FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR EMBRACES SCHOOL CHOICE ON SC VISIT …
|| By FITSNEWS || This website will not be endorsing former Florida governor Jeb Bush‘s bid for the presidency. In fact, we’ve been ripping him pretty relentlessly as his “Republican” establishment candidacy ramps up.
And we’ll no doubt be ripping him again in the future …
But this week, it’s time to give credit where credit is due.
Say what you want about Bush (and we’ve said plenty), but there’s absolutely no disputing the fact that during his tenure as governor of Florida from 1999-2007 – he embraced parental choice more aggressively (and successfully) than any other governor in America.
Bush blasted the government-run status quo in his state as “politicized, unionized monopolies” – and embarked on a bold reform agenda designed to simultaneously loosen their stranglehold and empower parents. In other words he did exactly what South Carolina should have done years ago.
The results? They speak for themselves …
“In 1998, Black students in South Carolina significantly outscored those in Florida in reading,” a 2013 report found. ” In 2011, Florida’s Black fourth graders were reading a full grade level ahead of their South Carolina peers.”
That same report found “low-income Florida students outscored all South Carolina students on the NAEP fourth grade reading exam in 2011.”
It’s hard to argue with those numbers … unless of course it’s your job to fight choice. But as we’ve noted, even hardened anti-reform bureaucrats see the light … when it’s their kid’s future on the line.
Anyway, during his trip to South Carolina this week Bush paid a visit to Hidden Treasure – a Christian special needs school based in Greenville, S.C. FITS readers may remember this school – as we profiled it back in 2013 as part of our “Miracle Factories” series.
At Hidden Treasure, Bush specifically praised South Carolina’s “Educational Credits for Exceptional Needs Students” program – a small, special needs only scholarship program – as an example of school choice providing real results for disabled children and their families at a fraction of the cost incurred by traditional public schools.
He even helped hand out scholarship checks to several students …
“One of the scholarship recipients eagerly rushed to hug Bush, eliciting a storm of clapping and cheers,” a source at the event told FITS.
Following the ceremony, Bush toured the school – visiting with staff and answering questions from students.
“Throughout the tour, Bush made himself very approachable to the children; posing for pictures on cell phones and iPads, asking them about their assignments, and even answering one student’s question about whether he could speak Spanish,” our source says.
Good for him …
He has many faults, but there can be no denying Bush is a school choice champion – a visionary politician who recognized the essential nature of free market reform in improving academic outcomes (and individual lives). His visit to Hidden Treasure – and his endorsement of South Carolina’s school choice program – should serve notice to Palmetto State lawmakers currently “debating” the expansion of market forces.
And to Bush’s fellow 2016 presidential contenders …
After all, if the candidate viewed by many as the most liberal, pro-establishment “Republican” in the race supports choice … why can’t they?
No state in America needs market-based academic reforms more desperately than South Carolina – and the people of the Palmetto State clearly want these reforms.
“If our state ever hopes to achieve real economic progress (as opposed to bribing companies to come here with your tax dollars), then South Carolina’s future generations can no longer be held hostage by our failed ‘one size fits none’ government education system,” we wrote last week. “That means our leaders must – at long last – start putting the needs of individual children first, not continue bowing down to the bureaucrats holding all of us back.”
Bush recognized that in Florida … and his state is better off as a result.
When will South Carolina follow suit?
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