If there’s anyone left who’s not convinced that Jeb Bush is one of the biggest enemies of public education in the United States, a quick glance at his twitter page should confirm what the rest of us already know.
One clue is this August 9th tweet, which came on the heels of his attendance at the annual ALEC conference in Chicago:
At the ALEC convention, Bush, the consummate Common Core cheerleader, spoke in defense of the much-debated implementation of the standards—even when it meant making his ALEC pals, who aren’t all happy about the reach of the CCSS, shift uncomfortably in their seats. In the grand scheme of things, though, Jeb and ALEC hold hands when it comes to education reform: “The mission of ALEC’s Education Task Force is to promote excellence in the nation’s educational system, to advance reforms through parental choice, to support efficiency, accountability, and transparency in all educational institutions, and to ensure America’s youth are given the opportunity to succeed.”
While this statement is troublingly misleading as a whole, the most deceitful claim is that ALEC advocates for “transparency in all educational institutions”—especially given the fact that Jeb Bush, along with all of his friends in the reform community, promote reliance on high-stakes tests that nobody is allowed to see and refuse to fault Tony Bennett for his underhanded and covert attempts to misrepresent the success (failure) of the Christel House Academy charter school.
Here, Bush sings the praises of the now-disgraced Bennett: (Perhaps this tweet inspired Bennet to find the words for his now-publicized pre-resignation email in which he professed his love for Bush and Mitch Daniels.)
Then there’s the ridiculous attack on Matt Damon’s decision to enroll his children in LA private schools, no doubt to keep them out of the very schools that are underfunded, overtested, and plagued by Bush’s own damaging reforms. In a gross perversion of the real issue, Jeb Bush attempts to claim that public school advocates who believe strongly in the institution itself are elitists if they choose to pay to send their children to private schools and are NOT the supporters of public education they claim to be if they identify–and wish to avoid–problems in those schools.
A little further down on the twitter page, Bush shows his coziness with the folks at Parent Revolution, posting a link to a PoloticalPro article entitled “First public school seized by parents set to open.” How anyone can think that a school “seized by parents” will function as well as one operated by career educators is mind-boggling, yet Jeb is insistent that parent trigger laws are the way to go.
Then there’s the 6/28 love-fest exchange between Jeb and public education enemy Scott Walker in which Walker thanks Bush for joining a “conference call to talk about education reform,” and Bush responds by thanking Walker for “being a bold advocate for student-centered education reform.” (If “student-centered” is code for “teacher-bashing,” “union-busting,” “standardized,” “punitive,” or “for-profit,” then I get what he’s trying to say.)
But my favorite is a 5/31 tweet that links followers with a “Must read for those who want the facts.” The article, posted by Foundations for Excellence in Education (“Founded by Jeb Bush, the Foundation for Excellence in Education is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering excellence in education across America”) addresses claims about the Common Core and then “corrects” those claims with “facts.” Here’s the best:
Claim: “It’s not only public schools that must obey the fed’s dictates. Common Core will control the curriculum of charter schools, private schools, religious schools, Catholic schools and homeschooling.”
Fact: While the Common Core Standards are internationally benchmarked, rigorous, clear and straightforward enough to lend themselves easily to voluntary adoption by charter schools, private and faith-based schools and home schools, these entities will continue to have maximum flexibility on how and what they teach their kids.
So don’t worry! If you don’t like the CCSS, home school your kids or enroll your kids in a charter, private, or faith-based school–because those schools “will continue to have maximum flexibility on how and what they teach their kids”!
I haven’t been able to bring myself to push the “follow” button and receive Jeb-y updates on my home screen, but I did find checking on Jeb’s twitter page to be a good exercise in determining whether deep breathing really is an effective means for controlling blood pressure. The page is also sprinkled with shout-outs to Peter Flanigan, Rich Crandall, Lebron James, and the “World’s greatest dad!”, some thinly-veiled self-promotion (while FL grad rates increased 23% over a decade, the nation only averaged a 7.9% increase”–6/6) and it even shows Jeb’s interest in international education relations through his 5/13 tweet (and attached link) that “Mexico will flourish if the teacher union is reformed.”