Setting high standards: Excellence in Education founder Jeb Bush to speak on education reform


Political platforms often include party-affiliated stances on a variety of issues, from tax reform to health care. Typically, the Democratic party and the Republican party hold opposing beliefs regarding these issues, giving voters a choice of one side or the other. 

One of the only topics that tends to transcend party differences — at least in theory — is that of improving  education. Across the board, politicians and governments strive to better education systems on local, state and national levels. 

Jeb Bush, the 43rd Governor of Florida, is one of the most prominent voices in the fight for better education, and made such large improvements to Florida’s education systems during his 1999 – 2007 tenure as governor that Florida remains a national leader in education and is one of the only states in the nation to significantly narrow the achievement gap

Bush will speak on education reform during his lecture, “Rebuilding Public Education,” at 10:45 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, Aug.5, on the CHQ Assembly Video Platform, as part of the Week Six Chautauqua Lecture Series theme, “Rebuilding Public Education.”

“Education has been a top priority while Jeb Bush served as governor of Florida and in his professional life since leaving the governor’s office. He remains an influential voice, with his foundation working closely with states all around the United States on reform,” said Vice President and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education Matt Ewalt.

He will be the first member of the Bush family to speak to a Chautauqua audience since former First Lady Barbara Bush lectured in 1987. 

The first Republican in Florida’s history to be reelected governor, Bush championed educational reform as a priority, implementing an accountability system in public schools that created one of the most ambitious school choice programs in the nation. 

“The sad truth is that equality of opportunity doesn’t exist in many of our schools. We give some kids a chance, but not all. That failure is the great moral and economic issue of our time. And it’s hurting all of America,” Bush said in his speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention. “I believe we can meet this challenge. We need to set high standards for students and teachers and provide students and their parents the choices they deserve. We must stop excusing failure in our schools and start rewarding improvement and success. We must have high academic standards that are benchmarked to the best in the world. Education is hard work, but if you follow some core principles, and you challenge the status quo, you get great results.”

Following his time in office, Bush became the president and chairman of the board of directors of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national non-profit organization that aims to raise student achievement through collaboration with education leaders, teachers, parents and advocates. 

During his lecture, Bush will discuss the work being done by ExcelinEd to transform education reform and bolster student achievement. 

According to its website, ExcelinEd has a goal of “transforming education to unlock lifelong opportunity and success for each and every child.” The organization works with educators and politicians at all levels to develop and implement policies that aid in student achievement. 

ExcelinEd is able to provide each state with unique solutions for issues in their education systems through the help of educational experts from around the nation, and seeks to advance student learning, increase equity and ready graduates for college and career. 

Ewalt is looking forward to Wednesday’s lecture and thinks that the discussion of educational reform is an interesting and important element of the weekly theme of Education. 

“We look forward to learning more about his call for reform and how we navigate the often contentious debate around education in this country,” Ewalt said. 

This program is made possible by The Charles Ellsworth Goodell Lectureship in Government and Public Affairs & the Carnahan-Jackson Lectureship.

Tags : chautauqua institutionExcelinEdJeb Bushpublic education

The author Maggie Angevine

For her first season with The Chautauquan Daily, reporter Maggie Angevine will be covering the theater, youth programs and recreation at Chautauqua. Maggie, hailing from Virginia, is a rising junior at Miami University in Ohio, studying journalism, political science and French. When she isn’t writing for The Miami Student newspaper, Maggie can be found somewhere outside — hiking, camping, climbing or simply exploring.