GOP Presidential candidate Jeb Bush left the Governor’s office over eight years ago, yet his influence continues to dominate the legislative agenda of the state GOP. His views on education have been particularly damaging and each GOP legislator in our state must pass a “Bush litmus test” on education in order to be in the good graces of party activists and donors. But when Bush was Governor, he eventually lost the support of many GOP lawmakers in Florida.
While at first Republicans signed on in lock-step to Bush’s “reforms” cracks in the support for school “choice” have been apparent for a decade now. Many Republican elected officials have realized for all of the phony organizations and big corporate cash splashed on the school “choice” effort, that grassroots support for anything that destroys the public schools system is minimal even among self-proclaimed conservatives.
Bush failed to deliver on job promises and his funneling of state funds to Scripps Research Center now looks like a disaster. Since Bush began pushing for school “reforms” Florida’s ratings in academic progress and higher education have continued to decline and we have seen countless for-profit schools go out of business. The “reforms” pushed by Bush including an over emphasis on standardized testing has contributed to a downturn in morale among Florida’s best and brightest teachers. Despite all of this, Bush’s allies continue to push “reforms” which cast aspersions on the public school system when in fact the failures in the education system have come from the inadequate funding, constant tinkering of standards, over-emphasis on testing and the push for charter schools/vouchers during the Bush, Crist & Scott Governorships.Now Bush seeks to push this radical agenda forward nationally using his candidacy for President as a vehicle.
Source: The Florida Squeeze/Kartik Krishnaiyer