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Florida NEA Funds Rod Paige, & More


K12networklogonew If you subscribed to Marc Dean Millot's New Education Economy, you'd already know about a new report from Eduventures on SES that describes how providers "hang on the whims of parents."  You'd know that the Florida teachers union (an NEA affiliate) gave Rod Paige's new outfit, the Chartwell Group, start-up funding via its pension fund investments. And you'd know which states made requests to modify their SY 2006 AYP calculations.And if you got his K12 Leads report, too, you'd have RFPs and other info coming out of your ears.


Are you sure that you're talking about the Florida Education Association as opposed to the Florida Retirement System? The latter is a state entity. (I assume that FEA has a pension fund that it administers for its own staff, but that would be small potatoes and not large enough to put any appreciable amount into any single venture and still be financially reponsible.)

good question, sherman. i'll check.

it's the state employees pension fund that teachers contribute to that funded paige,not a separate teachers pension fund, but that doesn't make the FL NEA any happier according to this item in the houston press:


The Florida Retirement System has a provision to invest part of its funds in venture capitalist efforts through Liberty Partners, a firm that was formed solely for this purpose. During the Jeb Bush years, this fund invested in a couple of dubious ventures including completely purchasing the red-ink-hemorrhaging Edison Schools, allowing it to go private (and escape public oversight). And it was the Florida Retirement System, through Liberty Partners, that invested heavily in Rod Paige's Chartwell. The Florida Education Association has spoken out loudly against both purchases.

The Florida Retirement System, through Liberty Partners, has been very secretive about its dealings. We're hoping that changes with the new administration that came into office this month in Florida.

Mark Pudlow
Florida Education Association

thanks for the explanation, mark -- much appreciated. do other states have similar situations? i'm imagining that they must.

Not really. Other states have better oversight of their retirement boards.

In Florida, the board is overseen by three elected officials -- the governor and two Cabinet members -- and in the Bush years, they were all Republicans. There was little oversight, though in all fairness, the retirement fund is well-funded -- in part because retirement payouts are hardly generous in Florida. But there has been great secrecy surrounding the investments over the past eight years, though it was revealed that the Florida Retirement System lost a ton of money on Enron as it was going down.

We hope the new administration will operate with more openness.

Mark Pudlow
Florida Education Association

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