Teaching Profession

AFT Goes After Emails About Tony Bennett, ALEC, Jeb Bush’s Group

By Michele McNeil — August 08, 2013 1 min read
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Cross-posted from Politics K-12

Looks like we’ll be reading even more of Tony Bennett’s emails from when he served as Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction.

The American Federation of Teachers—and its Indiana affiliate—have filed public records requests in the Hoosier State for emails between Bennett and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education. In addition, the unions want emails to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council and for-profit education companies that fund Bush’s foundation and ALEC.

Perhaps never before has there been so much interest in Bennett’s emails.

It all started with an Associated Press investigation last month, buoyed by emails from Bennett’s Indiana state superintendent’s account that showed he sought to change the state’s grading system in a way that benefited a charter school.

Then, in a story today, another Indiana journalist used emails to show that Bennett sent several of what the article describes as “rude” or “demeaning” emails regarding his November 2012 election opponent, Democrat Glenda Ritz, who bested him in the November election. (Bennett’s election defeat put him on the road to Florida, where he took over as that state’s schools chief in December. He resigned last week from the Florida job after the AP investigation.)

In announcing today’s records request, AFT President Randi Weingarten said, “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.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.