Former Gov. Jeb Bush has established himself as a national leader on education, with policies he developed in Florida spreading to other states. With his agenda once again ascendant in this state, he recently laid out some of his ideas for a libertarian media outlet.
In a video posted Wednesday as a precursor to National School Choice Week (which begins Jan. 23), Bush tells Nick Gillespie of Reason that one of his top school-reform priorities is “applying digital learning as a transformative tool to disrupt the public education system.”
Bush describes the nation’s system of school districts as thousands of little monopolies and talks about the possibility of creating electronic suites of course materials, stored by the thousands in digital libraries and marketed around the country.
Sounding a lot like Gov. Rick Scott, he describes a system in which “money follows the student” through a host of public and private options competing for that student’s share of education funding.
A group of teachers in Utah, say, could market their course materials to school districts in a place like Florida and “share the resources that come for that child.” That kind of market-based system would be “scalable” and “higher-quality,” and over time would lower costs, Bush says.
The problem is, digital learning is not currently seen as part of the “core” of education, which makes it difficult to secure funding for that kind of model. “It’s done like that for a reason,” Bush says.
“This is what Reason teaches is us, what you all teach us, which is that markets work,” he says. “Monopolies resist that.”