Jeb Bush urges Miss. to follow Florida on schools

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is urging Mississippi leaders to follow his state’s example on education changes, and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is signaling his support for many of Florida’s approaches.

Bush, a Republican, wants the state to consider higher expectations for students, stronger academic standards, more accountability for schools and options such as charter schools and vouchers. He says such measures worked in Florida.

“I think we’re in a crisis mode,” Bush told a group of Mississippi lawmakers and other officials at the Old Capitol in Jackson. “I think this should be the highest priority for our country.”

Bryant, also a Republican, has said he wants the 2013 legislative session to focus on education improvements. He’s supporting charter schools and a merit pay system for teachers. Bryant says he wants to consider holding back third-graders who aren’t reading on grade level and may want to do the same with underperforming eighth graders.