Sun Sentinel writes how Jeb Bush leaves a tumultuous mark on Florida's schools.
Jeb Bush expanded private school vouchers instead of adopting proven solutions and fought against class-size reduction by claiming it was too expensive while still cutting taxes. The governor also missed opportunities to improve schools because he refused to include the union in policy decisions.....A study sponsored by the Florida Association of School Boards last year found Florida ranked in the lower quarter of states on 10 performance indicators....also, 71 percent of Florida schools this year failed to make adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Law. That includes many schools that received an A or B from the state... Public perception of the governor's performance has been mixed. A Quinnipiac University poll of 855 registered voters in November 2005 showed 29 percent agreed that education had improved under Bush, but 27 percent said it had gotten worse and 34 percent saw no change....Florida ranked 42nd among the 50 states in spending per student _ $6,439 _ in the 2002-03 school year, the latest for which national figures are available....And the Opportunity Scholarship program that gave vouchers to students from chronically failing public schools so they could switch to private schools at taxpayer expense. The Florida Supreme Court this year ruled it violated a provision in the state constitution that requires a uniform system of public schools.
Bush then pushed for a constitutional amendment that would have restored the scholarships and opened the door for other voucher programs, but the Florida Senate refused, by a single vote, to put it on the ballot....``">Jim Warford, executive director of the Florida Association of School Administrators and a former kindergarten-12 chancellor in the Bush administration, supports the governor's accountability efforts but said he missed opportunities to get compromises on vouchers, class size and other issues.There was an arrogance, a hubris, a lack of collaboration, cooperation on every major issue,'' Warford said.
He put most of the blame on Winn and State Board of Education chairman Phil Handy, both Bush appointees and loyalists.``I think of them as Jeb's Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney,'' Warford said.
Overall Florida's high school graduation rate is 66.4 percent, placing it 43rd among states nationwide.