Maintaining with Arkansas politics is tough sufficient; carving out mind area to tackle Florida’s nonstop shitshows appears unimaginable.
BUT! Florida public training advocate Billy Townsend (think about our personal Jim Ross, however with a suntan and a Substack) continues to plot Arkansas Schooling Secretary Jacob Oliva‘s ties to a sketchy bid-rigging plot to award a profitable privatization contract for Florida’s Jefferson County Colleges to Florida Division of Schooling insiders.
A state-level investigation cleared Oliva of any wrongdoing, however he’s named in a grand jury investigation that’s ongoing.
Oliva’s position in efforts by a Florida Division of Schooling worker and state faculty board member to capitalize on their very own privatization push by claiming tens of millions in public contract cash for themselves appears tangential, though Oliva has been criticized for not placing a cease to what seems so much like self-dealing amongst his employees and colleagues throughout his tenure as Florida’s chancellor of Ok-12 training.
Townsend is keeping tabs on this mess for us. Right here’s a snippet of his report from as we speak:
I nonetheless don’t assume individuals have internalized simply how big a political and training story the looming DoE/Jefferson grand jury is proper now — and the way a lot bigger it may turn into at any second.
The final three Florida Commissioners of Schooling are neck deep within the scandal underneath federal investigation. Two of these three had been additionally pillars of the corrupt Florida state authorities over the past decade. They’re:
- Richard Corcoran: Former Speaker of the Home, who oversaw the whole corrupt bid process on the coronary heart of the scandal, which was set as much as profit his outdated enterprise accomplice Trey Traviesa earlier than all of it got here crashing down. Corcoran is now the vastly overpaid president of the “anti-woke” grift previously referred to as New Faculty.
- Jacob Oliva: As Corcoran’s chancellor, ordered a subordinate to create bid specs for a supposedly competitive Request for Quote (RFQ) primarily based on a draft settlement with Traviesa’s firm, MGT. Oliva, who was the interim commissioner between Corcoran and Diaz, is now the highest training official in Arkansas.
- Manny Diaz: The present Commissioner of Schooling worked for the charter company school company (Academica/Somerset) that grifted and failed the children and people of Jefferson County. As a state senator, he steered the 2016 constitution contract and tons of additional cash to Academica/Somerset as a part of the failed Jefferson takeover.
Additionally of curiosity to Arkansans is Townsend’s scholarship on mass third grade retention of children who aren’t displaying studying proficiency.
The Sanders administration copies Florida in all issues, be it training coverage or government secrecy. The Arkansas LEARNS provision requiring public colleges to quickly start holding again third graders ought to they not present ample mastery of studying and writing is modeled on a Florida measure that’s confirmed to be a bust.
As Townsend places it, it is a surefire option to ship households fleeing from public colleges to keep away from repeating third grade:
It exists solely to:
- Assist Florida cheat on the 4th grade NAEP check earlier than its pretend early scores collapse in later grades.
- Promote vouchers to kids and households — “test refugees” — who don’t need to be held again in public colleges.
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