President Barack Obama hasn’t even been inaugurated yet, and the Village is already talking about how awesome his successor Jeb Bush is going to be. Here’s the problem with that little dynastic disaster: Jebby here has this little albatross around his neck shaped like a school and pile of dollars set on fire.
Many of his admirers cite Bush’s success in Florida as reason enough to get behind him.
But a close examination raises questions about the depth and durability of the gains in Florida. After the dramatic jump of the Bush years, Florida test scores edged up in 2009 and then dropped, with low-income students falling further behind. State data shows huge numbers of high school graduates still needing remedial help in math and reading.
And some of the policies Bush now pushes, such as vouchers and mandatory online classes, have no clear links to the test-score bump in Florida. Bush has been particularly vigorous about promoting online education, urging states to adopt policies written with input from companies that stand to profit from expanded cyber-schooling.
Many of those companies also donate to Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, which has raised $19 million in recent years to promote his agenda nationwide.
Sherman Dorn, a professor of education at the University of South Florida, says some of Bush’s policies as governor, such as an intense focus on teaching reading, made a real difference to Florida students. “It’s pretty clear Governor Bush should get credit for giving a damn,” he said. But by teaming with for-profit corporations to push cyber-schools, which have produced dismally low test scores in many states, Bush is “throwing away whatever credibility he had coming out of Florida,” Dorn said.
The long and the short of it is Jeb’s foundation is built around turning public schools into online diploma mills, only even fewer student would actually graduate as a result. Think about the kind of scam where you eliminate the teachers, the school building, the school workers, hold classes “online” and pocket the difference. That’s Jeb’s future of education, something so awful even Rick Scott couldn’t get it passed, in Florida, with a GOP super-majority. Voters told Scott to go to hell when it came to allowing vouchers to go to religious schools when Scott then turned towards a crapton of crazy constitutional amendments, none of which passed (and few if any would have survived court challenges.)
Meanwhile, Jeb’s been working the corporate angle on this scheme with his buddies champing at the bit to get at all that education cash, and of course the plan is to turn all of America’s educational institutions into the the equivalent of Kaplan Online.
It’s time to bury any notion of this assclown being a viable 2016 candidate now. Unless scientists come up with a bush that grows pepper bacon on it, I don’t want to see another Bush as long as I live.