podcastED: SUFS president Doug Tuthill interviews former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on the future of education choice

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaking with Florida House members during a rare visit to the Capitol in 2017.

On this episode, Tuthill and Bush look back at the 20-year history of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program and the education revolution that was launched with Bush’s A+ Plan, signed into law in June 1999 with the goal of toughening standards for teachers, students and schools.

The most controversial provision of Bush’s plan allowed students in failing public schools to obtain vouchers that would pay tuition and fees at participating private schools, including nonsectarian and religious institutions, which set off a firestorm of controversy.

Fast forwarding to 2022, when education choice has become normalized in Florida, Tuthill and Bush discuss their shared belief that the future of education choice lies in expansion of choice options for families, namely creation and availability of education savings accounts.

“We’re transitioning, and the future [will look] very different from where we are today. Where we are today is dramatically different from 20 years ago. These transitions are not easy … We can always do better, but we are way better off than we were 20 years ago.”

EPISODE DETAILS:

  • How Bush sought to balance education choice and regulations when implementing his A+ Plan in the late 1990s
  • A template for building new infrastructure and accountability measures in a world of diverse choice where families are using multiple service providers
  • The means for providing feedback to families to help them make good choices while managing privacy
  • Opportunities for virtual reality education to equalize opportunities for students with fewer financial resources
  • Entrepreneurship opportunities communities can reap from expanding education savings account programs