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Eye On Candidates
January 19, 2016

Bush Releases Education Reform Plan

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced the details of his education reform plan yesterday. The Washington Post summarized key elements of his plan in the following article:

Betting on substance: Jeb Bush rolls out his education plan

No one can accuse Jeb Bush of abandoning substance in a presidential campaign that is increasingly dominated by candidates like Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who harbor only passing concerns with policy. “Hey, I’m a substantial guy,” Bush jokes in a phone interview. “I think ideas have consequences.” Bush is now rolling out an education plan, reflecting his passion and interest in the subject and one of his strong suits as governor of Florida....

The plan contains a host of conservative reform ideas. In a background briefing white paper, he explains that his plan would be a “a complete overhaul of a system from one that serves bureaucracies to one that serves the needs of families and students and is based on four conservative principles: 1) education decisions should be made as close to the student as possible; 2) choice of all kinds should be expanded, 3) transparency is essential to accountability; and 4) innovation requires flexibility. ” This includes expanded 529 education accounts; a new flexible education account that would replace a mishmash of federal programs with a $2,500 annual scholarship in the Education Savings Acccount (ESA) of every low-income child under age 5.

On K-12 education, Bush wants to greatly expand school choice by allowing parents to use Title I funds to spend in a school of their liking. Bush also says he will require states to disclose data to parents about their school’s achievement records and finances while maintaining flexibility for schools. Bush has supported the recently passed reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, which he tells me is “a good first step.” Bush builds on that legislation, which attempts to end anti-Common Core hysteria and make clear the federal government cannot mandate curriculum or standards. As for teachers, Bush’s plan promises to reward schools whose teachers achieve good results for low-income students. Bush says his plan is “outcome-driven and based on student achievement.”

The full details of Bush's education reform plan are available at his campaign's web site, here.