Governor Jeb Bush Equips Georgia Lawmakers with Lessons for School Reform

Lindsey Burke /

There’s nothing like competition to get people to focus on a goal, whether that’s on the gridiron or in education. And on the eve of a match-up between one of college football’s biggest rivalries – the Georgia Bulldogs vs. the Florida Gators – Governor Jeb Bush decided to walk into rival territory and address a group of key legislators and business leaders in Atlanta, Georgia. The event, co-sponsored by The Heritage Foundation, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and the Center for an Educated Georgia at the Georgia Family Council, focused on how to implement successful, bold education reforms such as those enacted in the Sunshine State under Jeb Bush’s tenure as Governor. Since better education for all students was the goal, Gov. Sonny Perdue kicked off the program with a warm welcome to his Florida neighbor.

Under Governor Bush’s leadership, student achievement increased dramatically. In 1998, during Bush’s first year as Governor, Florida students ranked at the bottom nationally in reading and math comprehension. Faced with abysmally-low achievement rates, Governor Bush implemented a set of sweeping reforms which included grading schools on a scale of A-F, setting and continually raising standards, ending social promotion, performance pay, and school choice. (more…)