Mike Kueber's Blog

December 10, 2012

Jeb Bush on education reform

Filed under: Education,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 2:35 am
Tags: ,


Jeb Bush was interviewed in Time magazine this week.  He is, in my opinion, the American politician with the best judgment on education reform.  Among his excellent insights, all of which I agree with:

  1. Social mobility.  There is now increasing, irrefutable evidence linking our country’s prosperity to education outcomes.  We’ve lost our leadership in education, and now we’re one of the least socially mobile countries in the world. You can directly link it to a variety of factors, but the solution has to include transformational education reform.
  2. How to grade Obama?  A passing grade. Which is better than I’d give him on economic policy or budget policy. He has a heart for kids.  And he has Arne Duncan, and I think Arne deserves praise.
  3. Race-based standardsI don’t think there needs to be a [school accountability] requirement based on race. If you’re going to pick anything, pick poverty. [Florida’s] system is better in that it has an extra focus on the lowest[-performing] 25 percent.  I get tired of hearing people, well-meaning people, talking about African-American kids or Hispanic kids as if they’re all the same. Which isn’t true. There is a very diverse group of people in both groups in terms of income, objectives in life, aspirations, cultural wants, habits, all the things that make us unique Americans. This identity politics is unhealthy in education policy. It started under our previous president.
  4. What is the role of poverty in education?  I would reverse the question: education impacts poverty, not the other way around. If we don’t empower families to be able to have a quality education, then their children for the first time in American history, truly the first time, will not have the same economic opportunities. That’s not speculation. The evidence is in.  There are other reasons why people are poor. There are cultural reasons, economic competitiveness reasons. There are a lot of reasons why people are in poverty. The difference today is that increasingly they are in perpetual poverty. That is so un-American and such a tragedy.
  5. How do we improve social mobility and eliminate perpetual poverty?  To me there are several ways to get out of this. One is to have a spiritual revival. I’m not an expert on that, way above my pay grade, but that’s one path historically we’ve seen, where wholesome, loving family life changes the course and direction of children’s plight and their future. Or building a high-growth economy where there are opportunities across the economic ladder, changing job training programs and things like that.  But without transforming the education system, where there’s access to high quality education, it doesn’t matter the zip code in which you live — I think we’re trapping a whole generation, not just kids at the poverty level. That is so dangerous for a country like ours that is based on the exact opposite premise.
  6. How do the centrists prevail over the right-left coaltion that opposes education reform?  There are people on the right who are fearful of federal encroachment. That fear, I don’t think is justified, although there is enough history behind federal encroachment for everybody to be diligent. On the left, they see these higher standards being implemented in a way that shows that children are not learning and the unions are fearful that that exposure, which is real and truthful, will put them in a vulnerable position politically.  So do alliances of mutual convenience based on powerful emotions and economic interests trump a perhaps broader but more passive [movement] to date? That’s the question. I don’t know the answer, but I know where I stand.

Let’s see – we had a Bush #41 and a #43; how about Bush #45?


1 Comment »

  1. One more important issue: Quit pretending that everyone should go to college and needs college prep courses–a sure recipe for failure for many.

    (Re)Institute vocational classes and schools. We need plumbers, electricians, techs, drivers, machinists, etc. Let’s help the youngsters that are tech/voc oriented to get the schooling that they truly like and can use in our real world.

    Comment by bobbevard — December 10, 2012 @ 6:02 am | Reply

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