Please see the story below about Jeb Bush, who has not yet officially announced his candidacy, doing an event tomorrow to celebrate the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act in Mississippi. Earlier Gov. Phil Bryant made Mississippi Employment First for people with disabilities. Also make sure to read our piece about Hillary Clinton’s video failing to show people with disabilities here. We will treat all candidates equally, but we want to see ALL of them covering these issues.
Jeb Bush joining Bryant for special needs bill signing
By Geoff Pender
April 15, 2015
Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Thursday will attend Gov. Phil Bryant’s bill-signing ceremony for the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act passed by the Legislature this year.
Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education supported the measure, which provides vouchers for for parents of children with special needs to spend $6,500 a year in public money on private schools and services. The pilot program will cover 500 students the first year, then add 500 a year until it reaches the five-year mark, at which point it would have to be reauthorized by the Legislature. Mississippi has more than 66,000 public school students with disabilities, and ranks last in the nation for their graduation rate, a 22.5 percent.
The legislation was pushed the last two years by state Sen. Nancy Collins, R-Tupleo, and Rep. Carolyn Crawford, R-Pass Christian, and brought heated debate among lawmakers and public education leaders. Supporters say state public education is failing children with special needs and parents need options such as the private school vouchers would provide. Opponents say it will strip money from an already underfunded public education system and will not help address the problems with public special education.
Bush will attend a signing ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Old Capitol in Jackson, along with members of the Legislature and other supporters of the bill.
Former two-term Florida Gov. Bush, 62, is expected to be a GOP candidate for president in 2016. He has not formally announced a run, but created a leadership PAC in January.
Republican Bryant has not endorsed a presidential candidate.