Monday, December 17, 2012

Rotherham Interviews Jeb Bush on Education

Here’s Rotherham’s column in Time about his interview with Jeb Bush:

Jeb Bush: In His Own Words

Jeb Bush isn’t saying if he’s running for President but I spent 30 minutes interviewing him during “JebFest” last month and he sure sounds like someone with an eye on the oval office to me.  He talked a lot about social mobility and the barriers to it and about how he’d combine “hard edged” policies with a variety of supports.  New ‘School of Thought’ column at TIME has much of that interview including Bush’s take on President Obama’s education policy, Arne Duncan, where he parts ways with part of his brother’s education policy, and how he looks at education and poverty.

What’s the role of poverty in education?

I would reverse the question: education impacts poverty, not the other way around. If we don’t empower families to be able to have a quality education, then their children for the first time in American history, truly the first time, will not have the same economic opportunities. That’s not speculation. The evidence is in.

There are other reasons why people are poor. There are cultural reasons, economic competitiveness reasons. There are a lot of reasons why people are in poverty. The difference today is that increasingly they are in perpetual poverty. That is so un-American and such a tragedy.

To me there are several ways to get out of this. One is to have a spiritual revival. I’m not an expert on that, way above my pay grade, but that’s one path historically we’ve seen, where wholesome, loving family life changes the course and direction of children’s plight and their future. Or building a high-growth economy where there are opportunities across the economic ladder, changing job training programs and things like that.

But without transforming the education system, where there’s access to high quality education, it doesn’t matter the zip code in which you live — I think we’re trapping a whole generation, not just kids at the poverty level. That is so dangerous for a country like ours that is based on the exact opposite premise.

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