Chicago, IL – The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) today shared former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s remarks on education reform to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual meeting, held this week in Chicago, Illinois. Governor Bush is Founder and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. He served as the 43rd governor of Florida, from 1999 through 2007.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government and federalism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public.
Remarks of Governor Jeb Bush
As Prepared for Delivery
American Legislative Exchange Council Annual Meeting
August 9, 2013
Thank you for your kind introduction. It is good to be with my friends at ALEC.
ALEC has been at the forefront of education reform since the beginning, and I am grateful for your efforts and honored to be here.
In 1993, ALEC took the growing cost of education, divided it by the lack of results, and demonstrated that we cannot buy student achievement from unaccountable government bureaucracies.
Since 1950, the number of adults in public education has increased at four times the rate of students. The increase in administrators and other non-teaching personnel has been sevenfold.
Big Government turned the one-room schoolhouse into a massive jobs program. Kids were FTEs — full time equivalents, good for a guaranteed payment regardless of outcome. FTEs also are the lynchpins for funding outsized pensions at the expense of current spending in the classroom.
If schools don’t do a good job, we are told it is because they aren’t getting enough money. If spending increases and they still aren’t performing, it is because it isn’t enough money.
America has become a global leader in education spending, while also becoming a global laggard in math and science achievement.
By helping shed light on this, ALEC helped lay the groundwork for our reform efforts in Florida.
Instead of throwing more money out the helicopter door and hoping for the best, we began demanding the best. And we became national leaders in learning gains instead of spending gains.
Now such reforms are being enacted across the country, thanks to conservative legislative leaders and Governors who opt for bold action instead of timid politicking.
The progress demonstrated by states turned education reform from a grassroots conservative cause into a widespread bipartisan movement.
Just last year, in this city, a Democratic mayor confronted the Chicago Teachers Union, hoping to address the fiscal implosion and academic failures of the city’s public school system.
I thought the unions called me some pretty bad things. Then I heard what they were calling Rahm Emanuel. That I disagree with Mayor Emanuel on almost every other issue does not mean that I won’t welcome him to the cause on this one.
And he is by no means alone. Look at Detroit. As the city descended into bankruptcy, its public school system was mired in corruption and mismanagement, prompting Education Secretary Arne Duncan to call it a “national disgrace.’’
The city spends more than $19,000 a year per pupil, and for that investment it produces some of the worst academic outcomes in the nation.
Is it any wonder charter enrollment is growing to take in more than a third of public school students?
What ALEC was talking about 20 years ago has sadly come to pass. In most places, we have an education system designed around the economic interests of the adults where academic achievement of the kids is secondary. More…