KAREN R. EFFREM, MD, EDUCATION LIBERTY WATCH
Editor’s Note: Originally Published: Feb 26, 2015
Former governor and potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush held a closed fundraiser and an open education forum in Tallahassee, Florida on February 11th. Many on both sides of the aisle have concerns about that candidacy. He has been protested by anti-Common Core groups and Republican activists. The Florida Bad Ass Teachers (BATs) and the Democrat Party will be protesting the event tomorrow.
Other potential Republican presidential candidates are criticizing Bush’s support for Common Core:
Ted Cruz was on ABC’s This Week and said:
…”Trust these moms,” Jindal said. “I have more confidence in the moms in this room than I do in any collection of bureaucrats.”
Multiple exposés have been published in recent weeks discussing his questionable education and business dealings. During that time, Bush dismissed the conservatives in Iowa, the first caucus state in the nation skipping a major gathering of potential presidential candidates. Several 2016 polls have come out in in the last few weeks since that Iowa Freedom Summit showing that Jeb Bush is having major problems. Here are some examples:
Bloomberg – 2/3 of likely Iowa Caucus goers think Common Core and immigration are deal breakers or would have to think about about those issues when considering Jeb Bush
Drudge Among over 440,000 online votes on the Drudge Report website, Bush only managed to garner 4% of the vote, with anti-Common Core potential candidates Governor Scott Walker with 44%, Senator Ted Cruz at 13%, and Senator Rand Paul at 12% dominating the field. Governor Chris Christie, also pro-Common Core only received 1% of that vote.
Public Policy Polling – Jeb Bush is tied for the lead in North Carolina with Scott Walker and Ben Carson, but the polling firm notes a strong rise in Bush negatives since his announcement in December:
The Washington Post again reviewed the all too cozy connections between Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education and major textbook, testing, and software companies who are reaping or will reap hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars from the Common Core standards, tests, curriculum, and data collection system. Here are some example quotes:
The foundation has, for instance, pushed states to embrace digital learning in public schools, a costly transition that often requires new software and hardware. Many of those digital products are made by donors to Bush’s foundation, including Microsoft, Intel, News Corporation, Pearson PLC and K12 Inc.
The foundation has helped its corporate donors gain access to state education officials through a committee called Chiefs for Change, composed of as many as 10 officials from mostly Republican-led states who convene at the foundation’s annual meeting. The meetings include private two-hour gatherings with the chiefs and company executives.
The article also covered the foundation’s close ties to Pearson, the textbook and testing giant with ties to Libya and publisher of extremely biased pro-Islamic textbooks, and other education corporations. Pearson’s World History textbook has been the subject of much controversy in Marion, Volusia, Palm Beach, and Charlotte counties. The Pearson text is the most conservative of the three and yet it has 36 pages of Islam and only a paragraph or two each about Christianity and Judaism.
In most of the states where the education chiefs have worked closely with the foundation, K12 Inc. and Pearson, have established virtual charter schools, in which students take their courses online and tax money flows to the companies.Jeff Kwitowski, a spokesman for K12 Inc., wrote in an e-mail that the company, based in Herndon, Va., donates to Bush’s foundation because it shares a goal of “expanding opportunities for children and choices for parents.” Brandon Pinette, a spokesman for Pearson, declined to answer questions about whether the company has benefited from its relationship with Bush’s foundation. He said the company has a “long, proud history of investing in and across the U.S., and this work includes a sponsorship of a variety of education organizations focused on improving learning.”
Bowen, who resigned as Maine’s education commissioner in 2013, said in an interview that donors to Bush’s foundation did not have “unusual” access to state decision-makers. But he acknowledged that the intertwining of policy and corporate interests is a reality of how education policy is crafted.
Bush is a rare remaining GOP champion of the Common Core, and his foundation has secured $5.2 million since 2010 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the primary funder of the campaign to promote the standards…… Among the top donors in 2014, giving $500,000 to $1 million, was News Corporation, which owns a firm called Amplify that markets tablets, software and data analysis to school districts. News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch delivered a keynote speech to the Bush foundation’s annual meeting in 2011, when Amplify rolled out its tablet, saying it was time to “tear down an education system designed for the 19th century and replace it with one suited for the 21st.” The donor lists show that the foundation has drawn funding from a wide range of sources, including Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charity arm of former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), and the Walton Family Foundation, a major backer of charter schools. The Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust gave the foundation $2.3 million in 2013, primarily because of its advocacy for digital education and the Common Core, said Rich McKeon, its education program director…
…Corporate donors also include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a large testing company, [Note: This company is the publisher of Go Math which is used extensively for Common Core math teaching and PARCC test prep in Florida even though Florida has switched to the Florida Standards Assessment by the American Institutes for Research] and the Educational Testing Service, which administers advanced-placement tests and English proficiency tests and has $43 million in contracts to develop tests connected to the Common Core. Another donor, McGraw Hill Education, sells math and reading programs and classroom materials aligned to the Common Core standards, among other products.
Another article by Bloomberg, titled Jeb Bush has a Mitt Romney problem, discussed Bush’s other financial dealings, including with failed Lehman brothers and a Communist Chinese conglomerate and how they will likely hurt him in a presidential campaign:
Documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 27 list Bush as chairman and manager of a new offshore private equity fund, BH Global Aviation, which raised $61 million in September, largely from foreign investors. In November the fund incorporated in the United Kingdom and Wales–a structure, several independent finance lawyers say, that operates like a tax haven by allowing overseas investors to avoid U.S. taxes and regulations. BH Global Aviation is one of at least three such funds Bush has launched in less than two years through his Coral Gables, Fla., company, Britton Hill Holdings. He’s also chairman of a $26 million fund, BH Logistics, established in April with backing from a Chinese conglomerate, and a $40 million fund involved in shale oil exploration, according to documents filed in June and first reported on by Bloomberg News……In the wake of Romney’s bruising 2012 loss, however, Bush’s overseas funds, mysterious investors, and foreign entanglements could prove harder to overcome. As a budding private equity mogul, he’s begun to resemble a Mini-Mitt. Bush declined to be interviewed for this article.“Running as the second coming of Mitt Romney is not a credential that’s going to play anywhere, with Republicans or Democrats,” says John Brabender, a Republican consultant and veteran of presidential campaigns. “Not only would this be problematic on the campaign trail, I think it also signals someone who isn’t seriously looking at the presidency or he wouldn’t have gone down this path…”
…Soon after his tenure as governor ended, Bush became an adviser to Lehman Brothers and, later, Barclays. As Lehman faltered during the 2008 financial crisis, he was called upon to use his family connections to try and broker a rescue from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. The plan, code-named Project Verde, was unsuccessful. At one point, according to testimony in Lehman’s bankruptcy case, Lehman Chief Executive Officer Richard Fuld considered asking Bush to have his brother, President George W. Bush, intervene on the company’s behalf with the British government, which was blocking a potential merger with a British bank…
…In turn, Bush and his partners get a chance to profit from China’s insatiable appetite for energy. On July 25, Dorian announced a “memo of understanding” with HNA Group and explained in a presentation to investors that this would “enhance Dorian LPG’s access to the Chinese market and Chinese LPG importers, significantly improving its access in this growing market…”
…Bush’s newest fund, BH Global Aviation, is his largest and most complicated. It deepens his financial ties to China and Hainan. Controlled by Bush through a U.S. holding company, it’s set up to receive money from foreign investors. (Emphasis added).
Education Liberty Watch and its project organization, The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition will continue to join with organizations across the country to make sure that primary voters in every state understand especially the education concerns related to Jeb Bush’s potential presidential candidacy.
The Moral Liberal Guest Contributor, Dr. Karen Effrem, is President of Education Liberty Watch, is a pediatrician, researcher, and conference speaker. Dr. Effrem’s medical degree is from Johns Hopkins University and her pediatric training from the University of Minnesota. She has provided testimony for Congress, as well as in-depth analysis of numerous pieces of major federal education, health, and early childhood legislation for congressional staff, state legislatures, and many organizations. Dr. Effrem serves on the boards of national organizations Education Liberty Watch and the Alliance for Human Research Protection. Dr. Effrem and her husband, Paul, have three children.
Used with the permission of Education Liberty Watch.