Sandoval pledges to copy Florida, fix schools

LAS VEGAS - Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said Wednesday he wants to copy Florida's efforts to overhaul its failing public schools by promoting charter schools and ending social promotion.

Sandoval said Nevada needs to do more to keep underachieving students from being promoted to the next grade level. He also said that Nevada parents need more choices, including charter schools.

The remarks came as he stood next to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a conservative leader on education reform. The Republicans spoke to the press after touring a Las Vegas charter school founded by tennis legend Andre Agassi.

Sandoval vowed to overhaul Nevada's many failing schools as a candidate last year. He has acted on those promises since he was elected in November, recently passing a statewide agency dedicated to charter schools and approving a law that makes it easier to fire underperforming teachers.

Bush dismissed critics who argue that education spending drives student performance. Nevada has some of the most underfunded schools in the nation, and some of the lowest test scores.

"Money is a factor if you spend the money on reform," Bush said. "Money matters, but it really matters if you are funding the right things."

Bush said his education measures improved Florida schools and narrowed the achievement gap between low-income and minority students and white, affluent students. He said schools should especially take care not to promote students to high school based primarily on their age if they are not performing at grade level.


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