Thursday, August 9, 2012

Run Mississippi Run

Apparently, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has been conferring with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on setting education policy in the state. Here is an excerpt from an article from GulfLive.com:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is urging Mississippi leaders to follow his state's example on education changes, and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is signaling his support for many of Florida's approaches.

Bush, a Republican, wants the state to consider higher expectations for students, stronger academic standards, more accountability for schools and options such as charter schools and vouchers. He says such measures worked in Florida.
"I think we're in a crisis mode," Bush told a group of Mississippi lawmakers and other officials at the Old Capitol in Jackson. "I think this should be the highest priority for our country." 
Bryant, also a Republican, has said he wants the 2013 legislative session to focus on education improvements. He's supporting charter schools and a merit pay system for teachers. Bryant says he wants to consider holding back third-graders who aren't reading on grade level and may want to do the same with  underperforming eighth graders. 
"What we need to do is create our own legislative package," Bryant told reporters after the speech. "Much of it is very similar to what Florida has done."
Mississippi has already adopted some of what Bush is calling for, including an A-to-F grading system for schools and school districts, the national common core academic standards and publicly financed scholarships to private schools for dyslexic students. 
Some parts of what Bush described may be hard for Bryant to push through the Legislature. He called for Mississippi to adopt charter schools, to offer tax credit-financed scholarships to private schools for poor students and extolled Florida's prekindergarten program.

It's interesting that charter schools failed in the Mississippi legislature last year, given the conservative make-up of the state. However, it looks like it will surely come up again given this new set of advice from Jeb Bush. According to the article, Governor Bryant also conferred with neighboring Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on education policy. Does he really want to bring what has happened in Louisiana over to Mississippi? All I can say to Governor Bryant is to run, run, run!

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