The sixth annual National Summit on Education Reform (#EIE13) kicked off in Boston this am with a keynote speech from Governor Jeb Bush. Nearly 850 attendees, 260 of which are elected officials, representing 47 states setting the tone of inspirational ed reform implementation. In his keynote, Bush dedicated the Summit “to great teachers, without whom no amount of education reform would be successful. Great teachers need to be recognized and rewarded.”
No silver bullet. “What are the expectations for our students in our society? On the question, Gov. Bush said, “If the student is at risk, do we water down the standards and pass them through?” No, he believes. Let’s raise the bar to eliminate “group mediocrity in our schools.” Setting high expectations for all students, regardless their background, can create meaningful futures for all. We need to create these high expectations for our students and find strategies that allow students to achieve them, said Bush. According to Bush, our most vulnerable kids have fallen through the cracks. 1/4 of the students taking the ACT this year qualified as college ready and over 1/2 of community college students require remediation. This is all summed up as mediocre, said Bush.
Creating options. “We have the most diverse student population in our country’s history,” said Bush. He reinforced the idea that there should be more options across the board allowing parents to shop for the school that best meets their child’s needs. “There is no magic formula that makes kids smarter,” said Bush as he highlights the choices available across the nation to every type of learner. According to Bush, our current school systems are not designed to innovate. Bush sees the potential of technology to bring personalized learning to every student and to allow every learner to move according to their own style and at their own pace. He says it’s time to recognize that today’s student isn’t Bam-Bam Flintstone, but Elroy Jetson.
High standards are critical for reform. “We need to raise the bar to align with what colleges and employers expect students to know,” said Bush on the Common Core State Standards. “We can’t accept excuses that only set children up for failure,” said Bush. The current state standards created group mediocrity in our schools. Bush certainly understands that there are people against the standards to which he says, “I want to hear solutions to those that oppose these standards.” Bush asserted, “This is not a war on public education.” He believes instead that education reform means reorienting public education around learners, raising the bar, recognizing and rewarding great teachers.” His charge to the Summit’s attendees ”Solutions are hard work; I hope you will all be problem solvers. The progress of our students in essential and should not be delayed.”
View Gov. Bush’s full remarks on the ExecelinEd site.
The Foundation for Excellence in Education is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.