Bush Foundation for Excellence in Education: “Pay to Play, Reap profits”?

Corporate Interests Pay to Play to Shape Education Policy, Reap profits.

From In The Public Interest:

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 Gov. 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. 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.

“Testing companies and for-profit online schools see education as big business,” said In the Public Interest Chair Donald Cohen. “For-profit companies are hiding behind FEE and other business lobby organizations they fund to write laws and promote policies that enrich the companies.”

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.





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  • I appreciate the article. Thank you for sharing. I am disheartened to continuosuly learn that in individual schools, on the local, and national level individuals have found it necessary to profit extravagantly at the expense of student learning. Leadership with integrity has died. To read that laws & legislation are often established based upon filling pockets with dollar bills is not alarming. What is alarming is that public schools all over the country are challenged fundamentally by non-educators who spew mud into an already grimy situation. We want our children to learn and to definitely maintain a high standard. However, we have yet to meet the high standard. We have yet to provide the structure. The wrong organizations and leaders continue to take the reigns. It’s likely that as long as individuals find new avenues to line their pockets public education will never see the light. Now, also take into fact, that those public schools in communities of high socio-economic status are not affected directly. They seem to maintain, maybe slightly disgruntled. However, those schools in low socio-economic areas who have poor internal leadership, and local governments with little focus, those schools, families, communities remain clueless. There is a strong butterfly or domino effect, which ever you choose. Has anyone ever seen the movie “Idiocracy”. It’s over zealous, but not far fetched in theory.


  • Julian,

    I don’t think anyone would confuse me with any friend of Jeb’s, but there is a big difference between FEE’s acting just like an industry association in advocacy work — which is something they haven’t really hidden — and claiming that there is “pay to play” involved. Companies who do NOT contribute to FEE could benefit from the same advocacy work if they can win test contracts or online charters in individual states.

    Thus far, I haven’t seen anyone do the homework of finding an expert in non-profit management and law to see if the emails demonstrate any activity that violates either IRS regulations or standard non-profit management practices. That’s what’s required at this point.


    • @shermandorn Thanks for your comment. Posting on the FOIA’d FEE emails is a story I haven’t yet seen in the national news. I have re-blogged the email analysis for the readers of CI to determine if there is something fishy going on with FEE. Comments always welcome.


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