Jeb Bush Impels State-Level Charter Authorizer

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says Tennessee should have a way to approve new charter schools, even over the objections of local districts.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (left) and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (left) and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Bush made overhauling education a priority in Florida, and talked about it with Governor Bill Haslam Monday in Nashville. State lawmakers will likely take up the question of a so-called state charter authorizer in the next few months.

Bush says some school districts are so stubborn they would deny a charter school proposed by Mother Theresa. So he says states should be able to approve charters directly, though such a law was ruled unconstitutional in Florida. Bush figures such a law would be seldom used, saying Tennessee districts would fall in line to keep from being overruled.

“It basically would be used as a tool to bring about a better-behaved school district that is complying with the law that you have. And I would encourage that here.”

Governor Haslam says although he won’t propose such a bill this session, he expects lawmakers will.

Bush also plugged differential pay for teachers, to reward those whose students perform well with more money. Haslam says differential pay won’t happen this year, because Tennessee hasn’t figured out how to pay for it.

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