Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida left office last year after two terms with an education record that emphasized accountability, from a grading system for schools to merit pay for teachers.
Now he’s looking to extend that legacy with a new Florida foundation, which has among its priorities promoting the arts and hosting a statewide conference on education reform.
But the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s most controversial priority is raising money to give teachers bonuses based on student test scores. That mirrors the merit-pay program Mr. Bush pushed as governor, with mixed success.
Launched late last year, the nonprofit organization will offer cash awards to as many as 100 teachers a year whose students show gains on state tests. The first awards will be given next fall.
Foundation spokeswoman Tiffany Koenigkramer said the awards will be based entirely on test scores, and not on factors such as nominations or portfolios.
Mr. Bush isn’t the first governor to parlay his experience into his own foundation or policy group. Democrat James B. Hunt Jr., a former North Carolina governor, has the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, founded in 2001 and based in Chapel Hill, N.C.
More recently, another Democrat, incumbent Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, launched a foundation specializing in innovation in education, intended to carry on the agenda she started as chairwoman of the National Governors Association.
And Mr. Bush even has another foundation, of his own, the Foundation for Florida’s Future, which focuses on public policy and lobbying. By contrast, his new organization has a more philanthropic and programmatic focus, with an emphasis on fundraising and on creating and supporting reform initiatives.
A version of this article appeared in the January 30, 2008 edition of Education Week