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Researchers Say Bush Education Ideas Yielded Mixed Results

For years former Gov. Jeb Bush has traveled the country urging states to adopt a group of education policies he says improved Florida schools.

The policies focus on reading by the third grade, using test scores to measure school and teacher performance and giving students more choices about where they can go to school.

Education researchers met in Washington, D.C. Wednesday to dissect Bush’s claims. Matthew Di Carlo is with the Albert Shanker Institute - which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, a national teachers union. He says research shows mixed results for what’s come to be known as “the Florida model.”

“We have generally positive test-based results for a few of these policies, no results in a couple of cases", Di Carlo said. "The implication is we can’t judge the package as a whole. It’s not like marriage where you have to marry the whole person the good and the bad. You don’t have to judge the Florida reform package en masse.”

Di Carlo says public schools in Florida did improve after students threatened to leave using vouchers for private school. But students at publicly-funded, but privately-run charter schools did no better on test than students at traditional public schools.

Academics and activists have been examining Bush’s education record since he first announced he was running for president.

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