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Orlando Sentinel Columnist Goes to Work for Jeb Bush Foundation

by Susan Ohanian

This news item from the Orlando Sentinel School Zone blog caught my eye.

In case you missed it, former Orlando Sentinel columnist has gone to work for one of former Gov. Jeb Bush's education [sic] foundations.

Yesterday, he introduced himself on the Foundation for Excellence in Education's Edfly blog.

In the blog post, Thomas describes his transformation from a critic and skeptic to a believer in many of the current education reform strategies Bush advocates. I figured that might interest our readers.

Thomas describes himself of "a critic" of Bush strategies? Not according to the two columns he wrote which I posted on this site.

Columnist Says Don't Write Off Importance of Testing

FCAT a successful reform tool, and no poll changes that

NOTE: It is well worth reading Florida public school counselor Bill Archer's deconstruction of this Mike Thomas column.

And here's a reader's summary: No real surprise here. My biggest complaint about Mike Thomas as a collumnist was how much of a JEB Bush apologist and sychophant he was.

Another Orlando Sentinel blog, Central Florida Political Pulse, was more critical of Thomas, noting that as a "top voice for the Sentinel, he was "friendly to the education reforms championed by Bush."

Former Sentinel columnist, Jacobs advisor lands job with Jeb Bush

Former Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Thomas, who had recently taken a job as a top adviser to Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, has left to take a post with the education foundation run by past Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

As a top voice for the Sentinel, Thomas was friendly to the education reforms championed by Bush. And when he unexpectedly left the Sentinel in 2011, Thomas initially went to work for the Orange County School District. Jacobs hired him away this year, hoping to tap his abilities to master complex policy issues.

Thomas declined to comment. Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education is regarded as a major policy player in Florida when it comes to schools.

His foundation, which lists $6 million in revenues for 2010 on tax records, has also been slammed for conflicts of interest related to that influence, especially in the budding world of digital learning. Read more here. . . .

We should put a [sic] after 'education' when discussing outfits like Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education (sic). Bush isn't after excellence in education. He's for excellence in money accumulation from bombarding schools with technological fixes that reduce teacher professionalism and standardize education to the point that no humans need be present--other than a clerk making sure children keep staring at the computer screens.

If you think the foundation is about benefiting students, ask yourself why there is not one educator on the board of directors. The Team includes a number of operatives who advocate for school choice--as well as someone with these credits: worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as serving as a top technology and innovation advisor to the Secretary of Commerce. He also served as the nation's second Director of Educational Technology.

It's all about technology, stupid.

— Susan Ohanian
comment on Orlando Sentinel blog




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