Floridians Critique Jebucation

StaffFrom State Impact:

(Jeb) Bush views his policies as tough love. But Orlando’s Linda Kobert has another name for it: Jebucation.

Kobert founded the non-profit group Fund Education Now with her neighbors, Christine Bramuchi and Kathleen Oropeza.

The moms say they are organizing the French Resistance against Bush’s policies in his home state through e-mail and social media such as Twitter.

They cite research from Arizona State University and others which shows students who are held back are more likely to drop out of school.

The moms argue Bush’s policies have created the impression that Florida schools are failing. The goal is to reduce public funding for schools and increase the number of private companies operating schools and providing online classes, curriculum, books and other services, they said.

They note that former Bush colleagues are now spread throughout the education world. Brother Neil founded an online education company, Ignite! Learning.

Former deputies run large charter school companies, sit on Florida’s board of education and work for the federal department of education.

Bush is using the network and political muscle he developed while governor to push Florida lawmakers to try new ideas. Once tested in Florida, the ideas are shipped to other states.

“If it’s your playground and you have a chance to play in it, why not?” Oropeza said. So that’s what he’s doing.

“The problem is he’s using Florida as a Petri dish.”