Jeb Bush built up a pretty nice life for himself after he left Florida's governor's mansion. He snagged some cushy corporate gigs to bring home the bacon and continued his public policy work through his involvement with various foundations. Most notably, he set up his own Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) to advance his ideas on education reform.
Then a bunch of GOP donor billionaires came knocking and told Bush it might be a good idea if he ran for president. They sweetened the deal with millions upon millions of dollars in super PAC financing. What followed, of course, was one of the most spectacular falls in modern American politics. Bush went from well-financed frontrunner to Donald Trump roadkill in just a matter of months.
Now the guy is just trying to pick up the pieces and get his life back together. He announced today that he'll start by taking over FEE.
Bush founded the think tank shortly after leaving office and led it until January 2015 when he began his run for president. Old family friend Condoleezza Rice was called in to lead the organization in the interim.
Bush is now back in charge as chairman and president of its board of directors.
“One of the greatest challenges and opportunities we have in America today is to create a 21st-century education system that ensures all students have the skills, teachers, and educational options they need to succeed in life,” Bush said in a statement. “Too many children right now are failed by a deeply flawed bureaucratic system, but I’m optimistic about the future because I’ve seen the great results produced by states across the country. It is an honor to rejoin ExcelinEd as we continue to support states in bringing choice, innovation and accountability to the classroom. I am thankful to Dr. Rice and this exceptional board for their leadership over the past year.”
So what does FEE do, exactly?
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The group's proposals range from advocacy for charter schools, an emphasis on online schools, evaluation teachers based on performance while eliminating tenure, grading schools on a scale from A-F, and measuring students based on the results of standardized testing. Basically, the reforms Bush brought (or tried to bring) to Florida's school system as governor.
Of course, critics from the left see the group's goals as amounting to an attack on teacher's unions and siphoning public money into private, for-profit schools.
In any event, Bush is back in the same exact office he left before trying to attain that storied Oval one in the White House and back on his mission to bringing Florida-style education reform to the rest of the world.