Regarding “Florida foundation's influence expands” (Tulsa World, Feb. 10): It's no surprise that In the Public Interest, a union-backed group, opposes the views and reform agenda of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd). The group has made numerous allegations against ExcelinEd, based on e-mail exchanges that it distorted and misinterpreted to advance its political agenda.
It is said that success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you encounter. Over the past 15 years, education reform has grown from a small, conservative movement to a national, bipartisan priority. Realizing the dire state of today's education system, parents, teachers, community leaders, businesses and policy organizations from both sides of the aisle have come together with the goal of improving education for all students.
States that have implemented bold reforms, like Oklahoma, are seeing more students reading at grade level, more high school graduates ready for college or careers, added transparency and accountability among schools, and a teaching profession that's on its way to becoming a more respected vocation through higher standards and expectations. The triumphs of a reform movement of this magnitude threaten the status quo and those who support the outdated, factory-model education system of the past.
ExcelinEd works with policymakers to advance proven reforms by sharing best practices and providing technical assistance as needed. We advocate for policies that benefit students, not the interests of for-profit or nonprofit entities. We believe families are best served when they can choose the best schools for their children, and that digital technology will revolutionize K-12 education — something already taking place at the university level.
Since our reform agenda is centered on students, a fundamental disagreement exists between our organization and groups that support adult-centric, public school monopolies that maximize union memberships. Still, it's disappointing when these groups engage in unfounded character attacks rather than focusing on the merits of reform policy.
Levesque is executive director of the Foundation for Excellence in Education.