Press Release

AFT, AFT Indiana File Request for All Communications Between Tony Bennett, Jeb Bush’s Foundation, ALEC

For Release: 

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Marcus Mrowka
202-531-0689 (cell)

Coincides with Bennett-Backer Jeb Bush's Keynote at ALEC Meeting in Chicago

WASHINGTON— In a call for increased transparency and accountability, the AFT and AFT Indiana today filed public information requests for all communications between former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education, ALEC and others since 2009. The request also includes for-profit education companies that fund Bush's foundation and ALEC, including Charter Schools USA, the for-profit charter provider that employs Bennett's wife.

The action comes on the heels of Bennett's resignation as Florida education commissioner, after news broke that he manipulated the ALEC model school grading system for donors in Indiana. And it coincides with Bennett-backer Jeb Bush's keynote address at ALEC's annual meeting in Chicago. Bennett was a founding member of Bush's Chiefs for Change, which promotes ALEC model legislation to privatize and profit off of public schools.

"Tony Bennett put backroom deals and favors for political donors ahead of the children of Indiana," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "The people of Indiana deserve to know how deep this cronyism went and the real connections between Bennett, Jeb Bush and ALEC. Public education should be about helping children, not donors."

Rick Muir, president of AFT Indiana, added, "We now know that Tony Bennett used his position to rig the game for his donors while punishing and sanctioning public school children and teachers. He not only undermined the public's trust in our schools, he betrayed his duty to help all children succeed. We need full transparency and accountability so that we can move forward and give Indiana's children the education they deserve."

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.