Press Release

AFT to File Request in Florida for All Communications Between Tony Bennett and Jeb Bush's Foundation, ALEC

For Release: 

Monday, August 12, 2013


Marcus Mrowka
202-531-0689 (cell)

AFT President Randi Weingarten 1 p.m. Media Availability at Sun Life Stadium, Enter Gate E, Club level

Miami—In a continued push for transparency, the AFT today announced it was filing public information requests in Florida for all communications of former Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett and other former education commissioners with Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education, the American Legislative Exchange Council and others since 2011. 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. Last week, the AFT and AFT Indiana filed similar requests in Indiana.

The announcement comes as AFT President Randi Weingarten visits Florida to meet with AFT members who are working with parents and the community to reclaim the promise of public education.

"Public education is a public good, and taxpayers, parents, teachers and others who rely on our public schools are entitled to full transparency around the decisions and actions made regarding our schools—whether in Indiana or here in Florida," said Weingarten. "We need to reclaim the promise of public education to help all children reach their full potential. Tony Bennett betrayed that promise when he put backroom deals and favors for political donors ahead of the children of Indiana. Creating full transparency will ensure continued confidence and trust in our public schools."

"Just as teachers welcome accountability, we believe everyone who the holds the pubic trust should be held accountable," said UTD President Fedrick C. Ingram. "But this issue provides another opportunity to have real conversations with teachers about what our kids need to get the best possible education."

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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.