March 30, 2014


In Las Vegas, Jeb Bush stumps for better schools (LAURA MYERS, 3/28/14, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL)

"One of the things that's important is to have high, lofty expectations," Bush said during a forum at Advanced Technologies Academy. "In too many places in our country, the expectations are dumbed down, instead of starting with the premise that everybody in this classroom has a God-given ability and let's maximize it."

Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which he founded, toured the campus to see how technology and digital learning tools have helped the magnet school become the top Nevada school.

A potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016, Bush also is in town to meet with Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson, who threw a VIP party Thursday night at his private hangar at McCarran International Airport. Bush was the featured speaker.

Bush also planned to raise money for the re-election of GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval at a private event. [...]

Bush spoke to about 200 students at Advanced Technologies Academy. He was on a panel with State Board of Education member Mark Newburn; state Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas; state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson; Clark County Schools Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky; Deborah Kral, principal at Advanced Technologies Academy, and student Anton Sorkin, who studied in the school's law program.

When Bush was governor of Florida, he supported innovative education programs and encouraged efforts to let students choose public or private schools.

He said his views on education changed further after he visited Sweden, where students at a private "knowledge school" learn at their own pace and use high-technology. The government pays for public and private school education.

Bush said Nevada and other states should allow more digital learning, including video game-like classes, to excite students about education and prepare them better for the working world.

"It was a customized, student-centered, performance-based system," Bush said of the Swedish school he visited. "If you mastered one class, you moved on to the next. But you have to master it."

Bush also touted advanced placement classes that allow students to gain college credits early. He said he hopes his three grandchildren will be learning in a more high-tech environment and taking college classes at the ages of 14, 15 and 16, whether remotely or in a classroom.

"By the time my three grandkids are in high school it may not be called high school," Bush said. "It may be a continuous learning environment. I do know it will be radically different. We just have to create the most open, optimum environment. ... We're moving in that direction, but it's taking way too long."

Bush said "shifting the power from the adults to the students in a customized environment" can help the United States lead the world in education by allowing students to "learn at their own pace, and in their own way."

"Be big or go home. You have a chance to change things," Bush said, explaining that many teaching methods are out of date. "Try to make it more like the world today and less like the world 50 years ago. ... Think bigger."

Posted by at March 30, 2014 3:18 PM

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