Jeb Bush, with cash and clout, pushes contentious school reforms

As former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush convenes a star-studded policy summit this week in Washington, D.C., he is widely regarded as one of the most influential education reformers in the nation. But a close examination raises questions about the depth and durability of the gains that schools in Florida saw under his leadership, Reuters reports.

After the dramatic jump of the Bush years, Florida test scores edged up in 2009 and then dropped, with low-income students falling further behind. State data show huge numbers of high school graduates still needing remedial help in math and reading. And some of the policies Bush now pushes, such as vouchers and mandatory online classes, have no clear links to the test-score bump in Florida.

Bush has been particularly vigorous about promoting online education, urging states to adopt policies written with input from companies that stand to profit from expanded cyber-schooling. Many of those companies also donate to Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, which has raised $19 million in recent years to promote his agenda nationwide…

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