Jeb Bush is calling for a complete overhaul of the nation’s education system in a plan that focuses heavily on school choice.
In a post on Medium, Bush unveiled a wide-sweeping education plan that increases support for charter schools and makes federal aid to low-income and special needs students portable. The proposal also gives high school graduates a $50,000 line of credit to help pay for college and would make the federal debt collection system more transparent.
“Every individual in this country has the right to rise. Yet today, the American Dream — the idea that anything is possible through hard work — is threatened by an education system failing to prepare the next generation of children for success,” wrote Bush.
“Too many low-income students start kindergarten already years behind their more affluent counterparts. Only one-third of students graduate high school prepared for college or a good career. And our higher education system has become too expensive for many Americans to afford.”
Bush released his education proposal on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and he invoked the civil rights leader in his post. Bush said he believes “that ensuring every individual has access to a quality education is the great civil rights challenge of our time.”
NEW VIDEO: Ensuring every child has access to a quality education is the great civil rights challenge of our time. https://t.co/v7CrBH18yl
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) Jan. 18, 2016
The plan focuses on both K-12 and higher education, and Bush said his plan is “budget neutral and returns power to the states, local school districts and parents.”
The proposal would allow 529 college savings accounts to be converted into an education savings account. Those accounts would then allow families to save tax-free for education, including pre-kindergarten, elementary school, college, and job training.
Bush has been heavily involved in education since leaving office in 2008. He founded the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which has pushed for education reforms in Florida and across the country.
The release of Bush’s education plan comes two weeks before the Iowa caucuses and three weeks before the New Hampshire primary.