orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

February 27, 2013

Jeb Bush to Texas: Go big on overhauling schools

Associated Press
The Orange Leader

AUSTIN, Texas —  

Jeb Bush says that when it comes to overhauling public education: "You've got to go big or go home."

The former Florida governor and possible future Republican presidential hopeful testified Wednesday before the Texas Senate Education Committee.

He said expanding charter schools were the "catalytic convertor of our reforms." But he also said states need to embrace teacher merit pay, online learning and high accountability standards.

Bush said Florida increased high school graduation rates and elementary school reading achievement. But he added: "if you're going to have great, tough-love policies then you need to fund them."

Texas cut $5.4 billion from schools in 2011.

Sen. Dan Patrick chairs the committee and backs expanding charter schools in Texas, as well as a "school choice" plan that critics call a voucher scheme.