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Governor Jeb Bush urges action on education


Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says Michigan should pursue more charter schools and online learning as part of the state’s efforts to improve education.

He also asked state lawmakers to stick with common national standards to measure student performance.

The Michigan Legislature’s Republican majorities just approved a school aid budget that forbid spending to enact the Common Core standards developed by the nation’s governors. Some conservatives say the standards hand over Michigan’s education policy to a national consortium.

Jeb Bush helped come up with the standards as Florida’s governor, and made an impassioned plea for Michigan to stick with them.

“Do not pull back! Please, do not pull back from high, lofty standards,” said Bush.

Bush was addressing the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference.

Governor Rick Snyder also supports the standards.

The state Legislature’s Republican majorities disagree. The school aid budget does not allow expenditures to enact the standards. Many G-O-P lawmakers say it amounts to Michigan giving away control of its education policies.

Snyder says there is still time to change some minds in Lansing before the state’s new fiscal year begins in the fall.

Bush argued strenuously for Michigan to clear the way for more charter schools and online learning – especially in Detroit and other struggling school districts.

He says there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with schools.

“Well, let me tell you about an experiment that has completely failed. Schools that consistently fail students year after year after year.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.