Former Aide to Jeb Bush Named to New Mexico Schools Post

By Sean Cavanagh — December 29, 2010 1 min read
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This week I have a story describing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s hefty influence on education policy among state governors and lawmakers around the country, particularly like-minded conservatives. One state that’s not mentioned in the article that could soon be touched by Bush’s ideas is New Mexico, where one of his former aides, Hanna Skandera, has been picked as the state’s next education secretary.

Skandera would go to work for New Mexico’s Republican governor-elect, Susana Martinez. In Florida, Skandera focused on issues such as improving middle schools, creating incentives for high school performance, and ending “social promotions,” generally defined as moving students from grade-to-grade without ensuring that they have the necessary academic skills.

During his two terms as governor, Bush pioneered a number of bold and controversial policies, which included launching new private-school voucher programs, expanding charter schools, and implemented tougher testing policies, which included giving individual schools A-F grades.

In a statement, Bush called Skandera a “passionate, effective advocate for improving student achievement.”

Skandera’s resume also includes stints with the U.S. Department of Education, the administration of Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and time spent as an adviser to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, according to the AP.

What’s in store for New Mexico’s schools, with Skandera at the helm?

Photo of Skandera, left, with Gov. elect Susana Martinez on Dec. 21 in Albuquerque, N.M., by Jim Thompson /Albuquerque Journal/AP.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.