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Snyder's education initiatives earn support of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Contact: Sara Wurfel
Office: 517-335-6397

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder's comprehensive blueprint to ensure that Michigan's education system is preparing students for success in the global economy has earned the support of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Bush is a nationally recognized advocate of education innovation. While governor, he implemented numerous reforms in Florida that reversed a generation of decline in Sunshine State schools. During his testimony before a joint meeting of the Michigan House and Senate education committees, Bush encouraged state policymakers to adopt bold, creative measures that will better serve teachers and students in the 21st century.

At a media availability afterward with House and Senate leaders, education committee chairs and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan, Snyder welcomed Bush to Michigan and said it is time to transform the state's education system from one still rooted in the days of a farming-based society to one that gives students the tools to compete in the technological, knowledge-based age.

"A quality, cutting-edge education system that gives teachers and students the tools to succeed is critical as we enter the New Michigan," Snyder said. "It's time to take a serious look at what works and what doesn't when it comes to helping children learn. Working with our partners in the Legislature, the Michigan Department of Education and education community, we are pursuing an ambitious agenda to modernize our system for the benefit of schools, teachers and students. Michigan's future depends on our success. I applaud former Gov. Bush's dedication to our nation's students and welcome his support for Michigan's goals."

"All children can learn. One of our nation's greatest challenges is ensuring every student receives a quality education that equips them with the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and their careers," Bush said. "If Florida can do it, Michigan can. I applaud Gov. Snyder and legislative leaders for seizing the opportunity to transform education in Michigan so every student can achieve their God-given potential."

Snyder outlined his proposal in a special message to the Legislature in April. Highlights include:
 Taking a holistic approach to education through the "P-20" concept.

 Emphasizing the need for performance-based schools in which rewards are based on outcomes and results, rather than mere attendance.

 Delivering greater accountability and empowerment through a new "Michigan Education" dashboard, which will be a statewide report card on education.

 Incorporating an "Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace" learning model which will give students more opportunities to participate in dual enrollment, blended learning and online education opportunities.

 Providing parents and students with greater educational options with "Schools of Choice" where residents of a local district will still have the first opportunity to enroll, but schools will no longer be able to refuse out-of-district students.

 Performance-based teaching and restructuring the tenure system so that it rewards demonstrated years of effective teaching rather than time in the classroom.

"Our young people deserve the best education possible; a comprehensive education that will meet their individual learning needs and prepare them to compete with their peers in the state, the nation and globally," said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe. "In this new Legislature, we have an opportunity to partner with our schools and teachers to reform and improve upon Michigan's education system for the benefit of all students. I commend former Gov. Bush for his accomplishments and I thank him for his willingness to share his experiences as we move forward with this process."

 "As a parent of two children in public school, the focus on reforming education that governors Snyder and Bush have brought to their respective offices has resonated with me," said House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall. "Both governors realize the importance of hitting the reset button on how public education is funded and how it functions, while never losing sight of students' needs. We can no longer continue to do things a certain way simply because that's the way they have always been done. I'm proud to welcome national leaders like Gov. Bush to Michigan to help share ideas and best practices on how we can achieve great things in our schools."

"We have quality educators in our schools with students eager to learn, but they are mired in a system that is broken," Flanagan said. "The structural changes proposed by Gov. Snyder set high expectations and boldly re-image Michigan's system of education to drive greater student achievement and move Michigan forward."