Gov. Bryant looks to Florida for education reform - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gov. Bryant looks to Florida for education reform

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With one legislative session behind him, Governor Phil Bryant is gearing up for the next one. This one he says will be about education and he's looking to the Sunshine State for a little reform.

"I think we're in a crisis mode. I think this should be the highest priority for our country," said former republican Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Bush was alongside Bryant Tuesday afternoon for a legislative policy forum on education reform. Bryant says Florida is a successful road map in determining what direction the Magnolia State should take.

"The children that are in pre-K today will be our workforce in the future. We've got to have them ready," said Bryant.

Bush says Mississippi is already on track to reform with recent legislation changing the way schools are graded and an initiative from Bryant to create a performance based pay plan for teachers.

"Without it you're not going to get the kind of learning gains that everybody wants here in Mississippi," said Bush.

Florida already has a charter school system in place, which Bush says has proven to become the fastest and most successful growing option for parents. Bush says once low performing students are now performing at state levels and beyond.

"I know this is politically controversial, but I can tell you that we've gone through this and many other states are embracing this idea of school choice and the world gets better. It doesn't get worse," said Bush.

After contention among Mississippi lawmakers, charter legislation died at the capitol during the past session but will be back for round two next year. Even though not all lawmakers are on board with the idea, Bryant says with dual enrollment programs and a framework in the shape of Florida, a new foundation for change is in place.

"I feel much better about where we're at going into next year than I have in quite a while," said Bryant.

Copyright 2012 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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