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‘Got it going on’


He really likes us! Jeb Bush heaps on the praise during last week’s visit to OKC.

Clifton Adcock April 6th, 2011

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush praised Oklahoma’s political leadership in the field of education during his speech at Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs 2011 Citizenship Award dinner last week.

Bush served as governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, and currently serves as chairman for the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Gov. Mary Fallin praised Bush for his work on reforming education in Florida, and for his conservative philosophy and governing style.

“Gov. Bush truly is a man who believes in the limited government approach and also releasing the free enterprise, free market policies onto his state,” Fallin said. “Florida is on many of the cutting-edges of getting this legislation passed, and he was a battle warrior in fighting the different groups who were saying ‘this won’t work’ and ‘if you do this, that will happen.’”

Bush praised Fallin and state Superintendent Janet Barresi, who also attended the March 30 event in Oklahoma City.

above Jeb Bush spoke March 30.

“I’m excited that she won,” Bush said of Barresi. “It was clear she was going to win because she had a great message; she was a great candidate.”

Bush also praised the defeat of State Question 744.

“I also knew Oklahoma was on the right track when the voters by an incredible margin rejected the idea that if you just spend more money, you’re going to get a better result, that you need to reform the education system,” Bush said. “Oklahoma has got it going on.”

Bush said resistance to education reform comes in all ideological stripes.

“When you’re going against the status quo, it isn’t necessarily ideological,” Bush said. “The adults in the school system — they may be conservative, they may be liberal — but they’re typically organized around adults rather than kids, so they don’t like people talking about how you can change the system to make a child focus.”

The current U.S. educational model is outdated and being surpassed by other countries, Bush said, and major reforms are needed. Some of the reforms Bush cited include raising student standards, implementing accountability, rewarding effective teachers and teachers serving underserved areas or needs, embracing school choice and encouraging digital learning.

“We are fantastic at engendering self-esteem for students; we just don’t teach them math and science and history and a second language and the ability to be competitive in the world,” Bush said. “To restore our greatness as a country, we need to transform our education system.”

Bush urged the GOP to keep on track in terms of reform and not to be swayed by voices of protest.

“My advice to your great governor and legislators is: Stay the course,” Bush said. “You will get results that may not be popular to begin with, but what the heck? What are you doing? You’re here to serve and you have a heart for this and you will be supported because people respect you for standing your ground and doing what’s right.”

Although Bush’s main focus was education reform, he touched on energy policy, the financial and real estate crisis and public regulation of the private sector.

The dudes in Oslo ought to be giving out a Nobel Peace Prize to the folks who came up with this innovation of hydraulic fracturing.

—Jeb Bush

Bush said a policy of domestic energy exploration — one including oil, natural gas, nuclear, coal and renewable energy — should commence, and praised innovations such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Those methods allow the country to extract more of its own energy sources without being involved in areas in which there is negative sentiment toward the U.S.

“It seems to me the dudes in Oslo ought to be giving out a Nobel Peace Prize to the folks who came up with this innovation of hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling,” Bush said after a jab about President Barack Obama receiving a Nobel Peace Prize after his election.

And while he did mention Obama’s involvement in three wars, Bush did not include Iraq in his list of oil-rich countries in which the U.S. military is involved.

“Do you think we would be embarked on a multilateral peacekeeping mission, humanitarian mission, in Libya? Do you think we would be spending $2 million a month in Afghanistan, supporting a country that doesn’t adhere to our own values?” Bush said. “We wouldn’t be.”

The average cost of Afghanistan per month was $8.7 billion in FY 2010, according to Congressional Research Service.

 
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