Rhode Island FOIA Documents
Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) responded to the February 24, 2012, FOIA request on March 29, 2012, turning over 400 documents.
The information in the e-mails includes:
- In February 2012, Patricia Levesque, using her Foundation for Excellence in Education email address, urged state officials to introduce SendHub, a communications tool, into their state's schools. News reports indicate that Levesque's boss, Jeb Bush, was an investor in the startup by the fall of 2012.
- There is mention of a “talent bench” being organized by the FEE through consultants Townsend McNitt and Sarah Struhs. The latter has a Linkedin page which indicates she has been a consultant for the FEE since March 2012.
- An e-mail chain between RI Ed Commissioner Deborah Gist and Patricia Levesque shows Gist trying to obtain a funding grant from the Kern Foundation, which was denied because of the “political environment” in RI. Gist and Levesque seemed disappointed by this.
- An e-mail chain between Gist, Levesque and Fonda Anderson regarding an “AP project.”
- An email exchange in which the Chiefs for Change discuss who their “customers” are and what principles they believe in that best serve students, their “customers.” A Chief, Indiana’s Tony Bennett, dismisses other education policy stakeholders as not worthy of the Chiefs' focus and writes, “I hope we get back to the righteous indignation we all had when we put this group together because we think not about our 'friends' or 'enemies'during our discussions and action”