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Be aware of who is promoting education initiatives

This week in Charleston at the Education Alliance's Summit for Education, Jeb Bush's "Foundation for Excellence in Education" was the keynote speaker and their education reform initiatives were given top billing.

What was not mentioned were the ties between FEE and the American Legislative Exchange Council, the controversial corporate bill mill working on profitizing public education as reported by the nonprofit Center for Media and Democracy.

In addition, a nonprofit group, In the Public Interest, released thousands of emails that show how FEE is working with public officials in states to write education laws that could benefit some of its corporate funders.

Questions have also been raised about the success or failure of Jeb Bush's Florida reforms on which FEE makes many of its claims. But none of these questions were brought up at this week's event.

Instead, we heard a lot about FEE's agenda of school reform, which includes school choice, online education, retention of third-graders who can't read and school accountability systems based on standardized tests that include evaluating teachers based on student test scores and grading schools A through F based on test scores.

Our governor, state board, the media and other organizations involved in the public education conversation would be wise to dig much deeper into FEE and the Florida story before heading down this path.  

Tim McClung

Charleston


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