You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

Jeb Bush endorses Rick Snyder's education reform proposals. What other GOP govs support him?

By Nathan Bomey

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush today endorsed Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's education reform proposals, reflecting a rare moment in Snyder's short political history that he's embraced a national political figure.

Bush and Snyder appeared together at a press conference in Lansing, where Bush hailed Snyder's proposals, which include reforming tenure to make it easier to fire ineffective teachers, emphasizing early childhood education and authorizing more charter schools in failing districts.


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered his major health care reform speech in Ann Arbor last month. Gov. Rick Snyder, an Ann Arbor area resident, declined an invitation to attend.

Melanie Maxwell |

“All children can learn. One of our nation’s greatest challenges is ensuring every student receives a quality education that equips them with the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and their careers,” Bush said in a statement.

“If Florida can do it, Michigan can. I applaud Gov. Snyder and legislative leaders for seizing the opportunity to transform education in Michigan so every student can achieve their God-given potential.”

Snyder's appearance with Bush is sure to bring more attention from national political circles — which Snyder has largely tried to avoid. He's even turned down most national media interview requests, according to several reports.

But Snyder, a former Ann Arbor venture capitalist, has quietly started to build ties with other Republican governors — former and present.

Here are five other GOP governors he's got ties to:

1. Scott Walker. Snyder said at the Mackinac Policy Conference that he had recently met with the Wisconsin governor to discuss collaborative ship-building opportunities between the states after a firm near the northeast Wisconsin border with Michigan won a major naval construction contract. Snyder, though, went out of his way earlier this year to say that he has no plans to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights, which Walker successfully accomplished.

2. Mitch Daniels. Snyder met with the Indiana governor to solicit advice during his campaign. Snyder has cited Daniels' leadership as an example of the type of fiscal responsibility he believes is necessary to run a government. Daniels briefly considered a run for president earlier this year.

"Mitch Daniels has done a great job" with its economic development programs, Snyder told last fall.

3. Mitt Romney. The Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor briefly campaigned for Snyder during the general election last year. But in the primary, he endorsed one of Snyder's opponents, then-U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra. And last month, Snyder declined to attend Romney's major health care reform speech at the University of Michigan. Both are former venture capitalists and Michigan natives — but it's unclear whether they'll be allies in the future.

4. Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor, who has built a deep core of support among conservatives for his outspoken style, campaigned for Snyder during the election, saying that Snyder was one of the few GOP political candidates that he wanted to make time to appear with.

Asked about Christie last fall, Snyder told "He’s helped them lead the charge on some of the tough issues regarding education in particular. In terms of style, though, I just have a different style. I think everyone knows that. I’m just not a yeller and screamer. And people shouldn’t mistake that for a lack of conviction and will to do things. I just try to be professional in how I operate and treat people with respect, but I will get the tough stuff done. And there are enough people in town that will tell you that’s the case."

5. William Milliken. The former Michigan governor, a moderate Republican who served in the 1960s, endorsed Snyder last year — and Snyder has cited Milliken's governorship as an example of how he wants to lead the state.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.


Janis Lentz

Tue, Jun 28, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

Regardless of FL school "ratings" cited, this state's schools are on the bottom of the barrel, for one main reason: Florida has never dedicated public funds adequate to have a first-rate public school system, and the TERRIBLE governor who just got "elected" has cut deeply the funding that was already inadequate! Look at FL high school graduation rate, it is abysmal! The damage done to the state of Florida by Jeb Bush and his evangelical zealots over 8 years cannot be overstated! His lamebrained FCAT (failed) testing has harmed FL's children immeasurably, and has been fully discredited by studies--as revealed by Prof. Gerlach in the SPTimes couple of weeks ago. Studies show NO better results from charter schools, vouchers for religious schools, or any of the lame "reforms" pushed by the Florida GOP. Now Jeb is doing even more damage by shilling these failed "reforms" in other states. Florida is a typical southern state in that they are light years behind any northern school system. Case closed. I will emphasize--RUN, don't walk, away from any of Jeb's poppycock!

Go Blue

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

Gross and embarrassing. Now we're linked to that wonderful, progressive governor from Florida? Anyone that thinks things will get better from here on out and that we're making progress will wake up one day in shock to discover the destruction. Of course, by then, it will be too late. Michigan used to be a wonderful place to live.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

This can't be a surpise to anyone. Slick and Jeb both have the same teapublikan playbook. Attack the middle class benefits and pay by destroying unions so that you can, and this is hilarious, bring in "more and better jobs". It is Orwellian to hear them say that they are all about improving education when Slick robbed the K-12 education fund to provide handouts to his wealthy free loading constituents. Who is falling for this nonsense?

Billy Buchanan

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

Great job Governor Snyder, you have have lined up some good governors to advise you on reforming the Michigan Education System. It's been a shame the way Michican has poured money down a sewer pipe to improve our education system here in Michigan. A reform in the MEA Tenure system is definetly needed. Continue to hold to your position and don't be swayed by the self serving "Michigan Education Association and other self serving nay Sayers.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

Yes, sir. Richard Dale Snyder went out of his way to deny he was following the Scott Walker recalcitrance toward Wisconsin union, open meetings and, US constitutional, law. I remember the April WABC Channel 7 on line Town Hall "event" somehow sitting next to the Honorable Dave Bing. He could only keep eye contact with the lens for only a nanosecond to prevaricate he wasn't following Walker's union smashing. Well the retired doctor who finances Right To Work(c) opposition around the land was being pillared in MI's C-PAC jamboree "up" in Lansing -ONLY DAYS LATER. If one googles "Michigan Matters" from I believe PBS last weekend, notice RDS going at least that far out of his way to fib he was not following the national trend. Now -ONLY DAYS LATER- the most polar person not to reside in the White House (yet) our nation knows, comes stumping for the Six(6) MONTH virgin public sector Led Zeppelin. Either RDS is again lying to the camera if it is turned on, or this article didn't receive professional editing and its first sentence needs "by" successfully installed [See first(1) sentence].

peg dash fab

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

dude, didn't you see the sign? "no 'stairway to heaven'!"

Bertha Venation

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

I agree with DonBee. What ARE you saying?


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 8:52 a.m.

I have no clue what you are trying to say. Can you please say it in plain english?


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.

Paul - Nice cherry picking, congrats. From Wikipedia: Florida public schools have consistently ranked in the bottom 25 percent of many national surveys and average test-score rankings before allowances for race are made.[16] When allowance for race is considered, a 2007 US Government list of test scores shows Florida white fourth graders performed 13th in the nation for reading (232), 12th for math (250); while black fourth graders were 11th for math (225), 12th for reading (208).[17] White eight graders scored 30th for math (289) and 36th for reading (268). Neither score was considered statistically significant from average. Black eighth graders ranked 19th on math (259), 25th on reading (244). Your 'edweek' links are talking about grades. Looks like FL has a better, or at least different, grading curve than other states. FL spends very little on education compared to other states (tells you something about its priorities, doesn't it?). While throwing money at every problem (like our Defense Dept.) doesn't guarantee success, spending less and less generally leads to lousy teaching (anyone with a brain or desire want to teach at the starting salary $33,400 in FL?). Jeb arrived at the level of governor by virtue of his last name, let's at least admit that.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.

I'm sorry but I can't take anything you say seriously when you quote Wikipedia.. You do know anyone can post to Wikipedia right? Furthermore, you equate spending to performance, which has proven in this state to be working great right?


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 9:08 p.m.

Well, add 4.75 percent to that salary, because fla doesn't have a state income tax. I gonna go look and see where michigan ranked in that wilkipedia reference.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 8:37 p.m.

Wow.. I'm amazed at the people on this board that don't even look at statistics and just blindly comment. Flordia is in the top 10 states in the country for K-12 education. Link (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. And the 4th best for the Teaching profession Link (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. So just becuase you assume the guy with the last name of Bush is bad for education. Please look into the numbers first. He is a great education leader that Synder is following to make Michigan a better state. Change has to happen people. Maintaining the status quo means Michigan Dies!!!


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 6:49 p.m.

First we aspire to the Florida educational system, then the health care system.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 8:25 p.m.

Gee whiz! I hope not! I'll either head back to the hills, or hit Canada.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

uh oh... we're in trouble now!


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 10:59 p.m.

That is fear mongering again, Granny. I though you were quitting.

John B.

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

Yawn.... More of the same old same old. &quot;Where can I find the same old place?&quot; &quot;Oh, you must mean the old Same place!&quot;


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

Right, so now we want to emulate Florida.... in education? You've got to be kidding. Race to the bottom.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

One Republican governor whose kids went to private schools tells another Republican governor whose kids go to private school that education reform is great? Please. This is news? Jeb Bush is news? Who cares? How about a story on all the education money SPARK gets and wastes? Doubt we'll ever see that one.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 8:49 a.m.

Townie - Governor Snyder's children went to public school here. Huron for High School. Only the youngest, who asked to go to Green Hills, has not graduated from AAPS.

Bertha Venation

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

Of course, my brother. That's how them folks work. T'ain't fittin 't all.