This piece is cross-posted at B-Town Errant, Indiana’s new and most progressive anti-corporate magazine. Please check it out.
A few weeks after I criticized EdisonLearning’s invitation to Indiana, Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and Mitch Daniels have welcomed yet another Jeb Bush crony, Jonathan Hage, CEO of Florida-based for-profit education management company Charter Schools USA (CS USA), to possibly administrate our so-called “failing schools.” Although IDOE’s Dale Chu testifies that plenty of “drilling” took place in selecting the turnaround companies which have landed on the final list, Jeb Bush’s DNA is embedded in the deals.
Jeb Bush has hyped his anti-public school operations in Indiana for years now. In 2009, he spoke at the Bill Gates-Fordham Foundation sponsored Indiana Education Roundtable, whose representatives include Carol D’Amico, a former George W. Bush-appointed National Board for Education Sciences board member. This year, Jeb picked Tony Bennett to boss his D.C.-based corporate school reform group, Chiefs for Change, alongside former Edison Schools’ Chris Cerf (now New Jersey’s commissioner of education) who profited handsomely when the then-Florida governor bought out the company’s failing stock with teachers’ retirement funding, a maneuver sticking state pensioners to this day with a $182 million investment in a company out to destroy public education and unions.
And Jeb even endorsed Mitch Daniels for president.
Like Daniels (who followed George H.W. Bush to Eli Lilly), CS USA’s Jonathan Hage pals around with the Bush family. Hage speech-wrote for George H. W. Bush’s 1992 presidential campaign, later joining the 2004 Bush/Cheney National Steering Committee as an educational talking head. A former defense agent for the right-wing Heritage Foundation and past director of research for Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future, Hage helped develop Liberty City Charter School, the first charter in Florida, which was sponsored by Jeb and Miami Urban League’s T. Willard Fair. At Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education’s D.C. summit, Hage—the once-Green Beret officer—paneled “The War on Charter Schools: Combating the Emerging Threats to Public School Choice,” while Tony Bennett sat on the “Top Gun Teachers” panel with touters for anti-teacher seniority groups like Teach for America and Troops for Teachers. Read the rest of this entry →