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There's been plenty of talk about retaking our jobs from Texas; forming our oil regulations in Texas' image, etc. But as Gov. Susana Martinez' newly appointed Public Education Department advisory team illustrates, Florida--at least education-wise--may also be in our future.
It's fitting, almost, that as the clamor for continuing the oh-so-successful Bush dynasty (Jeb 2012!) begins, New Mexico would join the party.
Of the 9 members hand-picked to advise New Mexico's Public Education Department, more than half worked with former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush to implement that state's controversial education reforms, beginning in 1999.
Of the other four, three have ties to President George W. Bush, Jeb's brother.
The Democratic Party of New Mexico has already raised one alarm: Not a single one of the appointees is from New Mexico. That's tough, especially considering Martinez' nominee for Education Secretary, Hanna Skandera, is also from Florida. (In at least one case, the "advisors" below have already been...well, advising her.)
But the advisory team members share another characteristic: They're awfully Bushy, and many of them appear to have more expertise in hard data and communications than in the actual nitty-gritty of educating kids. (Then again, maybe that's appropriate.)
To help make sense of it all, we've annotated the Guv's bios with some background, as well as parsing them into a handy ranking system.
Each of the nine advisory-board appointees is assigned a number, from 1 to 5, in three categories: GOP cred, Bush cred and education cred. 1 represents the least cred (credentials or connections, depending on the category); 5 represents the most.
Have fun, kids! And let us know what you think of our not-quite-as-arbitrary-as-you-might-think rating system.
Martinez bio: " John Bailey is advising the Department on a wide range of education policy and technology issues. John is currently the Director of Whiteboard Advisors and serves as co-publisher of Education Insider. He most recently served at the White House as part of former President George W. Bush’s Domestic Policy Council, where he was responsible for coordinating education and labor issues. He has also worked on education policy at the state and federal level, as well as with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He was also an ex-officio member of the U.S. Department of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education in 2006. From 1995 to 2001, as the nation’s second Director of Educational Technology and Pennsylvania’s first Director of Educational Technology, John spearheaded the development of several initiatives to expand online learning and improve the use of technology and data in education. "
GOP cred: NA (too many people named John Bailey to check campaign finance docs)
Bush cred: 4
Ed cred: 3
Martinez bio: " Kristy Campbell is advising the Department on communications, legislative and public engagement strategies. Kristy previously served as the Communications Director for former Governor Jeb Bush’s two non-profit education policy organizations, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national 501c3 focused on advancing education reform in states across America, and the Foundation for Florida’s Future, a state-based 501c4 education advocacy group. She was also Press Secretary to Governor Bush, serving as his chief spokeswoman and assisting in overseeing the Bush/Jennings Administration’s public messaging and outreach at 18 state agencies, including the Florida Department of Education. Kristy most recently worked as the communications director for a gubernatorial campaign in Florida. "
GOP cred: 5 (in addition to being a spokesperson for Jeb Bush and the Florida gubernatorial also-ran, Republican Bill McCollum; Campbell also donated $750 to Florida Republicans between 2007-10)
Bush cred: 4
Ed cred: 2
Martinez bio: " Chad Colby is advising the Department on education policy, federal compliance and communications issues. Chad is a communications strategist and a veteran of education reform campaigns and implementation. Chad’s experience in education started in the Florida Department of Education at the same time the state adopted Governor Jeb Bush’s “A [ ] Plan.” The first-of-its-kind plan instituted a school grading system with a strong accountability measures. Later, he joined the U.S. Department of Education where he managed the media affairs office and all events for the Secretary. Chad most recently worked as a communications advisor to a gubernatorial campaign in Florida. "
GOP cred: 5 (Colby was a spokesman for Florida conservative Gov. Rick Scott and donated $500 to the GOP in 2009-10)
Bush cred: 3
Ed cred: 2 (according to this bio, Colby seems like more of a press guy than an education guru)
Catherine Freeman, Ph.D.
Martinez bio: "Catherine Freeman, Ph.D., is advising the Department on operational functions and education policy, including management, organizational structure and corresponding budget and legislative issues. Catherine is currently a Senior Associate with HCM Strategists, LLC. Catherine's vast experience in K-12 education, from the local to the federal level, gives her a wide-angle lens on education issues and a strong footing in both policy research and practice. Before joining HCM, Catherine was Chief of Staff to the State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia. She has served in senior roles at the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education, where she was Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. There she managed the office’s implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, including its accountability and assessment provisions. Catherine earned a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, a master’s of education from the University of Texas-Austin, and a doctorate in philosophy from Vanderbilt University, where she currently teaches a course in federal policy development and implementation."
GOP cred: 3 ($500 in campaign donations to Republicans in 2007-08)
Bush cred: 2 (hired to the US Dept. of Education during W's first term)
Ed cred: 5, but with a lot of focus on the controversial No Child Left Behind Act
Martinez bio: " Terrell Halaska is advising the Department on a wide range of education policy and organizational issues. Terrell is a founder of HCM Strategists, LLC. Terrell previously served as the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education for Legislation and Congressional Affairs, where she led the team negotiating reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Higher Education Act. Prior to joining the Department of Education during former President George W. Bush’s Administration, she served in the White House as special assistant to the president for domestic policy, advising the president, domestic policy advisor, and other senior staff. "
GOP cred: 5 ($3,625 to Republican candidates over the past 5 years)
Bush cred: 4
Ed cred: 5 (again, extensive, but heavy in what many call a failed system)
Christy Hovanetz, Ph.D.
Martinez bio: "Christy Hovanetz, Ph. D., is advising the Department on a wide range of
education reform policy issues, including assessment and accountability
initiatives. Christy is currently a Senior Policy Fellow for the Foundation for
Excellence in Education. She previously served as the Assistant Commissioner at
the Minnesota Department of Education and Assistant Deputy Commissioner at the
Florida Department of Education. She has worked in education policy for the
state of Florida since 1999, serving as the Director of Evaluation and
Reporting, Director of Reading First and a Policy Analyst for former Governor
Jeb Bush. She graduated summa cum laude from St. Cloud State University with a
Bachelor of Science Degree in Education with a minor in mathematics and is a
certified teacher in the state of Minnesota. Christy earned her Masters of Public
Administration at the University of Minnesota and a Doctor of Philosophy in
Public Administration and Policy at The Florida State University.
GOP cred: 2
Bush cred: 3
Ed cred: 4
Martinez bio: " Jay Pfeiffer is advising the Department on data quality issues, including measures to upgrade and improve New Mexico’s Student-Teacher Accountability Reporting System (STARS). Jay is currently The Program Director of the State Longitudinal Data Program of MPR Associates, Inc. of Berkeley, California. In this role, he has advised and consulted with the Data Quality Campaign, the Aspen Institute, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Organization, several foundations and states. He received the Data Quality Campaign's only life-time achievement award and is recognized as an expert on the uses of state longitudinal data systems in informing policy and education business applications including planning, designing and implementing data systems, and connecting K12 data, post-secondary education and workforce data. He has more than 30 years of experience in using stat data to support education policy and research. Jay served as the Deputy Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education up until 2009. He also co-chaired the National Education Longitudinal Data Committee of the Council of Chief State School Officers and is a member of the Independent Advisory Panel for the National Assessment of Career and Technical Education. "
GOP cred: 1
Bush cred: 3
Ed cred: 5 (he knows his numbers)
David Saba (on right)
Martinez bio: "David Saba is advising the Department on education policy issues relating to teacher effectiveness, certification and licensure. David is the founder of DWSaba Consulting and previously served as Chief Executive Officer of the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE). He is directly responsible for dramatically increasing the teacher recruitment efforts at ABCTE, having grown enrollments by more than 300 percent and has seen the organization recruit over 9,500 potential teachers into its rigorous, self-paced online teaching certification program. Before joining ABCTE, David served as the Mid Atlantic Regional Director for Kaplan Test Prep."
GOP cred: 1
Bush cred: 2
Ed cred: 3
Martinez bio: " Jeff Sellers is advising the Department on a wide range of education policy and data quality issues. Jeff has 30 years of experience working for the state of Florida in a variety of Information System capacities including data management, data warehousing, information security, data base administration and data systems. He served most recently as the Deputy Commissioner in the Florida Department of Education. He was the director Florida’s PK20 Education Data Warehouse; a comprehensive data repository of education data spanning prekindergarten through post-secondary graduate level achievements; providing a seamless data link between Florida’s public PK-12, workforce education, community college and university systems. Jeff has served on multiple boards, advisory committees, and task forces for regional data centers and national organizations on issues of connecting and using data longitudinally across education sectors and with related agency services. "
GOP cred: 3 (Most of Sellers' $1,068 in campaign contributions went to PACs that supported unions and the financial sector, so they're not solidly on one side. He did, however, work for Bush in Florida.)
Bush cred: 3
Ed cred: 3
Photos courtesy of Good Magazine, the University of Minnesota, MPR Associates, DWSaba Consulting, Compensation Innovations, Whiteboard Advisers, HCM Strategists and Vanderbilt University.