In September the newspaper described more than 1,000 documents that had been obtained concerning former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s role in promoting for-profit online learning schools with Maine’s educational commissioner, Steven Bowen, and Governor Paul LePage. The documents show that Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education was allowed to bring to Maine its Digital Learning Now! plan, which includes a requirement that all high school students take an online course before they can graduate. (The Indiana plan does the same thing and in Idaho, a law requires that two online courses be taken).
Bennett desires info on every Indiana teacher, so he can deem them “unaccountable” and replace them with Teach for America recruits on their temporary stop in the schools before they head off to Wall Street. He wants data on all students, so that he can declare schools as “broken” and package them up for the privatizers. But when it comes to passing cash onto friends of Jeb Bush and others who have donated to Bennett’s campaigns, like K12, Inc., Indiana’s supt. of public instruction and the IDOE feel it is not in their best interest to be examined.
Donald Cohen of the nonprofit In the Public Interest, which filed the FOIAs, told Martin:
We submitted these requests to discover the extent of private influence on education policy. They are refusing, stonewalling, even though they are clearly violating the state’s open records law. I can only wonder what they are hiding from Indiana voters.