Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has emerged as a national education ambassador, tutoring governors and lawmakers in nearly a dozen states from Arizona to Utah and Minnesota to Oklahoma on how to employ his "Florida formula" for education. One out of five state school superintendents has joined his group, Chiefs for Change
, which pushes for education reform at national, state, and local levels.
With Bush's initiatives and other efforts rising to the surface, "2011 is shaping up as one of the most consequential years in memory for changes in the way schools are run," The New York Times
Bush, who has rejected pleas of some Republicans who would like to see him run for president in 2012, has been engaged otherwise in new education bills and laws in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah, the Times reports.
His forays across the country, such as one to St. Paul, Minn., Tuesday, have included campaigning for candidates, speaking to education power brokers, and lobbying for Florida-style changes. The measures include private-school vouchers, online courses, and mandating that third-graders pass reading tests before they move up to fourth grade, instead of being pushed up the chain with their peers in so-called “social promotion.”
“We’re the only state to have eliminated social promotion in the third grade in a robust way,” Bush said Tuesday during at appearance at the Minnesota Capitol, where he encouraged the Legislature’s new Republican majorities to be bold, the Times reported.
Bush traveled to the Gopher State to support measures introduced after 30 Minnesota lawmakers, mostly freshmen Republicans, attended a Washington summit meeting that Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education
convened in December.
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