Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) is strongly criticizing current Republican Gov. Charlie Crist’s veto today of a GOP-backed education bill — a bill that many have seen as a test of Crist’s future in the GOP as he runs for the Senate.
“By taking this action, Governor Crist has jeopardized the ability of Florida to build on the progress of the last decade,” Bush wrote, “which includes raising student achievement across the board, narrowing the achievement gap for poor and minority students, and improving graduation rates.”
The legislation, which was passed through the Republican legislature in the face of massive protests from teachers, would have abolished tenure for new teachers and instituted strict merit pay guidelines. Bush has previously criticized Crist’s backing of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill — perhaps the single biggest issue that has dragged Crist down in his primary against Marco Rubio — as “unforgivable.”Here is Bush’s full statement, released through his Foundation for Florida’s Future:
“I am disappointed by the veto of Senate Bill 6,” said Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida and Chairman of the Foundation for Florida’s Future. “By taking this action, Governor Crist has jeopardized the ability of Florida to build on the progress of the last decade, which includes raising student achievement across the board, narrowing the achievement gap for poor and minority students, and improving graduation rates. Florida’s sustained improvement is the result of bold reforms that were challenging, controversial and sometimes even unpopular. Reform is hard work but without a commitment to change, Florida would not be 8th in the nation today.”
“I applaud the courageous members of the Senate and House of Representatives for their leadership in advancing the bold reform that will eventually transform education in Florida. I applaud Commissioner Eric Smith for his unwavering service to our state and its students. I also applaud Florida’s business leaders for their efforts to improve the quality of education for our state’s 2.7 million students.”