The father of Florida’s current system of school accountability and choice — former Governor Jeb Bush — is throwing his support behind Ron DeSantis’ education plan. Bush joined other Republican leaders Thursday in offering praise for the plan released this week by the GOP candidate for Governor.
“Ron DeSantis’ education policies will prepare Florida students to succeed in the competitive 21st century global economy,” said former Governor Bush “He understands that transforming our schools into a world class education system requires bold reforms, and he is the only candidate with a plan to ensure Florida continues to lead the nation in raising student achievement. Ron is a fighter who will work tirelessly to ensure every student has access to a high quality education, and I am proud to endorse his education plan.”
Governor Bush’s support gives DeSantis’ plan additional credibility among the school choice community. There is, however, one major policy Bush and DeSantis disagree on — Common Core. DeSantis wants to remove it from Florida schools, Bush supports it.
DeSantis education proposal requires 80% of education dollars go directly to the classroom to benefit students and teachers. He’s also called for a top-down audit of the state Department of Education to cut wasteful spending and duplicative programs.
Outgoing House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who supported DeSantis’ primary opponent Adam Putnam, also endorsed the education proposal. “Ron DeSantis will work to ensure that our tax dollars will be prioritized to reduce teacher shortages and reward great teachers with great salaries, not to funding wasteful education bureaucracy,” said Speaker Corcoran. “With the bold education policy that Ron has proposed, I know that Florida’s students will receive the best education available and learn from the very best.”
The support from Governor Bush, Speaker Corcoran plus incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva also shows the Republican Party establishment is embracing DeSantis after a bruising primary with Putnam. Polling released earlier this week shows DeSantis still has some work to do with Republican voters. A survey by Florida Atlantic University found that only 63 percent of Republicans support him with his Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum pulling nearly 14 percent of GOP votes. In what is likely to be a “base” election, DeSantis will need to improve those numbers in order to win in November.