in Action National Summit on Education Reform, in the same manner that unions and other organizations accept the same kind of sponsorships from companies.

"The notion that Gov. Jeb Bush, who has spent the past 20 years as a passionate advocate for education reform, is profiting from this involvement is beyond ridiculous. He has devoted thousands of hours to this cause without compensation.

"We believe families, particularly low-income families, are best served when they can choose the best schools for their children. We believe digital technology will revolutionize education, something already taking place at the university level.

"Students have achieved remarkable success as a result of these education reforms. And, we take great pride in that."

[Last modified: Thursday, January 31, 2013 12:56pm]


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