Former Bush Education Official to Head Digital Learning Initiative

John Bailey, who held a number of policy-related positions within the George W. Bush administration, was named executive director of the Digital Learning Now campaign, part of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. As you may know, the foundation is founded by Bush’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Bailey is a director and co-founder at Whiteboard Advisors, a policy consulting group that focuses mostly on education. He will stay on as a senior adviser. He’ll have a full plate: Last month Bailey was named to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s team of education policy advisers.

Bailey was the director of educational technology for the U.S. Department of Education and a policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Commerce under President Bush and also worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Foundation for Excellence in Education is a nonprofit group that advises lawmakers on education policy, typically pushing for expansion of charter schools, private school vouchers, and data-driven instruction. Digital Learning Now is an initiative that will focus on bringing technology-friendly education policy to states (here’s how the group rates each state on its digital learning environment).

There’s no secret about what kind of education policies the Foundation for Excellence in Education supports and that those policies are typically more attractive to those on the Republican side of party lines. Digital Learning Now is an initiative of the Digital Learning Council, which was co-created by Jeb Bush and former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise, a Democrat. The council includes a large, eclectic group of members of various political affiliation. So it will be interesting to see if there is any crossover between Bailey’s role shaping digital learning policy with Digital Learning Now and doing the same as an adviser for Romney.

When Romney unveiled his education policy last month, there was little reference to technology besides support for school choice that included virtual schools.

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