Wagner announced on her Twitter account today that she's becoming the Vice President of Communications for the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice beginning on April 4. The Friedman Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Indianapolis that was founded in 1996 to advance school choice for all children throughout the United States. Its CEO, Robert Enlow, has served on the conservative ALEC organization's education task force, and he also serves as a board member of the Carpe Diem privately-operated charter school within the IPS district and Hoosiers for Quality Education. One of IPS' current board members, LaNier Echols, has served as a top administrator at Carpe Diem.
Wagner's new job continues to raise the specter that board members who are supposed to be serving the public's interest are in fact being financially rewarded for ties to outside actors with a vested interest in their decision-making authority. Advance Indiana has pointed out that several IPS board members, in addition to Echols, have outside roles with the education profiteers that conflict with their roles serving the public school system. Wagner served as a paid consultant to several current members of the IPS board and, following their election to the board, those same board members rewarded her by creating a contracted PR position serving the board members, which paid her firm $2,800 a month, even though the school district already had its own full-time communications director. Is the Friedman Foundation hiring Wagner because of her experience as a spokesperson for the Indiana Democratic Party, or because of the role her husband plays advancing their agenda on the state education board?
It's official: I'm joining @edchoice as VP of Comms on 4/4. Excited to empower families, students via #schoolchoice— Jennifer Wagner (@JenniferAWagner) March 24, 2016
Gordon Hendry Must Resign From The Indiana State Board of Education https://t.co/IMaEv1Wf2h pic.twitter.com/mWQ4C1OESi— Indiana Talks (@IndianaTalks) March 24, 2016