ICYMI: VIDEO: Governor Jeb Bush: High Standards Are Critical Part of Education Reform
On Friday, August 9, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush addressed the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois, outlining the key elements of a quality education. Below is an excerpt of Governor Bush’s remarks, highlighting the need to raise standards in order to align with the demands of college and the workforce.
“First, we have to recognize that standards matter.
“High standards are the most basic element of reform. Standards define what children are expected to learn over the school year, what they need to know to prepare them for success in each grade.
“Ultimately, the quality of the standards determines whether a high school diploma is worth more than the paper it is printed on.
“That means that every student who earns one is prepared for staring a college or a career.
“To compete with the rest of the world in the 21st Century, we must produce competitive high school graduates.
“That means we have to raise the bar to make sure the skills they are learning are aligned with what employers and colleges expect high school graduates to know.
“Most states have recognized this need and are taking action. Many states are implementing standards that focus on things that matter.
“Fractions in elementary school. Critical thinking across the board. Problem solving. Verifying work.
“Now we ask children to write an essay about their favorite day. We ask them to express their feelings. Soon we will ask them to compare excerpts from two research sources to determine where the evidence adds up and where it doesn’t.
“Our kids are capable of this.
“State leaders have, together, developed a set of academic standards in math and English language arts. These standards set an ambitious and voluntary goal line. The states develop their content or game plans to get into the end zone. State and local leaders call the plays. They remain in control of the results. They are free to drop out.
“And then, what will happen, is what always happens in good policy, the best will emerge from around the country in our great federalist system. And, best practices will emerge and people will apply those to ensure that their children learn.
“Like most reforms, doing the right thing will not be doing the easy thing.
“There are critics of Common Core Standards from both ends of the ideological spectrum. I know there are some in this room that disagree with my embrace of Common Core State Standards. I respect those who don’t share my views. What I can’t accept are the dumbed down standards and expectations that exist in almost every school in every state in our country.
“We can agree on that I hope – that we need to raise expectations for every child before it’s too late.
“Look, there will be a painful adjustment period as schools and students adapt to these new standards. Remember, only one third of our students are college or career ready. So, if you have a test that assesses faithfully these higher standards, we’ll have basically a graduation rate or a success rate of a third.
“It will create a big stink, trust me. But I think that stink is worth having today rather than having dreams unfulfilled over the next generation of time.
“You know what, the greatest mistake we make in public education is underestimating the capacity of our children to learn.
Under the banner of self-esteem we whitewash failure. We demand more of kids on football fields and basketball courts than we do in classrooms.”