Former Jeb Bush education adviser gets dubious distinction

Former Gov. Jeb Bush’s top policy advisor on education, Matthew Ladner, recently got a national award. Just not the kind a policy advisor welcomes.

Ladner won the “Get a Life(time) Achievement Award” from the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

It was the first time an individual won a Bunkum Award. The center reserves them for “the most compellingly lousy educational research.”

Ladner is the senior advisor of policy and research for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Bush chairs the influential nonprofit, which supports market-based education reforms like school vouchers and charter schools.

After reviewing his work, the center determined Ladner’s analyses would “be less deceptive if they were selling prime Florida swampland.”

In a blog post, Ladner gave credit to his boss. “It was Governor Bush and his team of fearless reformers who ignored the wailing howls of K-12 reactionaries and forced through a set of reforms that improved Florida education steadily over time.”

Ladner later said in a statement the center has ignored flaws in its own theories about Florida’s education system. “NEPC has made it impossible for me to take them seriously, and I am therefore happy to accept their award,” he wrote.