LETTER: Jeb Bush wrong on education reform

To the editor:

Regarding your March 28 article on Jeb Bush’s visit to Las Vegas last week (“Jeb Bush urges Nevada’s educators to ‘think bigger’”):

On the surface, Mr. Bush’s education reform ideas seem exciting and worth looking into. But I found one of his statements laughable. He was quoted as saying that union collective bargaining sometimes gets in the way of innovation. The problem with that statement is that he’s trying to blame the teachers and our unions for a perceived lack of innovation in today’s schools.

In reality, the problem lies with the destructive and restrictive reform policies that Mr. Bush’s corporate-funded Foundation for Excellence in Education promotes. Policies such as more standardized testing, Common Core, abolishing teacher unions, grading schools on test scores and taking public money to support for-profit schools don’t encourage innovation and excellence in schools. Teachers don’t want any of that.

Teachers would prefer that reformers such as Mr. Bush stop pushing down policies that stifle innovation and creativity. These policies demoralize teachers and students, sucking the fun out of learning while narrowing the whole learning experience down to how well a student can fill in a bubble on a standardized test.

I applaud Mr. Bush’s efforts to encourage more online learning, thus giving more learning opportunities to more students. But he is the last person Nevada’s education leaders should be listening to for advice on innovation in education. Just look to what Mr. Bush did to education in Florida and how quickly state officials retreated from his education policies once he left office.