Jeb Bush urges expanded charters in Ark.

Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is urging Arkansas legislators to expand the use of charter schools in the state, calling it a civil rights issue that remains 56 years after the integration of Little Rock's Central High School.

Bush on Tuesday headlined a rally at the state Capitol staged by A Plus Arkansas, a group lobbying for the state to ease restrictions on charter schools. The group is backing legislation that would take away the state Board of Education's power to approve charter school applications and give it to an independent state commission.

Bush, a Republican, told reporters after the rally that he supports the legislation.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe has said he's opposed to the proposal.

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