by Max Brantley
I wish the following news conference had been held this morning.
Corporate Interests Pay to Play to Shape State Education Policy, Reap Profits
Emails Show Bush-Led Organization’s ALEC-Like Role in State Policymaking
Emails between the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), founded and chaired by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and state education officials show that the foundation is writing state education laws and regulations in ways that could benefit its corporate funders. Education advocates will host a press call TOMORROW, January 30th at 1:30pm EST to discuss these findings.
The emails, obtained through public records requests, reveal that the organization, sometimes working through its Chiefs For Change affiliate, wrote and edited laws, regulations and executive orders, often in ways that improved profit opportunities for the organization’s financial backers.
The emails conclusively reveal that FEE staff acted to promote their corporate funders’ priorities, and demonstrate the dangerous role that corporate money plays in shaping our education policy. Correspondence in Florida, New Mexico, Maine, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Louisiana paint a graphic picture of corporate money distorting democracy.
Please join us at 1:30pm EST on Wednesday, January 30 to learn more about how FEE staff is involved in shaping state education policy in order to benefit its corporate funders.
In the Public Interest will announce the new digital housing for all of the emails, which is accessible to parents, reporters, and the general public.
Corporate money shape education policy? Surely not in Arkansas. That panel underway at the noon hour featuring Jim Walton, Bill Dillard III, Claiborne Deming and Walter Hussman is just a bunch of humble grassroots activists. Their paid lobbyists, Luke Gordy and Laurie Lee? The Walton-funded school of "education reform" at the UA? The Walton-funded Public School Resource Center (which also enjoys public support)? The Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity? All the campaign contributions to Republican majorities on legislative education committees? More greenery. But I'm not talking about grass.