Bush was at the Mississippi Capitol as Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill creating vouchers for a small percentage of students with learning disabilities. Families can use $6,500 in public money to pay for private school tuition, tutoring or other educational services outside the public schools.
The program is based on one created in Florida under Bush, a Republican who’s considering a 2016 presidential run.
“Families that struggle like this, not just in school but across the board in everyday life, should be in the front of the line,” Bush told an audience of more than 100 people, including several families of children who have autism or other challenges.
“They should be empowered to be able to take care of their children,” Bush said. “They should be empowered particularly as it relates to education, to be able to make sure their children get the kind of education that allows them to rise up as well.”
Bryant said the program “will begin the process” of trying to improve education opportunities for some of Mississippi’s 66,500 special needs students. It will create vouchers for 500 students the first year. Over five years, it will grow to 2,500 students.